Exclusive: IBO President Ed Levine eagerly anticipating GGG v Brook

Lawrence Lustig

International Boxing Organisation President Ed Levine took time out his busy fight week schedule to discuss the upcoming world title clash between middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin and Kell Brook this weekend.

Golovkin aims for a 22nd straight knockout and a 33rd in total against Brook at the O2 Arena, and like the rest of us, Mr. Levine is counting down the hours until the pair trade their first punches in anger.

“I’ve been doing this for over thirty years, and when you’re in the business of boxing, there are fights you go to because you’re in the business and there are fights you go to because you just really want to that fight. That doesn’t happen as often as you might think but this is a fight that I was really looking forward to going to see,” Levine exclusively told World Boxing News.

“There’s tremendous anticipation and I think it’s going to be a great fight but that’s not just because the IBO title is on the line. Having a great welterweight world champion and a great middleweight world champion is as good as it gets, in my opinion, particularly with these two fighters.”

Asked about the weight differential, which has been turned on its head by Brook weighing 176 pounds a month out from the fight, Levine was quick to point out that controlling the extra poundage is key for the British challenger.

“When you see them stand by each other, it’s pretty apparent that Kell Brook is a nice sized middleweight as well as being the welterweight champion. He obviously can carry the weight and I think he walks around heavier than Golovkin does.

“At the seven-day check weight, Brook was right on the mark (168lbs), I believe. I mean it’s a question mark of whether it was boxing weight or just put on weight. Any boxer can put on weight, but can he put on the weight and hold his skills and his power?”

Brook has been channelling the likes of Sugar Ray’s Robinson and Leonard in a bid to take inspiration to a fight opposite the most feared puncher on the planet and Levine had his own example of a similar story in the 1960’s.

“I was thinking back to a fight a long time ago when Emile Griffith was the welterweight champion of the world and he fought Dick Tiger who was the middleweight champion of the world (in 1966 at Madison Square Garden) and nobody gave him a chance. But Emile Griffith won that fight (on points after 15 rounds) so it can be done.

“I was also ringside with Tommy Hearns fought Marvin Hagler and I’ve never seen a better couple of rounds in all my boxing career, so those are two of the fights I think about and this could be one of those kind of fights.

“I’m very much looking forward to it. You have to give Kell Brook a lot of credit because a lot of people are running away from Gennady Golovkin and again he deserves all the credit he gets,” he added.