-- This Saturday Gennady "GGG" Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs) the unified WBA, WBC, IBF and IBO middleweight titleholder will take on IBF welterweight titlist Kell "Special K" Brook in front of a sold out crowd at the O2 arena in London, England, live on HBO at 5:30 p.m. ET.
This fight is coming off another welterweight coming up in weight to face a middleweight when Englishman Amir Khan was brutalized by Canelo Alvarez last May via sixth round knockout. After the fight, Canelo said he wanted to fight GGG but for reasons beyond boxing's fans can understand, that fight couldn't be made along with any other middleweights so now we have GGG versus Brook.
Will this fight be a mismatch or is Brook in the same mold as Sugar Ray Leonard who moved up in weight to beat Marvin Hagler?
Let's take a look at where the money is going, along with opinions from boxing experts, trainers and my pick and see if this is a mismatch or an upset waiting to happen.
Where is the money going?
Jeff Sherman assistant sportsbook manager at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook, opened the fight with GGG -800 and Brook +550. Jeff has had steady support on Brook to lower the price to its current line off -600/+450. Jeff hung the total at 7.5 under -125 and over +105. "There has been action on GGG in parlays thus far as well," said Sherman.
At the Wynn, Johnny Avello, director of race and sports operations, opened the fight with GGG -650 and Brook +475. He got some large-scale bets on GGG that moved the price to their current odds of -700/+500. Johnny also opened the total rounds on the fight at 9.5 rounds over/under -110 both ways. I asked Johnny who he liked and he said, "GGG by 6th round KO as he will be too much for Brook."
At the William Hill US, senior trader Adam Pullen posted the fight with GGG -700 and Brook +500. "Liability with Golovkin is small now as the line is -800/550 but we are seeing steady action on Brook. We have written four and a half ticket to one on Brook," said Pullen. He will hang a round total closer to fight time.
Experts weigh in
•Evan Young (boxing sharp): "I like how Brook is preparing and I think he will be very strong. That said, I think it's simply too big an ask for Brook. Jumping from Kevin Bizier to Gennady Golovkin is like jumping from a Division III college football team to the Super Bowl champs. I'm going with Golovkin to end matters in 8 to 10 rounds."
•Marcus Figueroa (boxing sharp): "GGG is getting a little heat for taking on a smaller man. Ironically Brook has weighed more throughout camp. Brook may be the best 147-pounder but I think GGG beats anyone south of 190 and he makes a big statement. GGG KO6."
•John "Iceman" Scully (boxing trainer): "Kell is going to put up a better fight for a while than people think. He will be more comfortable at 160 than 147. With that said, I still feel GGG is too strong and a complete fighter to lose this one."
•Stephen "Breadman" Edwards (boxing trainer): "GGG between 8-10 in a barnburner!!!"
•Chris Capuano (boxing sharp): "There are so many obvious things to say about this fight and how it can easily be compared to Khan/Canelo. However, size difference here will not be as wide as most think. Kell has the tools, can box and should hang in with the powerful Gennady. Brook loses but snaps GGG's impressive KO streak. Golovkin by UD."
•Eric Bradley (boxing trainer): "Brook's a better skilled fighter, Golovkin is better at the craft of boxing. Golovkin wins but gets exposed by the highly skilled Brook."
•Quante Kent (boxing sharp): "Kell Brook is a complete, undefeated boxer with all the tools. Gennady Golovkin is no average welterweight, matter of fact he is a middleweight, a powerful middleweight, and there is no way Brook would be able to stand up to GGG power for 12 rounds. I see GGG winning by 5th-round KO."
Betting the fight
Golovkin: The 34-year-old from Kazakhstan, now living in Los Angeles, California, has taken the boxing world by storm with a 91.4 percent knockout percentage. The last time an opponent made it to the final bell was in 2008 when he won a unanimous decision against Amar Amari. He is 16-0 with sixteen knockouts in world title fights. His current knockout percentage is the highest of any middleweight ever according to CompuBox. He is ranked No. 2 in the ESPN pound-for-pound ratings and although most think of him as just a power puncher, he is actually one of the best technical fighters in boxing right now. He cuts off the ring, has a strong jab and moves his opponents into position to land his lethal power. He is also a terrific counterpuncher and his chin has shown to be more than durable.
Brook: The 30-year-old from Sheffield, England, will be moving up from 147 pounds to 160 pounds. He is the IBF welterweight titlist and is ranked the No. 2 welterweight in the world by ESPN. He has knocked out seven of his past eight opponents and has a 69.4 percent knockout average. He won the IBF title by beating Shawn Porter by majority decision in August of 2014. One of his best skills is his ring knowledge and ability to capitalize on it. For example, in his fight with Porter, he tied up Porter on the inside and stayed outside landing hard blows. He is a slick boxer of sorts and his right uppercut is one of his best punches. He might be better suited to fight above 147 pounds and not have to drain himself to make weight. He is taking the shot of a lifetime and the rewards could be the biggest of his career since winning the belt in 2014.
Who will win?
First, I give Brook the utmost respect for taking this fight and moving up two weight classes. I think he will be competitive for a while then GGG will break him down somewhere between the 6th and 8th rounds. The panel above is all picking GGG to win the fight as well.
Pick: GGG -700 or better