After a demoralising year in which the spectre of injury has repeatedly butted in upon his ascent towards a much-dreamt-of world title, Kell Brook is expected to come through with flying colours in his rematch with Carson Jones, whom he beat on a paper-thin spilt decision just over 12 months ago.
At least that’s what the layers would have you believe.
Brook starts as short as a 1/6 jolly for the bout, with underdog Jones 4/1 for victory, a surprisingly big price differential given the back and forth nature of their first encounter.
For Brook it was more a case of forth and back, as the Sheffield fighter controlled the early stanzas from distance, before running out of steam in the latter half of the fight and hanging on in the closing round.
Although Jones insisted it was his performance which turned the tide, Brook seemingly ran out of vigour in the second half of the bout, allowing the American to get in on the inside and hurt him. If ‘Special K’ is in better physical condition this time around he will be in pole position to out manoeuvre his foe.
However, his path to this face-off has included two injury-enforced postponements of a world title fight against Devon Alexander and with Brook having spoken of feeling depressed after that deflating turn of events, whether he can find a similar level of motivation for a fight on an undercard in Hull is there to be questioned.
One of the reasons mooted for the Sheffield man’s running out of gas against Jones in last year’s meeting was trouble with making the 147lb light-welterweight limit.
The second instalment is to be fought at a 150lb catch-weight at the behest of Brook’s camp and Jones’ team have gone on record as saying a move to a 152lb limit had later been unsuccessfully proposed by the British fighter’s entourage.
Such doubts over weight are in line with promoter Eddie Hearn’s assertion that ‘Special K’s future may lie at 154lbs, and end up making this bout look far from part of a well-thought-out masterplan.
When considered alongside the fact the metatarsal injury that ended Brook’s world title plans was still hindering him at the beginning of training for this matchup, it’s not the kind of prep that you’d associate with a 1/6 shot.
His adversary is a durable customer – the last of his two stoppage losses came 23 fights ago – and Brook’s power may not be sufficient to end their match-up with a single shot. With the fight likely to go to points, there may be a chance that the American fighter can nick the decision, especially if starting to assert earlier than in their first meeting.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.