Alexander and Brook camps battle over site
On October 20, Kell Brook knocked out china-chinned Hector Saldivia with a jab in the third round to become the mandatory challenger for one of the alphabet welterweight titles.
Hours after Brook (29-0, 19 KOs) won his title eliminator in front of a huge crowd in his hometown of Sheffield, Devon Alexander (24-1, 13 KOs) easily outboxed Randall Bailey for a unanimous decision on the debut boxing card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, to claim a 147-pound belt, thus inheriting Brook as his mandatory opponent.
Alexander-Brook is a somewhat attractive fight that has been ordered to happen unless Alexander gives up the title or Brook elects to go in another direction and doesn't take the fight.
Assuming neither of those scenarios plays out, the big question about Alexander-Brook is where the fight will take place. Kevin Cunningham, Alexander's trainer and manager, told me he has no problem making the fight with Brook but wants it in the United States.
"I don't see anything special about Kell Brook," Cunningham said. "He can be next if he comes to the US We plan on defending the title, and we will fight Brook anywhere in the US"
Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn, who promotes Brook, wants the fight to take place in England, where Brook is a significant draw. (Alexander is a good draw in his hometown of St. Louis, but not as big as Brook is in Sheffield.)
Hearn said he will do everything he can to make the fight in the UK despite Cunningham's lack of interest in going there. Hearn also said he already was negotiating the fight with Alexander's camp, which presumably means Golden Boy Promotions.
"We will be doing all we can to try and make this fight in the UK," Hearn said. "I read Kevin Cunningham's comments and, with all due respect, it's not up to him or Devon where the fight is. We have now entered an official negotiation period with his team, and if we can't find a middle ground, then we will go to purse bids. If I win the purse bids, then Alexander has no choice but to come and fight in England or vacate the title.
"I know we can easily fill the 12,000-seat Sheffield Arena, and we also have significant domestic and international TV backing. If we are in a purse bid situation, I am confident we can be very competitive."
If the sides can't come to an agreement, the fight would indeed go to a purse bid and be awarded to the promoter who makes the biggest offer. But the fighter with the title is always at an advantage. As titleholder, Alexander is entitled to 75 percent of the winning bid; Brook will be entitled to just 25 percent.
This article first appeared on ESPN.com