Kell Brook wants a welterweight unification fight with Manny Pacquiao in 2017, should the returning Filipino legend defeat Jessie Vargas for the WBO title this weekend. The 37-year-old ended his brief retirement to book a clash with the American in Las Vegas, a title bout that could lead to a series of high-profile contests in the new year.
The Philippines senator, who combines his political career with the demands of professional boxing, briefly retired from the sport after defeating Timothy Bradley via a unanimous decision last April. Just four months later, however, the eight-division world champion announced his comeback against Vargas – the current WBO welterweight champion.
Vargas has won 27 of his 28 career fights, but despite being 10 years Pacquiao's junior is largely considered the underdog heading into the Nevada showdown. Brook remains the IBF champion at the 147lbs class, and believes a clash with Pacquiao could act as a fillip for his own return to the ring following his loss to Gennady Golovkin in September
"Of course I would be interested in the winner [of Pacquiao-Vargas]," Brook told ESPN. "All the fans were saying I didn't fancy fighting the best fighters, but I have gone in there with the best in the world in Golovkin, and I'm ready to do it again. I'm after the biggest and best fights out there, those are the ones that are going to get me up for it. Once you have become world champion, you need special fights to really keep you motivated in training. A world title unification fight would do that.
"I see Vargas getting some success, but I just think with Pacquiao's experience, having been in with the better opponents, he's going to have too much. But I don't see Pacquiao stopping him – he'll win on points. He's had a lot of time out: is his passion still there? It could catch up with you at that age, so he's got to be careful, and that makes the fight interesting.
"Vargas is a good fighter – he's a world champion – but he's not the best out there. There's not massive margins at this level, but I don't think he's in the super league with the likes of Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia and myself. Unless he shows us something I've not see before, I don't see him winning."