On Friday the announcement came out that undefeated middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin will face undefeated welterweight champion Kell Brook this September at the 02 Arena in London. The news came as something of a shock. Golovkin had been expected to face a Brit in his next bout, but all signs had pointed to middleweight contender Chris Eubanks Jr.
It will be interesting to see if Golovkin faces any backlash from the fans for fighting a welterweight, as Saul Alvarez did when he faced Amir Khan in May. In a boxing universe ruled strictly by logic, Khan would have faced Brook and Alvarez would fight Golovkin. Khan and Brook are both top welterweights and as fellow Englishmen, are natural rivals. Alvarez is the lineal middleweight champion and the biggest current Mexican star. Golovkin popular with the Mexican fanbase and fights in a style very reminiscent of Julio Cesar Chavez, the biggest Mexican star in history.
But instead, Alvarez knocked out Khan and Golovkin will face Brook this Fall.
One big difference between this fight and the fight between Khan and Alvarez is that it will take place at 160 pounds. While a jump from welterweight to full middleweight is viewed as unusual in today’s boxing scene, traditionally, it was not such a big deal. For most boxing history, half weight classes didn’t even exist. Great welterweight champions like Sugar Ray Robinson, Micky Walker and Emile Griffith jumped from 147 to 160 pounds to win titles.
Brook has a good argument for being the best welterweight in the world. The fact that he’s made this fight with GGG indicates to me that he’s probably had a hard time getting other top welterweights to face him.
He’ll be the most talented opponent Golovkin has faced. Still, I doubt he’ll have the power to keep Golovkin honest. Golovkin is most famous for his power, but his chin is also elite. He’s walked through flush shots from very good middleweight punchers.
So ultimately, as good as Kell Brook is, it’s hard not to see this as a mismatch on the same level as Alvarez vs. Khan.