By Ronnie Nathanielsz
IBF world welterweight champion Kell Brook has accused Floyd Mayweather of “playing it safe” by deciding to fight Andre Berto in what Mayweather insists will be his last fight.
Unbeaten Mayweather (48-0-KO26) is the heavy favorite to win in Las Vegas, with Berto (30-3-KO23) having been defeated three times in his last six fights.
By overcoming Berto as most people expect, Mayweather will equal former heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano's record of 49-0 and establishing himself in the history books of boxing.
Sky Sports in London reported that Brook, who is yet to suffer a loss in his 35 professional fights and fellow Brit Amir Khan were among the candidates touted as potential opponents for Mayweather following his unanimous points decision victory over Manny Pacquiao last May 2 in a showdown billed as “The Fight of the Century.”
The 29-year-old Brook feels Mayweather has ducked the chance to truly test himself and settled for what he considers a "safe" fight against Berto.
Brook told Sky Sports News HQ "Like every top welterweight out there, I would love to share the ring with Floyd Mayweather," pointing out that he is the only fighter “with a genuine world title out there, so if I did win I would probably get the call. But Mayweather is fighting Andre Berto and he's hardly looked fantastic in his last few fights.”
Brook conceded that Berto “ has been world champion and credit to him he's still a good fighter. But I think Mayweather has played it safe by fighting Berto in this fight.
Brook (35-0-KO24) and his representative, Eddie Hearn, had been in discussions this summer over a potential clash with WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley once it was made clear a fight with Mayweather was off the table.
However, Sky Sports said talks over a bout with the American fell through, leaving the Brook camp free to schedule a fight with Argentine Diego Gabriel Chaves (23-2-1-KO19) on October 24 at Sheffield Arena.
Chaves, who drew with Bradley in his last fight back in December, has lost only twice in his career to date and Brook has been left in no doubt of the challenge facing him.
Brook said "He's only been beat at the highest level against Keith Thurman and he got disqualified in a fight with Brandon Rios. He brings something new to the table. He's rough, tough and moves forward. He's been the WBA interim world champion before and he knows what it's like to be at the top.
The IBF champion added that Chaves “ brings absolutely everything when he comes to fight and I'm excited to get in the ring with him and fight."