The WBA have confirmed that their middleweight strap will not be on the line when Kell Brook (36-0, 25 early) challenges consensus Champion Gennady Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs) at London’s O2 Arena next Saturday night.
The organisation revealed their reasoning in a statement on Thursday, arguing that Brook was taking too many steps up the boxing ladder in his attempt to derail the Golovkin express.
WBA President Gilberto Jesus Mendoza said: ‘The Championships Committee and the Presidency have not agreed to sanction this bout as a title fight because Brook has never fought as a middleweight. The intent of the organization is to try to protect the integrity and health of the fighters.
‘We do not oppose the fight, per se. But the rules of the organization stipulate that Golovkin and/or his representatives must request special permission in advance to fight Brook. Under the circumstances, if Golovkin were to lose to Kell Brook, the title would become vacant and would not end up in the hands of the British pugilist.’
The request was made by Team GGG only to be denied by the WBA, who do not one of their myriad titles to be besmirched by an outsider, that is their job.
Should he win, and many expect he will do, Golovkin will remain the WBA’s 160 incumbent, but if Brook scores an upset he will not net one of the WBA’s crowns.
It is not all bad for Brook, though, as those who believe in superstitions and portents may point out that Marvin Hagler jettisoned a belt or two when meeting Sugar Ray Leonard in a WBC defence in 1987, an upset decision loss that sent Hagler into a bitter retirement.
Like Brook, Leonard was stepping up from welterweight to take on a monster middle, so the loss of the WBA title, while annoying for any belt fetishists out there, and there are plenty in this game, could be seen as a positive omen by Brook’s fans.
The WBA’s concerns focused on the leap up in weight, despite the fact that Brook weighed 176 just 30-days before the fight; he may have piled on the pounds, but Golovkin has pounded naturally bigger men into unconsciousness, therein lies the rub for the organisation.
‘What I most regret is that there are not any boxers at 160 pounds who have the will to fight Golovkin, and Brook has walk up two divisions to fight against him (Golovkin),’ added Mendoza.
Daniel Jacobs, their other title-holder, is waiting in the wings. A win over Sergi Mora the night before would underline his “Regular” WBA status and set-up a showdown with Golovkin, who is expected to take the UK by storm in his debut outing on these shores.
Either way, the fight has created a frisson of excitement in the UK, where we rarely get to see P4P fighters at the top of their game. Despite the reservations about the match-up, the promotion looks set to be a success.
As for Brook, he can but dream—and fighters often do—so is it down to me or you to tread on his dreams? Both men will hit the scales, there will be a fight and the wrongs and rights will hinge on it. Given Golovkin’s relatively busy schedule, the addition of a welterweight titlist into the mix at least keeps him busy and allows British fans to see what some perceive to be greatness at work.