Brook vs Rabchenko: Examining the super-welterweight world champions
Who might Brook target?
By James Dielhenn
Last Updated: 01/03/18 2:21pm
Kell Brook will debut in a new weight division, super-welterweight, this weekend, so who are the top dogs at 154lbs?
Former welterweight world champion Brook is stepping up a division to face Sergey Rabchenko, live on Sky Sports, on Saturday night.
But some very dangerous world super-welterweight champions could be waiting to welcome Brook…
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Key stats: Erislandy Lara
- 34 years old
- 25-2-2 record
- WBA 'super' champion
He has either been avoided by challengers who are targeting easier opposition or hand-picking low hanging fruit, depending on who you believe.
But Lara is due to unify his WBA 'super' title with Jarrett Hurd's IBF version in April in an intriguing clash, the winner of which can lay claim to being the divisional ruler as the only man with two belts.
A product of Cuba's revered amateur set-up, Lara was a gold medallist in the 2005 World Championship and his jab, footwork and defence have turned him into an elite pro.
He was beaten by Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez four years ago but, since then, has become a world champion at 154lbs and is the longest reigning of his peers.
But he has attracted criticism for the six wins that followed for perceived below-par opposition. Most recently, he outpointed Terrell Gausha so has critics to answer when he fights fellow champion Hurd next.
Key stats: Jermell Charlo
- Texas, USA
- 27 years old
- 30-0 record
- WBC champion
Perhaps the world champion that Brook is most likely to run into, if he wins Saturday's divisional debut, is Charlo. Brook is vying for the WBC 'silver' title which would earn him a major ranking with that governing body, and boost his chances of an eventual crack at the champion.
Jermell and his twin brother, Jermall, created history in 2016 by each capturing a world title at super-welterweight. A combined 54-0, Jermall has now vacated and moved up in weight but Jermell remains a serious threat.
He is 30-0 with two successful defences of the WBC title that he won after it was vacated by Floyd Mayweather. Charlo is the latest incumbent after the three previous champions were Mayweather, 'Canelo' and Manny Pacquiao.
Big boots to fill but the Texas twin pulled off one of 2017's best knockouts against Erickson Lubin to enhance his burgeoning reputation.
Key stats - Jarrett Hurd
- Maryland, USA
- 27 years old
- 21-0 record
- IBF champion
Credit to Hurd, just 21 fights deep into his career, for rolling the dice against Lara - an opponent who is difficult to look good against, even if you win.
Hurd has, in some ways, played second fiddle to the experienced and long-reigning Lara, Charlo after his recent knockout caused a buzz, and even Sadam Ali for the manner of his world title win.
Hurd's most notable victory so far is against Austin Trout - an opponent that had already lost to Lara and Charlo - although Hurd was the first to knock him out.
But he has the look of a world champion whose best years may be ahead of him. Critics have pointed out technical deficiencies but Hurd overcame a humble amateur career to already claim a world title as a pro. He is a big puncher who is eyeing up the middleweight division already. Plenty of questions about Hurd will be answered when he faces the veteran southpaw Lara soon.
Key stats - Sadam Ali
- New York, USA
- 29 years old
- 26-1 record
- WBO champion
Ali gate-crashed the party in December when he upset Miguel Cotto, ruining the legend's retirement fight, and winning the WBO belt in the process.
Ali moved up from welterweight for the opportunity and recorded a career-best win, but his long-term suitability for 154lbs will be questioned by future challengers.
He had spent his entire pro career as a welterweight and Ali's sole loss was against Jessie Vargas, with a world title on the line.
He has impressive amateur pedigree - a former national champion, Ali represented the USA at the 2008 Olympics.
Watch Brook vs Rabchenko from Sheffield, live on Saturday, March 3, on Sky Sports Main Event & Action, from 7.30pm.