By Allan Cerf
Background: This Saturday it’s Belarussian Sergey Rabchenko, a somewhat plodding type, vs. Kell “The Special One” Brook, contested at the 154-pound limit.
Another fight where another star gets a gimme. Rabchenko, whom Ricky Hatton once pinned championship hopes upon, is plodding but has boxing fundamentals. He does however, have a good left hook to the body. He threw one against Italian Pietro D’Alessio, making him scream. The shot came from nowhere-very hard, very fast. As Brook was extremely vulnerable to Errol Spence’s body shots, Rabchenko may try the same.
What to say about Kell Brook? He dared to be great vs. GGG and fearlessly took on all-world Spence. Lost both and incurred a hell of a lot of hard miles in the process. I rate him far higher than another British talent, Eubank, period. Brook is more deserving and possesses far greater boxing talent. Not to dump on Junior, but in his bout with Groves I agreed with the British bloggers who saw the Groves/Eubank hand-speed war as a wash. I don’t even regard Eubank as an immense athletic talent, forget boxing.
Brook rattled some shots off a near-prime GGG but was never in danger of winning. And yes, Brook quit vs. Spence, an absolute no-no in our sport, but it must be said we fans don’t take the blows and Brook again sustained a serious eye injury.
It’s another day, another battle and regardless of how dominant Brook is versus Rabchenko (if the Belarussian does well Brook’s stock will crash) the new, true, monster, Spence dims the lights of all between 147-154. It’s now a case of who is Errol’s runner-up; who is number two? Fighting in a new division, Brook won’t face Spence and anyway, a rematch will never happen.
Fighter’s Scorecards: (Speed, Power, Defense, Reach, Age, Stamina, Experience)
Kell Brook: B B B B-C+ B A (Average of all) B
Sergey Rabchenko: C B C- B C C+ B (Average of all) C+
Reality Check: Brook’s nutritionist was just featured in a fascinating interview in which he stated (gotta love the British) making weight is getting harder, and quote: “Brook is getting no younger” (ouch). He added that waving the 10 pounds maximum rehydration rule vs. Rabchenko is a huge break. The nutritionist also spoke of Brook’s mental state and commitment to boxing. The interview offers an unusual perspective and is fascinating. Sounds like Brook may be entering the final chapter and the focus is on prolonging his career.
Trying to remain objective about this bout, however - why not Amir Khan whom Brook cordially hates and vice-versa? Why not any of several more interesting fights? Oh, right. Brooks earned a gimme…
Fight and Prediction: I see Rabchenko as badly outclassed, folks. Perhaps he’ll target Brooks with another smokin’ left hook to the gut. Trouble is, the Belarus reaches in with his punches…not good. Brook by easy UD 12, proving nada.