Can Kell Brook succeed against welterweight elite?

After stopping Vyacheslav Senchenko inside four rounds on Saturday night, Sports Mole assesses whether Kell Brook can make an impact against the elite fighters in the welterweight division.

Kell Brook's bout with Ukrainian Vyacheslav Senchenko last weekend had been dubbed as the "make-or-break" encounter for the Sheffield man's career, with defeat almost unthinkable against a man who punched Ricky Hatton into retirement.

But after Brook produced a ruthless display to stop Senchenko inside four rounds, promoter Eddie Hearn was quick to throw names such as Amir Khan and Adrien Broner into the equation as potential opponents before anyone could draw breath from the 27-year-old's clinical performance.

There is also Brook's guaranteed shot at the IBF title in the early part of 2014 to consider, but until the unbeaten fighter faces one of these star names, the question will remain - can Brook compete against the elite of the welterweight division?

The Senchenko fight was lined up for Brook to showcase his talents to the world, and the general belief was that Brook would nick the late stoppage or win on points. No-one predicted that his more experienced opponent would get dismantled in the fashion that he did, and it's difficult to decide whether Brook was under-matched or whether Senchenko just isn't a force at the top level, despite being a former world champion.

The 36-year-old caught Brook with a huge shot shortly before suffering defeat, but apart from that, the win was that comprehensive that it would have been noted by the top players in the division, yet it wouldn't have had anyone hugely concerned by the result.

Kell Brook celebrates his victory over Vyacheslav Senchenko during their Final Eliminator for the IBF World Welterweight Championship bout at Motorpoint Arena on October 26, 2013© Getty Images

The welterweight division is stacked with quality and Brook is only considered to be in and around the number 10 position at 147lbs. Yet, the Senchenko success has opened doors for "Special K", and he has a decision to make whether he wants to prioritise world glory or attempt to agree a deal to fight long-term adversary Amir Khan.

Despite being mandatory to Devon Alexander's IBF belt, Eddie Hearn has made no secret of the fact that he wants to bring WBA holder Adrien Broner to England, and he has highlighted the fact that with a potential encounter being screened on pay-per-view, the controversial American could be tempted to make his debut in the United Kingdom should the money be right.

Hearn's confidence in the logistics of the fight suggest that it could happen, but does Brook really want to be making his pay-per-view debut against a fighter who has been dubbed as the "next Floyd Mayweather"? Broner has his doubters after his last performance against Paulie Malignaggi and is currently creating a buzz away from the ring rather than in it, but the American is undoubtedly talented and would provide a significant improvement in opponent for Brook.

Brook has the tools to beat Broner, but there's a feeling that Broner needs to be tested before we see his real quality, and it's not out of the question that he could outclass the Brit. That would put a severe dent in Brook's momentum, and he would effectively be another couple of fights away from securing a second chance at world level.

The Broner fight would attract a buzz around the UK, but the excitement surrounding a bout with Khan would quickly reach fever-pitch, and it's a battle that every British boxing fan wants to see in the next 12 months.

Devon Alexander punches Lee Purdy during their IBF Welterweight Title fight at Boardwalk Hall Arena on May 18, 2013© Getty Images

Khan is a former world champion and possesses a worldwide fanbase, but his stock has lowered in the past 18 months after significant defeats to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia, and it could be argued that there isn't a better time for Brook to push for the fight with the Bolton man.

The Olympic silver medallist has his eyes on a 2014 date with Floyd Mayweather, and if given the opportunity, he will choose the American over his domestic rival, but that could prove to be a blessing in disguise for both fighters.

Brook against Khan is something that can happen at any point in the next 18 months, whether that be for a world title or just to bring a domestic rivalry to an end. Brook may be relatively untested, but he could defeat Khan, whether that be in his next fight or somewhere down the line, but it also remains a banana skin for either man.

The logical step for the Yorkshire combatant is to take the Alexander fight, because as long as he doesn't lose heavily, Brook can remain a name at world level after that bout, whether he is successful or not. He would be rated as an outsider to beat the American, but it would more than likely go 12 rounds.

It's the perfect step up for someone who has honed his craft over 31 fights, and it wouldn't throw him into the deep end before he has proven that he can swim. Brook doesn't deserve to be regarded as world-class just yet, but he has achieved all he can before that level.

If, as expected, Khan faces Mayweather and loses, Brook can quickly line up an encounter with the Lancashire man in Manchester for the end of 2014, and whether that is for the IBF title or not, Brook could confirm himself on the world scene with victory over Khan, while also effectively ending his rival's career in the process.

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Kell Brook in action in his International Welterweight match against Carson Jones on July 13, 2013
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