Before a handful of spectators on Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the career of Kell Brook almost certainly ended. In many ways, it was a sad finale to a career that promised so much, despite winning a version of the world welterweight title; we expected more.
Brook looked the part, at least in the mirror. Brook talked the talk, maybe to try and convince himself, but something was missing. It took Terence Crawford less than four rounds to brutally tell Brook his time was up.
The former IBF claimant to the world welterweight title started well, but there was that sense of inevitability about what was to come. You sensed Crawford would soon get to work, once he had found his range and gauged what was in front of him.
Crawford had his look, switched stance, then the fight almost immediately had a different look and feel to it. The ending came suddenly and, for Brook, it was an act of mercy. It wasn’t a slow painful decline, absorbing unnecessary punishment that would tell much later in his life. Brook didn’t touch the canvas, his final act of defiance, on a night where the fight left his body.
The hesitancy of doubt was apparent in his work, despite the fact that Brook was up on the cards. His punches lacked conviction, no real intent, no flow and, sadly for Brook, I suspect he quickly realised that he would not be leaving America a world champion once again. A brave but ultimately futile attempt to salvage what was left.
The fighter who absorbed the best of Gennady Golovkin, wasn’t there against Crawford. The punch resistance has gone, eventually, the miles on the clock and the brutal weight cuts take their toll. One fight too many, we’ve been here many times before.
Brook said he will consider his future, but there is very little to think about. On the evidence we witnessed in the ‘bubble’, world titles are in his past, at 34, even a permanent move to 154lbs won’t change that.
Does Brook really want to finish his career sliding down the levels in an undignified manner, like many before have done? Carrying on comes at a price, he doesn’t have to suffer now or much later.
Amir Khan might now feel tempted, but any promoter who even thinks about making that match now should also consider if they belong in the sport anymore. Even the money men should have morals. A fight between Brook and Khan right now means nothing, better to speculate than to witness two faded fighters wading through erosion, a pale shadow of the fight it should have been.
The win over Shawn Porter in 2014 was Brook’s career-high, a victory that looks even better now with time. Brook had the skills to have unified, but he never had the opportunity to build on the Porter fight, self-inflicted or otherwise; the peak was Porter.
Brook only lost 3 times in 42 fights, those defeats were against exceptional fighters, the defeats to Golovkin and Errol Spence Jr. showed glimpses of what could have been. The defeat to Crawford showed what never will be again.
Hopefully, Brook will make the right decision, regrets will be plenty, but some things are more important than trying to fight on in denial and paying for it in the years to come.
Photo: Mikey Williams/Top Rank.