Unified middleweight world titleholder Gennady Golovkin and welterweight world titlist Kell Brook hit New York on Thursday to meet the media and discuss a showdown so highly anticipated that tickets for the event at the O2 Arena in London sold out in 11 minutes.
The fighters have a combined record of 71-0. Brook will move up two weight classes to challenge for Golovkin's belts on Sept. 10 (HBO in the U.S., Sky Box Office pay-pay-view in the U.K.) in a fight that took virtually everybody by surprise when it was announced last week.
The fight seemingly took Golovkin by surprise as well.
"Just a couple days ago, my promoter Tom Loeffler called me and said Kell Brook wants to fight me," Golovkin said. "This is big news for me. I know him. He's very good fighter.
"Kell Brook is the best in his division and a big test for me. It will be a great show for everybody watching on TV or in the arena."
Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, Golovkin's promoter, was in the midst of closing a deal for GGG to face middleweight contender Chris Eubank. When that deal fell apart, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, who promotes Eubank and Brook, told Loeffler that Brook was interested in the fight because his deal to face Jessie Vargas in a unification fight had also fallen apart.
"I've looked down in history and see what the greats did, Sugar Ray Leonard and Sugar Ray Robinson. It's going to be a very hard fight. We're going to go through hell in this training camp." Kell Brook
Most expect Golovkin (35-0, 32 KOs), perhaps boxing's most fearsome puncher, to stop Brook (36-0, 25 KOs). Golovkin has scored 22 knockouts in a row, and this will be his 17th title defense.
But Brook, who walks around in the 180-pound vicinity, said he is ready for the challenge and is aiming to make the kind of history two of his boxing idols did by winning welterweight and middleweight world titles.
"I've looked down in history and see what the greats did, Sugar Ray Leonard and Sugar Ray Robinson," Brook said. "It's going to be a very hard fight. We're going to go through hell in this training camp.
"I want to give back to the fans and give them the best fights possible. I'm ready for the challenge Gennady Golovkin brings and ready to win the fight."
Said Dominic Ingle, Brook's trainer: "Kell Brook is going into this fight as a massive underdog for the first time in a long time. He's moving up two weight classes to fight the most feared man in boxing. We're relishing the challenge. Kell Brook has plenty of ambition. Beating Gennady Golovkin is the greatest challenge."
Brook has wanted a major fight since winning his title but wound up being stuck with lesser foes in his three title defenses because none of the big names at welterweight were available or willing to fight him. It's the same problem Golovkin has had at middleweight, where lineal champion Canelo Alvarez, titleholder Billy Joe Saunders and Eubank have avoided him.
"We have to give Kell Brook a lot of credit for taking the fight," Loeffler said. "Eddie is in a similar position in regards to lining up opponents. Fights happen if both fighters want to fight, and that's why this fight came together so quickly. This fight is truly the best fighting the best. The best welterweight versus the best middleweight."
"Kell Brook is the best in his division and a big test for me. It will be a great show for everybody watching on TV or in the arena." Gennady Golovkin
Hearn has put on many of the biggest fights in the U.K. over the past several years and views this as one of the biggest.
"Tom Loeffler faced the same struggles as I," Hearn said. "I'm so glad we were able to put together this fight in such an efficient manner. Great Britain right now is the epicenter of world boxing; we have 13 world champions. Kell Brook is the best pound-for-pound fighter among them.
"Kell Brook was one of the first fighters I signed as a promoter. We've been waiting for a night like this for a long, long time. We've offered numerous champions and challengers millions of dollars to fight Kell Brook, and all we've received has been silence and bluster.
"To be a great, you have to do something great -- and just like Kell Brook's heroes, Sugar Ray Leonard and Sugar Ray Robinson, who moved up from welterweight to win middleweight titles, Kell Brook is a great fighter. This is 71-0 -- 36-0 versus 35-0, two of the very best fighters in the world."