• Welterweight

Las Vegas beckons for Brook's title shot

Dan Rafael
November 28, 2012
Kell Brook's next fight looks set to take place in the United States © PA Photos

Devon Alexander won a welterweight title on October 20, just hours after Kell Brook won a title eliminator in his hometown of Sheffield to become the mandatory challenger. Now, they will face each other.

Alexander, a former unified junior welterweight titlist, will make the first defence of his 147-pound belt against Brook on January 19 in the main event of US broadcaster Showtime's first major fight card of 2013.

The site has not been determined, but it is likely to take place in Las Vegas, Brook's promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport told ESPN.com.

Hearn said that contractually the fight could not take place in Missouri, the home state of St. Louis native Alexander. Hearn said he and Alexander's promoter Golden Boy have reached an agreement rather than pushing the fight to a purse bid and they are "just tying things up."

"We made a number of significant offers to Golden Boy and (Alexander's adviser) Al Haymon, well in excess of seven figures, to try and bring the fight to the UK, but Devon had no interest in travelling," Hearn said. "We were at a 75-25 disadvantage in any potential purse bid and when we received the final offer from Golden Boy, we were all happy.

"If we won a purse bid and Devon vacated, we had all the potential to become a paper champion and that's not what Kell Brook is all about. To become great and make a statement, there is no better way than travel to a champion's country and rip the belt from him. Kell has the opportunity to make a huge statement in the 147-pound division."

Kevin Cunningham, Alexander's trainer and manager, said they had no intention of going to England for the fight.

"There's no reason to have to leave the country to fight a guy who no one in America has ever heard of," Cunningham said. "That was not going to happen. I'm just happy that I have a team and a promoter that was willing to step up and make this thing happen in the States and now we're just going to work to make sure this title stays in the States.

"Devon should be fighting someone with a bigger name than Kell Brook, but since he's the mandatory, we'll defend the title against the mandatory. But I don't see anything special about Kell Brook."

The 25-year-old Alexander (24-1, 13 KOs) outpointed Randall Bailey on the opening card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn last month to win the belt, but the dreadful fight drew sustained booing from the crowd because it lacked any semblance of action.

After the fight, Alexander sheepishly said he understood the booing but that he had to fight cautiously because of Bailey's tremendous punching power, although Bailey did virtually nothing the entire fight.

Alexander said he aims to make a more exciting fight with Brook. "I definitely want to be a crowd pleaser," said Alexander, who began training for the fight in St. Louis last week. "I want to be exciting and the crowd to be into it and cheering. This is entertainment. The Bailey fight was not what I would have liked to be it. I'm planning to be more engaged and throwing more punches.

"We will definitely be more exciting this fight."

This article first appeared on ESPN.com

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