Matchroom Sport supremo Eddie Hearn has been forced to address two-pronged criticisms of the July 28 PPV event headlined by British Heavyweight Dillian Whyte and Kiwi Joseph Parker.
The standout bout on the undercard features former IBF Welterweight champion Kell Brook against the little known Canadian Brandon Cook, with eyebrows raised as to the quality of Brook’s challenger.
Cook’s highest ranking with Boxing’s sanctioning bodies is 4th in the WBO stakes, however he has had little to no exposure to the British public; he is perhaps best known as the fighter that got struck in the head by an ice-bucket thrown by a member of the crowd in a losing effort to Montreal prospect Steven Butler.
But Hearn has defended the match-up, telling World Boxing News:
“It is what it is: It’s an undercard fight on a PPV card. Brandon Cook is ranked 11 with the IBF, seven with the WBA and four with the WBO and it puts Kell Brook top five in every governing body if he wins.”
Brook has only fought once since back-to-back losses, first in September 2016 against middleweight monster Gennady Golovkin and the second against the feared Errol Spence Jr. in May 2017.
He beat tough Belarusian Sergey Rabchenko three months ago via a second round KO, in what happened to be his first fight at junior middleweight and looked impressive in victory.
However, the junior middleweight division hides monsters in its shadows, with the Charlo twins, Jarrett Hurd and Demetrius Andrade all lurking. It is unlikely that Brandon Cook will provide anything like the stern test that would prepare Brook for such a calibre of fighter.
As such, it is easy to see why fans would question the worth of Brook fighting a lower tier fighter like Cook.
In defence of Brook’s chosen opponent, Hearn said: “He’s game, he’s tough, he went to Kazakhstan and fought Kanat Islam - who is very, very, very good - and lost in the tenth round.
“I’m not saying it’s Jarrett Hurd or Jermell Charlo, but it’s a solid fight that gets him in the rankings”.
While it may be true that fighting Cook improves Brook’s ranking status, he must be careful not to become irrelevant, especially considering the momentum he obtained by bravely taking on the formidable challenge of Golovkin and Spence one after the other.
Should he best Cook, Boxing fans will be itchy to see Brook take on a more credible opponent at the earliest opportunity.
Hearn also faced questions as to why the Whyte/Parker fight was made PPV at all.
Neither man has been the A-Side on a PPV event before. Both have fought Anthony Joshua on enormous occasions in which fans had to pay for the privilege to watch on TV but have not had the burden of carrying the brunt of the attraction.
What’s more, both men lost to their illustrious opponent handily (although each had reason to be proud of their efforts), and questions as to whether a fight between the two is PPV worthy are, on the surface at least, justified.
“I think sometimes with PPV people get this warped obsession with rebelling against it, it’s like ‘just chill out you can either go out for a few beers that night or you can sit at home and watch a good night of boxing',” he added.
Clearly pushing the case for supporting Dillian Whyte and his rise up the heavyweight rankings, he concluded:
“To get Dillian Whyte seven figures which I want to give him, which he deserves - he’s been through everyone he’s been asked to go through - this is how we have to do it.
“I can’t give him three hundred grand to fight on a normal Saturday night fight night, having paid Joseph Parker what I’m paying him.”