Kell Brook: The Point of No Return
Tonight in Sheffield, Kell Brook will make the latest and almost certainly his last attempt to recapture former glories.
A fighter after a loss or a disappointing performance often look elsewhere for answers, it’s too easy to issue blame, but if they look closely in the mirror, what they are looking for, is staring them right in the face.
Brook has admitted this week that he has cut corners throughout his career, which supports what many have long suspected.
We last saw Brook 14 months ago, and the signs pointed to the end being near. Michael Zerafa was well beaten on the scorecards, but Brook looked like a fighter on an irreversible decline.
Brook has been in a dark place during his largely self-imposed exile since the Zerafa fight. The Sheffield fighter knows time is not on his side, at 33 this will in all likelihood be his last year in the sport.
Brook (38-2) talks about having no regrets as he winds down his career, and the conviction in his words seems to indicate that his has indeed prepared properly for Mark DeLuca, but a similar narrative was spun before the Zerafa fight.
After one fight away, Brook is now back with Dominic Ingle, not for the first time in his career Brook has returned to what is familiar and where he has achieved his greatest success.
The fight with DeLuca isn’t just about winning, it’s how he looks as well. Some fighters are judged by higher standards than others, Brook is one such fighter, winning might not be enough. The past has gone, Brook needs to convince he still has a future.
Brook wants to be a two-weight champion, which is pleasing to hear as it appears thoughts of returning to welterweight have been cast aside and with it the tiresome Amir Khan chase hopefully now at an end.
A satisfactory win probably sets up a fight with Liam Smith, a tough fight with a victory far from guaranteed. The Smith fight is one he needs, the Liverpool boxer will tell us what if any future Brook has at world level.
But Brook must deal with DeLuca first, the American has a decent enough record on paper, and is a more than adequate opponent for Brook after so little activity over the last few years. Two fights in nearly three years, tell a story and Brook knows he is now at the point of no return.
Brook needs rounds and DeLuca (24-1) will probably oblige, the odds say rounds 5-7 is where Brook will get his hand raised. That should be enough time for us to see what Brook has left.
The soul-searching over the last year or so has seen Brook seemingly find what he has been looking for, but has he left it too late. Looking good in the the gym is one thing, but tonight he needs to do it where it matters the most.
Brook is looking to make a statement in an arena where there is no hiding place. In a sport where excuses are easy to find, honesty a little more difficult. They say a fighter is the last to know his time is up, but they do know, the truth is they are often the last to admit it’s over.
The words he has said in the build-up are encouraging for Brook, but the fists and the reflexes will decide if he has one last run in him. Brook may well find like many have done before him, that time away is time you never get back.
Photo Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing