Kell Brook did not quit but displayed foolish, stupid and admirable bravery. Now he must ask if enough is enough?

A tight gruelling affair suddenly descended into shock when Brook broke his eye socket, and having decided to protect his eyesight over his welterweight title, it could be time to call it off

Steve Bunce
Sunday 28 May 2017 13:45
Comments
Kell Brook's second fractured eye socket in nine months might make him consider his future
Kell Brook's second fractured eye socket in nine months might make him consider his future

It was obvious Kell Brook knew he was damaged long before his pitiless drop to his knee and shattering surrender to Errol Spence Jr in round 11 on Saturday night at Bramall Lane.

Brook went to hospital once again, a repeat journey of the disturbing trek he made after losing last September to Gennady Golovkin, and it is likely that he has suffered another fracture to his eye socket. In the Golovkin fight it was the right eye and on Saturday night it was the left eye; same injury, same horrible ending.

Brook had mentioned the injury at the end of round six to Dominic Ingle, the man that saved Brook's career when he pulled him out against Golovkin. That was a different fight, a fight accepted at a weight limit a stone heavier than Brook's usual fighting weight and there was always a sense that Golovkin's ferocious fists would make the night short.

At Bramall Lane on a night when the devoted choir offered a heavy wall of sound, the fight was delicately poised after six rounds; it remained tight, intense and gruelling until a point after about 30 seconds in the tenth when a clearly distressed Brook was bundled to the canvas for a count. He was not dazed, just in pain and he knew his IBF welterweight title was slipping away.

Spence was connecting with more and more accurate southpaw leads, which means his jolting right jabs were crashing directly on Brook's swollen and damaged left eye. I could see from six feet away at ringside that Brook was in deep trouble and a terrific, close fight was suddenly transformed into a night of suffering for the smiling Sheffield idol. His reception, incidentally, was pure emotion for the returning champion.

Brook regained his feet, there was no stumbling and he stood in front of the referee, Howard Foster, for a few worrying moments looking severely troubled, his eye closing fast under an ugly welt. Spence had over two minutes to finish a wounded Brook; it never quite worked that way and Brook attacked, foolish and stupidly brave until the bell to end round ten. It was a memorable round, three minutes of defiance that some fools in the boxing business chose to ignore when they took to social media in the fight's aftermath to offer a pathetic interpretation of the fight's ending.

When round 11 started Brook was trailing on all three cards and fighting for his future and Spence, unbeaten and previously untested, was fighting to prove he was as good as his backers had been claiming. The end was shocking, Brook backed away, not hurt and slipped to a knee, dropped his head and tried to blank the awful toll of ten that ended his reign. He could not safely fight another second and at 1:47 of round 11 it was all over. Spence, by the way, is a good fighter but still a long way from being a great fighter.

Brook had blurred vision, he told Ingle he couldn't see and the memory of the injury sustained against Golovkin was still fresh in his mind; Brook had major surgery after that loss, a titanium plate is now part of his right eye socket and that was part of his thinking as he slumped to defeat. He knew that another punch might cost him an eye, he had heard consultants at hospitals tell him how fortunate he was after the Golovkin loss. Brook never quit on Saturday night, he made a terribly hard decision to live as normal a life as possible and that meant saving his eye.

I think Brook has had enough hard nights and when his face is fixed he might just think the same thing

Once the swelling has gone down it is likely Brook will have a procedure, then rest for six months and then make a decision on a career that started in obscurity nearly 25 years ago when he walked through the doors at Brendan Ingle's gym.

The sheer defiance in round 10 showed Brook did not quit but instead choose the smart decision

Late on Saturday night as the huddles of shell-shocked and celebratory boxing people tried to make sense of the fight there was no talk of a Spence rematch, no desire for revenge without the injury. However, there was endless speculation about a fight with Amir Khan, an unpopular witness on Saturday night. Khan against Brook would be a stadium fight, it would make both boxers richer and it would be a struggle. I think Brook has had enough hard nights and when his face is fixed he might just think the same thing.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in