Kell Brook: Redemption Or Closure
It seems strange, maybe telling that Matchroom have a show this weekend and Kell Brook is fighting on the same day, but they are doing it thousands of miles apart.
In many ways this is a solo project for Brook, much of the familiarity has now gone. Long-time trainer Dominic Ingle won’t be in his corner at the MGM Grand. The Sky cameras and Eddie Hearn will be elsewhere, and British fans will have to find the cash for yet another subscription to watch what is likely to be the final fight of the Sheffield fighter’s career.
Brook 34, faces an uphill task against the immensely talented and unbeaten American Terence Crawford. The reigning WBO welterweight champion is at his physical peak, Brook’s time is largely considered to have long since gone.
Everything seems to be against Brook, and the old cynical side of me tells me that he has been picked for a reason. The name fighter, an easy sell, an expected victory for the house fighter and with some ease.
Brook beyond much doubt hasn’t beaten a world-class fighter since his highly impressive win over Shawn Porter in 2014. Can he really roll back the years to become the first fighter to inflict a defeat on Crawford, it seems a mission impossible.
The Porter win was exceptional, but for a multitude of reasons, he failed to build on it. A holiday in Tenerife soon after saw Brook stabbed in the leg and hospitalised. Uninspiring defences of his IBF world welterweight title left many cold, despite being a world champion he was already fading into obscurity.
Defeats to Gennady Golovkin in that ill-judged move to middleweight and Errol Spence Jr seemed to indicate Brook was on the slide, three victories since the loss of his world title in 2017 haven’t convinced us that isn’t the case.
Brook seemed on the road to nowhere, the search for Amir Khan was always going to end in disappointment, and you have to wonder what harm that quest did for his career.
Claims of being a reborn fighter, obsessed during this troublesome year, don’t seem to have convinced many. Crawford is around 1/12 to send Brook into certain retirement, a 3rd career defeat leaves him little option but to do so.
Without the rehydration clauses of his IBF days, Brook may well find the struggle to make weight and more importantly fight effectively enough at welterweight a little easier than it was against Spence. But an unlikely victory doesn’t depend on how well Brook makes 147 again.
Brook hasn’t been at this level since 2017 and nothing we have seen since leaves us confident he is still able to replicate what he did on the night he beat Porter.
Despite the massive opportunity that lies in wait there is something rather sad about the way the career of Brook will end. He seems to have been drifting somewhat since the fight with Spence, flattering at times to inject new life into his faltering career. Admittedly Brook could shock everyone, and he does seem as though he is in incredible shape, and get that truly defining win that would easily top that fantastic performance against Porter.
But boxing rarely shows sentiment, or allow a fighter to leave on a high. Boxers have a period in their careers where they are at their physical peak and they have to grasp that moment in time.
Unfortunately for the ex-champion his time has almost certainly passed. Inactivity, the often reported poor discipline, a failure to land a fight his skills deserved when he was the champion all contributed to his demise.
But he goes into the fight this weekend with the three-weight world champion with nothing to lose, and with very little expectation. The odds say he won’t, but maybe Brook can reverse his fortunes and repeat that famous night against Porter. But regrettably for Brook, even the fighter who faced Porter, would probably fall short against Crawford.
I don’t buy into the cashing out theory that is being thrown at Brook. Whatever he is being paid he deserves every penny. The chance of once again being a world welterweight champion and beating Crawford I believe are the primary motives for the trip to America and not one final pay cheque.
I would love to be proved wrong but it does seem likely that at some point Brook will find his body giving way again. Any good start he makes will have become irrelevant by the time he is rescued by either the referee or his corner, which will be somewhere around the 8th round I suspect.
Brook will probably leave America with his career over, and in the years to come looking back on what could have been. Brook had the skills to have done far more with his career and I think deep he knows that. Sometimes in life you leave it too late, and Brook, unfortunately, will probably always regret his wilderness years.