By Frank Warren
Once Bradley Skeete has negotiated the final notch on his cherished Lonsdale belt on Saturday night, he needs look no further than the recent accomplishment of Jeff Horn to see what can be achieved if you back yourself against the best.
Brad makes what we would expect to be the final defence of his British welterweight title at the Copper Box Arena against the Welshman Dale Evans and, should he be successful, he needs to quickly crack on and push for world honours.
Nobody is underestimating Evans, who will be a tough nut to crack, but Brad now believes he belongs in the world class bracket, so it is a fight he should be winning convincingly.
The 29-year-old should look back at Horn’s triumph over Manny Pacquiao last weekend see that this is where he should be, right now.
He needs to do the business against Evans and then adjust his sights to the top boys of the division. That is what he should be aiming for, no turning back.
I don’t think anyone would have batted an eyelid had we drafted in Horn to face Brad for something like the Commonwealth title before the Aussie upset the applecart in Brisbane.
It is a fight we would have happily made and expected Brad to win. I don’t feel any differently about it now and would still make it, although it wouldn’t be easy as Horn has proved himself a game sod.
Many, including myself, suspected that Pacquiao would be there for the taking before too long, but I didn’t truly anticipate Horn being the one to make the ring legend feel his age.
What I don’t understand is all the furore over the scoring of the fight, which I had Horn winning by a couple of rounds.
I spoke with Bob Arum – who is Pacquiao’s promoter – and he thought Horn won it, while I have also chatted with the WBO president and they have no issues with the outcome.
The principal dissenters all seem to work for ESPN, who have just signed a deal with Top Rank, where Pacquiao is one of the flagship fighters.
It all comes down to some TV companies cheerleading again, which is not uncommon in this day and age, as we all know.
This was the fight where Pacquiao became an old man, although I take nothing away from Horn, who was tough and it showed the difference when a boxer is prepared to grit his teeth and come out the other end from a traumatic period in a fight.
No doubt there will be a rematch, and it will do good business. Once that is done, I’d like to see Horn take on the highly-ranked Brad, which would be a good fight for our man and one he can definitely win.
More Copper Box talk from Frank tomorrow