KELL BROOK weighed in today at 10st 13lbs 12oz, looking in good shape for someone who hasn’t fought since 2018. He now finds himself coming up against another low key opponent, Mark DeLuca, who was 10st 12lbs 12oz. The two box on Saturday (February 8) at the Sheffield Arena in Brook’s hometown.
It’s a bout in which Brook is fighting to keep himself in the game. “This small window is getting very small, if I don’t give it everything now,” he said. “If I can’t beat him then why am I going to carry on? Everything’s on this fight.”
But this is not where Kell expected to be. When he triumphed over Shawn Porter to win the IBF welterweight title, the division was thriving. Big names like Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, even Amir Khan, were all active, all at the height of their fame. That was way back in 2014. By 2016 Brook leapt all the way up to middleweight to fight a prime Gennady Golovkin. Brook was stopped and his eye socket shattered. The next year, returning to welter, he lost his title to Errol Spence. His other eye socket was broken.
These were mistakes and Brook now regrets those decisions. “I do now. Now it’s unfolded. At the time [against Golovkin] I thought it was a win-win I kept my belt if I lost and I did really believe. I knew it would be very, very hard. [When you’re a] fighter who’s never lost, you’re that confident in your own mind. I believed I could have kept out of his way and be sharp. But that first round let me down, getting caught early. Trying to stand with someone like Golovkin, then my eye going, and then it went downhill. The fight after, another elite [opponent], taking muscle off and everything else, killing myself at welterweight. Now looking back of course it weren’t the right move, Golovkin and then Spence, it’s ruined me a bit,” he said frankly.
“How different could it have been? We’ll never know.”
He continued, “I got hurt. People don’t see that. My family saw what I had to go through, I had my eye took out, operated on, it’s hard to swallow. You can’t put money on your health. It affected me, didn’t it? It weren’t just like a loss and like a bloody nose. My eye socket was broken.”
2019 ultimately drifted by without him fighting at all. That was not his intention. He had hoped to nail down a bout with Terence Crawford, yet another extremely tough challenge. “He hasn’t got many flaws, he is an excellent fighter. But like I say I want to leave the sport giving it everything and if I got beat by the better man at least I could hold my head up high,” Kell said. But he noted, “Nothing materialised into anything. I got fed up with it.
“Nobody was excited about Kell Brook anymore.”
He wants that to change and he insists that it will because he himself has changed. “I’m telling you my mojo’s back and I’m floating,” he declared. “Something’s clicked with me. I know that I’ve talked before and you might feel he’s saying this again, but something [has clicked], I don’t know if it’s the age thing… I honestly do believe in my heart that you’re going to see me perform excellently.”
Now Kell Brook has lost some of the audacity he had in the past. He is older, he is wiser, but he’s also fighting against the time he has left.