By Edward Chaykovsky
A deal is nearly complete for Kell Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) to make a mandatory defense of his IBF welterweight championship against undefeated Olympian Errol Spence (21-0, 18 KOs).
The IBF had ordered a purse bid, which was scheduled to take place tomorrow, but Brook's promoter Eddie Hearn requested a one week extension as both sides are close to reaching a deal. A deal was expected with Brook's side holding the edge if it went to a purse bid with a 75-25 split.
“We’ve got a purse bids date tomorrow (February 7) but we’ve asked for a week’s extension from the IBF because I feel we’re very close to making a deal,” Hearn told Boxing News.
The fight became likely after Hearn's attempts to finalize a domestic blockbuster with Amir Khan had fallen apart two weeks ago, after Khan insisted on a 70-30 split among other items.
Brook's last fight took place in the middleweight division, after he moved up by thirteen pounds to challenge IBO, IBF, WBA, WBC world champion Gennady Golovkin last September at the O2 Arena in London. Brook suffered a fractured orbital bone in the contest, which was finally stopped in the fifth round.
But Brook did well in the fight and landed a lot of punches on Golovkin. Brook's performance led to widespread speculation that he would never fight at welterweight again and instead rise up to the junior middleweight division. The biggest problem with Brook fighting at 154, admits Hearn, is the lack of big money opponents. All of the lucrative names are in the welterweight division.
Spence has been the mandatory challenger, waiting patiently, since last August, when he knocked out Leonard Bundu in spectacular fashion in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
Most insiders view Spence as the next rising force in the welterweight division, with fighters like Floyd Mayweather Jr. labeling him as the next major superstar of the sport.
Spence will have to travel to the UK to fight Brook, who himself was forced to cross over to the United States in 2014 when he captured the IBF title with a close points decision over Shawn Porter in Los Angeles.