Last Saturday night we had one world champion retain his title and the second one lose it. What the fights had it common was that they winners put on a spectacular performance and opened the doors to not only very lucrative future fights but a wealth of possibilities for good bout for us fight fans. First up was IBF welterweight Kell Brook, who after suffering a stabbing to a leg not too long after he won the title against the favorite Shawn Porter last year, came back with a vengeance to not only sell out the Motorpoint Arena of his native Sheffield, United Kingdom, but he also made mincemeat of his number one contender Jo Jo Dan.
It was a performance to behold as Brook looked quick and strong in completely nullifying anything that Dan might have brought to the table and sent him crashing down to the canvas four times in four rounds. Twice in the second and again two times in the fourth and final one. His hometown fans might have been disappointed in the length of the fight since it has been more than a year since he had fought on UK soil but they couldn’t have had a complaint about the performance and the result.
In the post-fight interview Brook didn’t shy about who he wanted next and called out Amir Khan on the spot. That caused a roar from the crowd who would love to see their man take on the man from Bolton but in other interviews with a clearer head, Brook also mentioned he wouldn’t mind a crack at Juan Manuel Marquez and then the winner of Mayweather-Pacquiao.
That might be some wishful thinking.
Across the pond and from the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas, The U.S. gained a world champion when Gary Russell Jr stopped Jhonny Gonzalez also in four rounds to capture the WBC featherweight title. Russell Jr was simply too quick for the flat-footed who despite carrying power in either hand, hardly even touched Russell in the four rounds. The mature Russell Jr bided his time and after setting up Gonzalez for the kill in the first two rounds, went for it in the third and almost finished him but the bell saved him. Russell Jr didn’t left up in the fourth and with well-placed fast as lightning hooks and uppercuts dropped Gonzalez twice in the fourth to force referee Tony Weeks to call it a day for the Mexican warrior.
Russell Jr now holds a piece of the 126-pound crown along with his conqueror Vasyl Lomachenko, Nicholas Walters and Evgeny Gradovich. A round robin with these four and you can only expect great fights. One thing is for certain is that Russell Jr might not want the rematch with Lomachenko next no matter how much blame he puts on a strength and conditioning coach that he has since fired.
With Russell Jr part of the Haymon camp along with Leo Santa Cruz and Abner Mares, those names were also tossed around for him.
Guess whose wasn’t? Guillermo Rigondeaux….