Thursday, 18 May 2017 00:00

Brook vs Spence odds: 5 reasons Errol is in the driver's seat

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Although it's not getting the press of Golovkin vs Canelo, Kell Brook vs Errol Spence is easily one of the biggest fights in boxing.

So, what will happen on May 27 and what are the odds?

... Surprise, surprise.

Errol Spence, the sight underdog when this fight was announced, is now the clear favorite, across the board, to defeat IBF Welterweight Champion Kell Brook.

As of May 14, bet365 has Spence as the 4/7 favorite while the belt-holder, Brook, is the 11/8 underdog. Hence, a $100 wager on the challenger would yield $57 and the same bet on Brook would garner about $138.

And other betting establishments are comparable.

What happened?

Wasn't Kell Brook, just a year ago, a RING Magazine top 10 pound-for-pound fighter? He lost in a valiant effort to middleweight champion and top level pound for pound fighter Gennady Golovkin last fall, but there's certainly no shame in that.

Why the Brook vs Spence odds shift, especially given Kell will be fighting at home in his native Sheffield and in front of his adoring fans?

There are several reasons we are seeing movement in the Brook vs Spence odds:

  1. Some experts and insiders, such as Oscar De La Hoya and Freddie Roach, are emphatic about Errol's chance to win. They aren't barely picking him, they are decisively making him their choice.

  2. Spence has the superior amateur pedigree and has looked nothing short of perfect as a pro. In fact, he might even be more accomplished as a prizefighter. Regardless, the fighter who is belived to be more polished usually gets a tiny boost in the odds. All things being equal, the natural boxer will typically have the perceived edge facing a boxer/puncher or slugger.

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Brook vs Spence
Date: May 27, 2017
Location: Bramall Lane, Sheffield
Broadcast: Sky Box Office HD (UK); Showtime (US)

Division: Welterweight
Title: IBF
Champion: Kell Brook

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3. Kell was injured - and eventually stopped - in his most recent bout. Although it happened against a bigger, stronger fighter (not a welterweight), he might enter this bout with a little less confidence than we are accustomed to. You never know how a fighter is going to respond after a KO loss.

After Spence was declared the IBF's mandatory opponent, it would have been wise for Team Brook to relinquish the title and give Kell at least one tune-up prior to his facing another threating opponent.

4. Also, Brook's resume isn't overwhelming. He's faced two top opponents. Gennady Golovkin stopped him inside the distance despite Kell's valiant effort against a bigger man, and he defeated the other, Shawn Porter, in a squeaker than could have been easily ruled a draw.

Conversely, Spence has stoppage wins over three quality (but not extraordinary) opponents: Leonard Bundu (then 33-1-2), Chris Algieri (then 21-2) and Chris van Heerden (the 23-1-1). In fact, all three had never been stopped inside the distance prior to facing Spence. Moreover, Algieri had gone 12 rounds with Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan.

5. And lastly, some surmise it won't be easy for Brook to drop down to welterweight after fighting at middleweight. Like Julio Cesar Chavez Jr against Canelo Alvarez in earlier this month, Kell might have outgrown the welterweight division and might not be at his best at 147lbs.

Welterweight contender Danny Garcia recently told BoxingScene.com: "All that weight, saying he [Kell Brook] couldn't make the weight, to come back down, we don't how he's physically gonna feel."

Given the above factors, it's not difficult to understand why the betting odds favor Spence. Errol seems to have the edge, not only on paper but with the intangibles.

On the business end, Brook could have opted to relinquish his title and seek more lucrative fights against Manny Pacquiao, Adrien Broner, Keith Thurman or countryman and rival Amir Khan but he's chosen to accept a rather high-risk/low-reward showdown with Errol Spence.

Credit to Brook for fulfilling his obligations as a world champion... But are the odds stacked against him?

Regardless, a win Brook would still be far from a major upset.

 
Lee Cleveland

Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.

A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.

Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.  

 Fightsagacom@gmail.com 

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