Brook-Spence Jr: Howard John Foster to referee fight

By Scott Gilfoid: In 8 days from now, Errol Spence Jr. will be fighting IBF welterweight champion Kell “Special K” Brook for his IBF 147 pound strap with referee Howard John Foster the third man in the ring on the night on May 27. This could be a good thing or a bad thing for this fight. It all depends on what kind of night Foster is having. Foster was a tad quick on the stoppage of the first Carl Froch vs. George Groves fight on November 23, 2013.

Groves looked a little hurt in the 9th, but not nearly enough in my opinion for Foster to jump and stop the contest. That was a controversial stoppage. Foster also was quick on the trigger in halting the Joshua Leather vs. Philip Sutcliffe Jr. fight earlier this month on May 13 in Leeds. Sutcliffe Jr. took a right hand from Leather, which didn’t seem to hurt him that bad. However, Foster jumped in moments later and stopped the fight.

What we don’t want is Foster stopping the Brook-Spence fight prematurely at first sign of one of the two getting buzzed.

I would hate to see Brook lose the fight after taking a right hand from Spence that momentarily causes him to lose his balance. I know Foster has a job to do, but he should let the two fighters battle it out without him stopping the fight. It would be bad news for the outcome of the Brook vs. Spence fight if Foster decides to stop the fight without one of them being badly hurt.

Foster was the referee that twice took points away from Darleys Perez in his first fight against Anthony Crolla on July 18, 2015. That was the fight that Crolla was losing going into the 11th round. Foster took a point away from Perez in the 11th and 12th rounds, which resulted in Crolla getting a 12 round draw. In looking at the so-called low blows thrown by Perez, the point deduction in the 11th came from a punch that appeared to be right on the beltline of Crolla.

Perez was having his head pulled down by Crolla when he threw the punch. In the 12th, Crolla once again pulled down on Perez’s head when he was throwing a punch, causing his shot to land low. Instead of Foster warning Crolla to stop pulling down on Perez’s head, he took a point away from the Colombian fighter. It looked like a very, very bad call on Foster’s part. I don’t think either of those point deductions should have occurred. Perez had no choice but to throw low when he was bent over in an r-shape from Crolla pulling his head down.

It looked to me like Crolla wasn’t comfortable with Perez hitting him in the bread basket all night long, so he started with the head-pulling down bit to keep him from blasting him to the body over and over again. Anyway, I thought Foster royally blew both calls in the 11th and 12th round. It’s quite sad that Foster’s point deductions changed the whole complexion of the Perez vs. Crolla fight. If not for those 2 point deductions in the crucial last 2 rounds, Crolla would have lost to Perez. It’s as simple as that.

Without Foster blowing both of those calls in my opinion, Perez would have won. Hopefully we don’t see Foster taking points off from Errol Spence Jr. left and right on May 27 when he throws body shots, because he’s a big time body puncher. if Spence can’t throw body shots in the fight without Foster taking points off, it’s going to limit what Spence can do in the fight. I still think Spence would win the fight over Brook, because he’s so talented and has more ways to win than just throwing body shots. But you don’t like to see referees taking points off needlessly for body shots that land on the belt-line of a fighter.

If Spence can’t throw body shots without Foster deducting points, then Spence will to stay on the outside and jab and uppercut Brook into submission. I think it’s a fight that Spence can win with his uppercuts and jabs. We saw that from Spence in his recent win over Leonard Bundu last year in Coney Island, New York. Spence jabbed Bundu from the outside to soften him up. In the 6th, Spence dropped Bundu twice; although he only credit for knocking Bundu down once. The referee blew the call by ruling the first knockdown a slip. It didn’t matter though, as Spence immediately flattened Bundu for the 10 count with a tremendous uppercut to the head. The Spence-Bundu fight took place last August, 9 months ago. Spence has been waiting ever since for Brook to finally step inside the ring to fight him. Brook made the mistake of fighting Gennady Golovkin last September in a fight in which he suffered a broken right eye socket.

To make a long story short, Brook needed surgery on the broken eye socket, and he’s been out of the ring ever since licking his wounds from the battle against the hard hitting Triple G. Brook is now going to be fighting a guy with punching power almost as good as Golovkin in Errol Spence, and perhaps an even better body puncher. If Spence is able to throw his body shots without Foster taking points off from him, then it could be an early night for him on May 27. Brook is pretty good at getting out of the way of head shots, he’s terrible at avoiding punches to the body. That’s what ultimately caused Brook to stop fighting back in the 5th round against Golovkin.

After Brook got hit with a body shot from Golovkin, he closed up the tent and was done for the night. Brook dropped his gloves and stopped defending his head from Golovkin’s shots. Golovkin had been head hunting the entire fight, but he had trouble connecting on his shots due to Brook’s head movement. But once Brook dropped his gloves to protect his body after getting hurt in the 5th, Golovkin was able to tee off on him with head shots. Brook’s corner person Dominic Ingle had to throw in the towel at that point to have the fight stopped.

“Spence is very talented but he has never been in there with anyone like me before. I do think I am going to be too good for him,” said Brook to “I am in my prime. I am big, I am strong, fast, I’ve got a great boxing brain and he will see how mentally strong I am as well.”

I think Brook forgot to include that he’ll likely be weight drained for the fight against Spence on May 27. Brook looks drained as heck already and he still has a week to go to get down to the 147 pound limit for the Spence fight. I’ve never seen Brook look so stringy and thin as he is for this fight. I don’t think it matters that there 32,000 boxing fans at Bramall Lane to cheer Brook on, if he’s too weak to put up a fight, he’s going to be “man down” on May 27. I’m just saying.

Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) vs. Spence (21-0, 18 KOs) will be taking place on May 27 on televised on Sky Sports Box Office from Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England. This is Brook’s backyard. The stadium is going to be crawling with Brook fans. It’s going to be tough on the visitor Spence, who will be traveling over 3000 miles from his home in Desoto, Texas in the U.S to challenge Brook.

George Groves and Fedor Chudinov will be fighting in the co-feature bout on the Brook vs. Spence card. Groves (25-3, 18 KOs) and Chudinov (14-1, 10 KOs) will be fighting for the vacant World Boxing Association Super World super middleweight title. There are a number of fans that have been critical of the WBA’s decision to have Groves and Chudinov fight for the WBA’s highest championship belt for the 168 lb. title, because Groves has lost 3 times in fighting for world titles in the past. Groves getting yet another chance to fight for a world title instead of a contender that hasn’t ever fought for a world title would seem like the fairer thing for the WBA to let happen.

Chudinov also hasn’t done much to earn a title shot, Chudinov lost his last fight to Felix Sturm last year on February 20, 2016. Don’t ask me why Chudinov hasn’t fought in 15 months since his defeat to Sturm. I don’t understand someone staying out of the ring for as long as the 29-year-old Chudinov has. He should have got back in the ring AGES ago, shouldn’t he? I don’t understand why the WBA is letting Groves and Chudinov to fight for their highest belt. What about talents like David Benavidez and Andre Dirrell? They should be getting world title shots.

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