Brook vs Spence: The weight of expectation

Brook vs Spence: The weight of expectation

The weight of expectation is on Kell Brook’s shoulders as he faces the ‘Truth’ in more ways than one on May 27.

The ‘Special One’ returns from an unsuccessful outing at middleweight to defend his IBF welterweight title against Errol Spence Jr at Bramall Lane, live on Sky Sports Box Office. However, the question is just how the cut back to 147lbs will impact Brook against the talented American.

We look back at fighters who have not been able to replicate their past performances after dragging themselves down in weight.

Roy Jones Jr vs Antonio Tarver (15th May 2004)

Roy Jones Jr returned to light-heavyweight, one fight after making the audacious and ultimately successful attempt to face and defeat John Ruiz for the heavyweight championship of the world.

The four-division world champion’s choice to fight at 175lbs again was questionable given the fact he had gone into the Ruiz contest 18lbs heavier, but the personal jousting and ego from Tarver ultimately forced his hand.

Jones Jr won a contentious first fight via majority decision, but was visibly weakened by the drastic cut in weight he had put his body through.

He would then go on to lose three fights in a row, twice to Tarver and once to Glen Johnson as his choice to crash back down to light-heavyweight left him a shadow of his former self.

Oscar De La Hoya vs Manny Pacquaio (6th December 2008)

The ‘Dream Match’ turned into a nightmare for Oscar De La Hoya as he lost his welterweight contest to Manny Pacquiao.

Prior to the fight, many believed the ‘Golden Boy’ would be far too big for Pacquaio, who had never boxed above 134.5lbs.

However, it was De La Hoya, who fought at super-welterweight and middleweight for the seven years prior to the bout whom the weight affected most, looking drained before eventually being pulled out of the fight in what turned out to be his last outing.

Saul Alvarez vs Floyd Mayweather (14th September 2013)

Alvarez had not fought below the super-welterweight limit for three years when his contest against Floyd Mayweather was made at 152lbs.

A lot of the pre-fight hyperbole surrounded the issue of weight, with some predicting that Alvarez’s size would still be a factor, but it was Mayweather who would use it to his ultimate advantage to put on a masterful performance against his depleted opponent and come away with the victory.

Julio Caesar Chavez Jr vs Saul Alvarez (6th May 2017)

Julio Caesar Chavez Jr looked a weakened shell of himself when dragged down to the 164.5lbs catch-weight limit and decisively lose to Saul Alvarez.

The former middleweight world champion had not fought lower than 168lbs since losing to Sergio Martinez in 2012 and had failed to make the stipulated 170lbs limit against Marcos Reyes in 2015. Reported financial penalties were in place if Chavez Jr had come over the agreed limit too, who ultimately could not impose his strength and will against an opponent who had never fought higher than 155lbs.

By Neel Khagram @behindthefight