By Keith Idec
Errol Spence Jr. is interested to see how Kell Brook bounces back from another serious surgery to fix a fractured orbital bone.
If it doesn’t damage the former welterweight champion’s psyche, Spence sees Brook winning a world title at 154 pounds as well. Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) will fight for the first time since Spence knocked him out seven months ago on March 3.
The onetime IBF 147-pound champion is scheduled to battle Belarus’ Siarhei Rabchanka (29-2, 22 KOs) that night in a 12-round, 154-pound bout in Sheffield, England, Brook’s hometown.
“I don’t see why Kell can’t win a title at that weight,” Spence told Sky Sports as part of an interview posted to the network’s website Monday. “No one will know what my fight has done to him until we see him fight again, but he is a good fighter and we expected him to move up for a while.”
Brook moved back down from middleweight to welterweight to make a mandatory defense of his championship against the unbeaten Spence, a powerful southpaw from DeSoto, Texas, on May 27 in Sheffield. He suffered the same injury during his 11th-round knockout loss to Spence – a broken eye socket – that kept trainer Dominic Ingle from allowing Brook to continue in the fifth round against Gennady Golovkin in their September 2016 middleweight championship match in London.
The orbital bone around Brook’s right eye, damaged during the Golovkin fight, held up well against Spence. Eventually, though, Spence’s punishing punches produced the same injury to the left side of Brook’s face.
“Kell is a guy that has a lot of heart, a lot of balls and is a real fighter,” Spence said. “He could easily have vacated the belt and moved up. But he wanted to fight me and not give it up, so I applaud Kell Brook for being a real fighter.”
Spence (22-0, 19 KOs) will make the first defense of the IBF welterweight title he won from Brook on January 20 in Brooklyn. He’ll meet Lamont Peterson (35-3-1, 17 KOs), a two-division champion from Washington, D.C., in a main event Showtime will air from Barclays Center.
“Lamont Peterson is very experienced and he’s got a big heart,” Spence said. “We know he is a guy that knows how to fight, but I don’t think he’s got anything I haven’t come across before. He might be as strong as Kell Brook, so I will be physically prepared and mentally prepared – even if it is a tougher fight than Kell Brook.
“He has all that experience, but I have fought other guys with that and I feel like being a world champion now, I have more experience now. You can’t get more experience than I did going over to Sheffield, fighting against Kell Brook.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.