By Tré Berry III | 11/10/2020
Boxing needs to apologize to 🇬🇧Kell Brook (39-2-0, 27KO👊). Yes, you have just read that correctly…..boxing itself needs to apologize, and I specify that as bluntly as possible. After some readers may have an immediate jarring response to the initial sentence of this 📜column, many will wonder exactly in which capacity I am speaking upon when it comes to the homegrown product of Sheffield, England.
Once upon a time, Kell Brook (dubbed “The Special One”) was touted for his exceptional all-around skills, and pushed himself to becoming a major player in the Welterweight division, with the nation of England at his back. His chance to stake claim in the heart of the division came in 2014, when he earned an opportunity to fight against undefeated IBF Titlist 🇺🇸“Showtime” Shawn Porter, and traveled across the pond to America with hopes of bringing the red title back to Sheffield.
Shawn Porter has always been one of the sports most physical operators, and possessed the right skill-set to drive home his pressure breaking acumen. With Brook walking into hostile territory, and dealing with an opponent notoriously known to mentally wear you out, and break you down, Brook put forth the best showing of his career, and soundly defeated Porter to win his 1st title via a dominant effort not reflected by the dubious 📝Majority Decision verdict that manifested.
KELL BROOK TAKEN NOTICE OF BY THE WORLD AND BY OTHER WELTERWEIGHTS
With the good of course him being that he lived out his lifelong dream to one day be able to call himself as Champion, the bad is that…he did it too well. The drawback with that was that the rest of the Titlists, and 🔝upper echelon of the division took note of how easily he was able to handle Porter, and no one was willing to step out, and accept a challenge to fight Brook, thus Brook’s well of options being rendered dry.
He ultimately became the divisions most avoided fighter, as well as one of the most avoided throughout all of boxing. While other Welterweight titlists went on their separate journeys, Kell Brook was left alone and out of the frey, despite arguably being the most talented of the entire bunch.
Brook would put together three Title defenses of his IBF belt, against decent available competition that he could get into the ring with him. It was at this point that his ambitions did not align with the landscape that he was left to deal with, so he decided that he wanted to take a drastic chance in fighting the best, at a ⚖️weight category naturally north of his.
KELL BROOK TAKING A RISKY MOVE THAT MOST OTHERS DID NOT WANT TO TAKE
Not only did Kell Brook look up, but he decided to skip the Super-Welterweight division completely and shot up to Middleweight – jumping two divisions to target a Monster, that being 🥈🇰🇿Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin, who at the time had three of the five major belts & a 23 fight knockout streak.
The irony was that although GGG found his niche to get fights in the division, he was openly avoided as well by the top dogs for quite some time, so two of the most avoided fighters at their respective weights decided to come together for a scrap.
With near unanimous sentiment of people outside of England giving Kell no chance, and wondering what he was thinking in taking this assignment, it has to be noted that he attempted to do something that not even G.O.A.T. candidate 🥉🇺🇸Floyd “Money” Mayweather Jr. was willing to do in moving up to fight Golovkin when the opportunity was there to do so.
What was interesting to me was that Kell had his moments during the fight, and legitimately came into the fight upset-minded, however an unfortunate turn of events happened midway throughout the fight. Brook realized he wasn’t a Middleweight when Golovkin’s battering ram power was disfiguring his face, and cracked his right orbital bone.
Golovkin in round 5 beat him mercilessly, before his Trainer threw in the towel, continuing Golovkin’s stoppage streak. Here Brook could hang his 🧢hat on knowing that he tried to do something that not even Golovkin’s contemporaries wanted a piece of at that present moment in time, so he had a decision to make, go to Super-Welterweight, or to come back to Welterweight to defend the red belt…he chose the latter.
THE NIGHT WHEN BROOK MET A YOUNG PROSPECT CENTER RING IN SHEFFIELD
Interesting as it was, Brook would return to Welterweight. Upon his arrival, a young, highly touted super prospect had been well on the 📡radar for quite some time, and he had worked himself up to number 1 contention. As a Champion, you are obligated to take on the assignment when a clear #1 is waiting in the wings, so Brook gave young 🇺🇸Errol Spence Jr. a chance to dethrone him, and an opportunity for Brook to defeat an American challenger of universally high regard.
