Former two-weight world champion and boxing analyst Paulie Malignaggi has advised IBF welterweight title holder Kell Brook to bang on the door to the US market once again.
Despite Brook’s impressive win over Shawn Porter in August 2014 to capture the championship, the Briton has struggled to capitalize with low-key victories in the UK over Jo Jo Dan, Frankie Gavin and Kevin Bizier before losing out on a massive fight with rival Amir Khan.
‘The Special One’ and his promoter Eddie Hearn are on the lookout to land a huge name for the 29 year-old’s next outing in the summer and Malignaggi says Brook’s extensive talent warrants facing the sport’s biggest names – but could also be a big part of why nobody has yet stepped up.
“Brook is deserving of a bigger fight and it’s just a matter of getting these guys in the ring with him,” Malignaggi exclusively told World Boxing News.
“It’s going to be difficult because he’s so good and he’s so, so strong – but at the same time, Brook is not in the circle in the United States. Brook has got to get his name in the circle and having that IBF title certainly helps him, to a degree.
“I think he’s kind of in the same position that Gennady Golovkin was in that he’s so good it’s hard to get him the opponents in his weight class.
“I’ve long said that Kell Brook is the best welterweight in the world and If you look at the only marquee name on his record, that victory over Shawn Porter, I don’t think there’s anybody in the world that could do to Porter what Brook did to him.
“People say Kell needs big opponents, well I’m sure he wants those big opponents but he just needs to agree terms with them and try to get them in the ring. People sometimes forget that this is a business and not just a sport.
“Kell has a great team with Eddie Hearn at the helm, and if they can negotiate with these big opponents – even if that means Kell takes less, it will be an opportunity for him to – not only win, but win against these marquee names in front of a different kind of audience here in the US.”
Clashes with WBC champion Danny Garcia and Puerto Rican legend Miguel Cotto have been mentioned for Brook so far this year, although Malignaggi is convinced landing either of those fights would be highly doubtful.
“I love the names that are being mentioned and the enthusiasm, but it’s another thing to get those names in the ring with you,” he pointed out.
“You know, like Danny Garcia has a lot of other options and I don’t think taking a risk against Brook is on the cards for him. Miguel Cotto is a different story because he’s at a different weight class as Kell would be taking a risk too in moving up.
“It would still be a risk for Cotto – but more of a risk for Kell, and I don’t think he’d be able to keep the IBF title he has if he makes that move as it may then become permanent.
“I think Kell has to ease himself back into the US first before being able to land that big name he wants. He didn’t build on the Porter win enough and needs to jump back into the mix here in the US, maybe with an introductory fight – so to speak.
“Maybe Jessie Vargas could be possible for a unification as he’s also trying to build his name but he can’t take on a fighter with too much to lose. A fighter with too much to lose is not going to want to fight Kell Brook at this point.
“Vargas is like Kell, he’s a guy with a lot to gain. Even though he has a world title he’s still not a huge name so he has more to gain than he has to lose. I think it’s possible to make that kind of fight.
“I don’t think Brook v Vargas would be a bad fight at all,” added Malignaggi.