Liam Smith tells Sky Sports that he has "far too much heart" for Kell Brook and that his British rival has failed to fulfil his potential.
Fresh after bolstering his ledger with a resounding win over Roberto Garcia at the back end of last year, Liverpool's Smith is setting his focus on bigger targets. The gutsy super-welterweight is no stranger to boxing's highest echelons as the former world champion has shared the ring with a number of quality operators such as Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, Jaime Munguia, and Liam Williams. With plenty of options seemingly available in the minefield that is boxing's 154lb division, Smith has no doubt who he'd like to take on next.
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"Kell Brook is the fight that I want next and I think people would love it if that fight could be made," declared Smith, a hunger in his voice as he pursues yet another significant battle. Brook takes on America's Mark DeLuca on Saturday, live on Sky Sports, knowing he needs an impressive performance if he's to be taken serious among the leading names at welterweight and the division north. Brook has consistently flirted with super-welterweight throughout his career, and although a bulk of his stay in boxing has been spent pursuing a showdown with bitter rival Amir Khan, his name still contains massive value and Smith is well aware of that.
"It's a big fight in this country and there's no doubt in my mind that the winner pushes on towards even bigger things. There was a win against Shawn Porter that perhaps should've pushed Brook on, but I don't think he can look back at his career and say he got the very best from it because he's lost every big fight since and he's not been in the ring for quite a while now. The Khan fight was everything to him and it probably still is, but you can't say he hasn't had plenty of chances to make a name for himself elsewhere. He had the opportunity to face Jarrett Hurd when he became mandatory and nothing happened there. He's only got himself to blame for not fulfilling his potential."
He's had his moments in the sport, and I've had mine, but I feel I'm getting better all the time and that I'd have far too much heart for him if the fight gets made
With several options currently presenting themselves to "Beefy" due to the depth of the 11st division, Smith is well aware that 2020 is a year brimming with potential. With the changing of the guard occurring on a frequent basis in Smith's weight class, names like Hurd, Jermell Charlo, Tony Harrison, Julian Williams and Jeison Rosario vying for the top spot, Smith has multiple choices if he wants to stake his claim for top honours. Despite the riches available to him courtesy of his peers, Smith pulls no punches when admitting that Brook is his desired choice.
"I'd have to have a look at who was offering what, but I'd have to say that a fight with Brook probably make the most sense at this stage as it's a massive fight and that's what I want to be involved in. He's had his moments in the sport, and I've had mine, but I feel I'm getting better all the time and that I'd have far too much heart for him if the fight gets made. I'm 100 per cent confident that I beat him, and I think you'd see me take over after a few rounds. If the fight can be made this year then lets do it. I'd love the chance to beat him and then push on towards another world title."
Watch Kell Brook vs Mark DeLuca in Sheffield on Saturday, from 7pm on Sky Sports Arena.