To bring back an old saying that’s been relegated to being obsolete due to technology these days, these two fought this fight in a 📞phone booth, as they spent 70% of the fight wrestling, bumping shoulders, firing impactful short shots, and trying to outwill the other. For much of the first 8 rounds, Brook had once again established how good he was, giving Spence all that he could handle, but Spence held his own.
With the bout even by that point, Errol snuck in a short, sharp right hook that broke Kell Brook’s OTHER 👁️eye-socket, talk about horrible luck. Not only was Brook forced to face past demons of a sort, but Spence for the next 3 rounds pulverized the eye non-stop repeatedly, making it a 🎯target, landing at least 30 power shots to the damaged eye, and Kell’s physical state started to deteriorate along with the eye socket itself.
The Brit was worked out to the canvas in a brutal display in the 10th. With Spence looking to put the finishing touches on his brilliant performance, a battered Brook had some of his best moments of the entire fight in the 11th round exhibiting a last ditch effort of heart, but as he couldn’t hurt the American, his belief in himself darkened, and so did the spirit in the room.
With Brook pawing at his eye and trying to see, he decided he had enough punishment, and took a knee. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a sold out arena so quiet for the first ⌚3 seconds of a count. With the crowd in swell hoping he’d get up, he never did, and just like that, Errol Spence won his first world title, by snatching it away from Mr. Brook’s grasp.
The sold out arena in Sheffield seemed to be in full support for their fallen son, and you would get a sense that he still had his backers to assist him through this tough time, however as the bombastic taunts, insults and repudiation coming directly from the 🌎western world was heaped upon him, and in destroying his reputation, his people in the arena, nor his fans throughout all of England did anything to come to his defense, and ultimately left their guy to fall victim to the bricks of a building called boxing’s current culture under demolition.
FOR THE MASSES – AN OLDTIME CARDINAL BOXING RULE NEEDS SOME CONTEXT
Kell Brook was labeled a quitter, and in the boxing world and its pantheon, they treat you like a leper once that 🏷️tag is cast upon you, understandably so. What I will say to that is context is everything in life, and certainly in boxing – a trait that I would say is in endangered species in this current climate. Now going back throughout boxing’s 100+ year history, you could essentially say that there are two types of quitting.
One, which is universally forbidden is to quit due to not having your way, and you allowing yourself to get mentally beaten, in situations where no extensive amount of physical punishment was caused. Brook does not fit into this category. This is where 🇵🇦Roberto Duran and 🇨🇺Guillermo Rigondeaux had to face full-on ridicule for, and that type of vitriolic hatred by people in the moment is fully allowable for pundits, and fans to express because it desecrates the true integrity of the sport.
Now the second way is something that we see all the time. There are many more examples throughout time where a fighter is physically beaten to the point that they cannot take it anymore, so it is more apropos for people to saying that they’ve had enough, as opposed to checking out of the contest.
No proud person, or boxer will EVER admit to this in public, but every man has their own 🍲breaking point – a point where especially in boxing that is difficult to reach as an opponent, but once it gets there, and there’s nothing left to offer, it is fine to pack it up and call it a day, to live to fight for tomorrow.
We’ve seen warriors from all walks succumb to punishment going past their personal pain threshold to call it a night, yet in those instances, you seldom see people call into question the boxers merit. Hypocrisy enters the 🖼️picture when Brook hasn’t been given the benefit of the doubt as others have, where he lost 2 fights, fights in which an orbital bone was cracked in, and was hit repeatedly to the injured eye by two of the heaviest hitters currently in boxing today for multiple rounds, and fighting to the end until his limit was met.
HOW KELL CAN CHANGE THE NARRATIVE
A perfect opportunity has fallen into his lap, with him getting one of the greatest craftsmen of the sport in current boxing to face in ♛Terence “Bud” Crawford. Though this is the best fighter that Ezequel (Kell’s real name) is going to face in his career, the task is a daunting one, however his desire to prove himself and rid of the 🏷️tag will supersede his fear of failure.
Now with that in mind, although Kell Brook has not been quite the same fighter since the Spence fight in losing a piece of himself to the ridicule and misplaced self-confidence, the circumstances surrounding the event leads me to believe that we might see the best that Brook has to offer, harkening back to the version we grew accustomed to seeing in years prior.
Anyone who is fed up with how they are perceived and treated, whether in life or through their profession, will do ANYTHING to gain back that respect and trust. What will happen in this fight? we will have to wait and see, but Brook has a chance to redeem his name, and change the course of his legacy.