Dave Oakes previews Saturday's welterweight clash between Kell Brook and Lovemore N'Dou.
Kell Brook headlines Sky’s Saturday Fight Night this weekend when he takes on tough veteran Lovemore N’dou over twelve rounds at a sold-out Hillsborough Leisure Centre.
It will be the first time the Sheffield fighter has headlined a show in his hometown and he seems to have the perfect opponent to look good against. N’dou is well known, probably more so for having fought against a number of big names rather than as his short lived reign as IBF champion, but he seems to be on the slide.
The Sydney based South African will be participating in his 63rd fight, having a record of 48-12-2 (31). He’s only lost to quality boxers who are either on their way up or near the peak of their powers. He’s never been stopped in any of his losses, which, considering he’s been in against the likes of Miguel Cotto, Kermit Cintron and Saul Alverez, is very impressive.
The downside is that N’dou is weeks away from his 40th birthday and has shown signs of deterioration in his last three fights. He’s clearly a lot slower than he was - both of feet and hand, and more worryingly, he looked happy to survive last time out against Alvarez.
N’dou’s main attributes have always been his durability and determination; if his determination is diminishing then he becomes nothing more than a punch bag, albeit a crafty punch bag.
Brook, 23-0 (16), has been out of the ring for over six months, contractual wrangling's and an eventual split from Frank Warren being the main cause. He’s now signed to the resurgent Matchroom Promotions, who look to be establishing a stellar stable of boxers.
The fight is being viewed as a small step-up in class for Brook, although I believe Michael Jennings is of a similar level and was fresher than what N’dou is. Brook struggled against Jennings but styles make fights - Jennings is a mover, whereas N’dou is in punching range for the most part, which will provide Brook with a more immobile target.
This is definitely a chance for Brook to impress; he’s nearing his peak and needs to start fighting opponents that will prepare him for a world title shot, a shot that’s likely to come early next year. With that in his mind, and the extra oomph he’ll obtain from fighting in front of his hometown fans, Brook will be fired up to make a statement.
I can’t see anything other than a win for Brook; he’s younger, fresher, quicker and hungrier. I can see N’dou trying his luck early on but settling down into survival mode as soon as feels Brook’s power or realises he’s not going to outbox the hometown man.
Brook should be able to prevail via a comfortable points decision. He's said he fancies stopping the granite chinned N’dou, that'll be a hard ask but it would certainly catch the attention of the boxing fraternity if he did so.