• Steve Bunce

Money must talk for Brook to land world title shot

Steve Bunce March 27, 2012

Clamour rising around Kell

The list of potential Kell Brook opponents seems to be growing and growing. However, one thing is certain: they won't be coming cheap because people will realise that Kell's an attraction. He's doing big figures at Sky and he's doing big figures at the gate and that means any promoter, anywhere in the world, will - with the help of a translator - be able to demand a lot of money. And it puts Kell and his promotional team in a tricky situation because unless they can secure a world title fight for July - and it's my understanding they're not going for one - it's going to be very hard to get a 'big name' in the ring without breaking the bank.

That's the reality of a high profile boxer; it's nothing new. Most British fighters, as they've gone up and up, the figures that the opponents want are well out of proportion. It happened with Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton; Americans would come in and demand far more than they got for previous fights - even if the previous fighters were better.

I hope Kell lands a world title shot before the end of the year. In about 2009 people started talking about Kell fighting for a title and in 2010 his next fight was supposedly for a world title. If we get through 2012 without him fighting for a world title it's possible a few thousand Kell Brook fans will wake up one morning and say 'hold on, what's going on here, what happened to this world title fight?' He will get a world title fight this year but a lot will depend on how much he is prepared to sacrifice financially and how much his team are prepared to pay a champion for the fight. You can go overseas and get a world title fight; you pay short money and risk it in someone's backyard where nothing is going to be going for you. Or you can hold out for mandatory positions, go to a purse bid and pay a lot of money to get a fight at home and get several advantages - one of which isn't financial.

Kell's unbeaten, he was the British champion he has just beaten the former European champion - he's undoubtedly deserved of his high world ranking but talk of destroying Amir Khan and suggesting you'd beat Manny Pacquiao is terrific fame by association. However, he's got a lot to prove before he operates in their company.

All eyes on Peterson for Khan

When a good faded fighter finally gets a half decent win they start issuing challenges to those fighters that have previously beaten him with ease. I'm not surprised Zab Judah's calling out Amir Khan; he's probably calling out Floyd Mayweather Jnr and Kostya Tszyu. I thought Judah was disappointing against Khan so if he can talk his way back into the fight and everybody wants it I haven't got a problem with it. I've no problems with rematches, even rematches of fights that were deemed to be one-sided, as long as it all makes sense and people come out.

All the paper talk of Khan-Judah II will not affect in any way, shape or form Khan's preparations for his second bout with Lamont Peterson on May 19. Judah, with no disrespect, is not a Floyd Mayweather or a Manny Pacquiao - they're the two names that Khan was thinking about, dreaming about and talking about before Peterson. He'll only be thinking about one man: Lamont Peterson. There's no danger of Judah distracting him.

Burns on Rees' radar

Gavin Rees keeps reinventing himself. He's one of the most underrated fighters in the last 12 years. He's only had one defeat, and that was in a WBA light-welterweight title defence back in 2008. Since then he's regrouped, lost some weight, come back and won the European lightweight belt and now gone over to Paris and defended it. He looked fantastic against Anthony Mezaache, stopping him in the seventh, and it's understandable he's now in the hat to face WBO king Ricky Burns. He was already offered the fight and refused it - either him or his team said there wasn't enough money. Perhaps there will be now.

It will sell anywhere, although it's not the sexiest fight available for Burns at lightweight. But it's a fight that can be made provided everybody is sensible with their cash demands. Fights only fail to happen because of money. TV companies, rival promoters, fighters that hate each other, trainers that hate each other, fans that hate each other, venues in the middle of nowhere - any obstacle or barrier can be overcome if the money is right. If Burns and Rees are offered the right amount of money they'd fight tomorrow in each other's living rooms. That's the business of boxing.

Rees has punched above his weight in many ways for years and years. He looked like he was going to lose his way, not once, not twice, but several times. He thinks, and I agree, he's better than he's ever been and he's punching harder than ever. I think he's a proper handful and a secret weapon inside the British lightweight division.

Enzo Maccarinelli was in real trouble before an early bell at the end of the first round helped him clear his head
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We're only human

Enzo Maccarinelli v Shane McPhilbin was controversial to say the least. The BBBC will hold a hearing to find out exactly what happened in the opening round. He was knocked down, he managed to regain his feet but he looked hurt and then the bell went, and it went either 47, 45, 42 or 40 seconds early. The bottom line is that, beyond any doubt, the bell went early. That extra period, without any question, helped Enzo survive and go on to win on points. I expect there to be a rematch but I don't instantly expect Enzo to agree to a rematch. I wouldn't be surprised if he relinquishes his British cruiserweight title.

Everybody's talking about the time keeping but, for me, it was human error - the man panicked. He turned yellow, he looked sick and people were running around in slow motion. It was crazy; it was pure and utter human error. He got it wrong, it happens. Did it cost McPhilbin the fight? 100 per cent. Did it allow Enzo to survive? I would say 100 per cent. Was it intentional? No. It was human error, it happens all the time.

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Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.