Win, Lose, Or Draw, Kell Brook Deserves Respect
By: Sean Crose
Lots of people are writing British welterweight Kell Brook off this weekend. American Errol Spence Jr, we’re told, is simply going to be too much for the man – too talented, too on the rise, too determined. And while I myself believe this to be true, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if Brook were to pull off the upset, either. Brook, after all, is one of my favorite fighters to watch, a powerful tactician with the brains and skill who knows how to win. There’s something else about Brook that’s worth noting, though, and that’s the fact that he’s a true athlete. You know, the kind that is willing to challenge himself.
In a world of Mayweather-McGregor, it’s nice to see Brook move on from Gennady Golovkin, the middleweight terror, to Spence, the acclaimed wunderkind, in the course of a single fight. If only the talented Adonis Stevenson would show half as much ambition and confidence. That, really, is the appeal of Brook. Sure, he’s a good fighter, but, more importantly, he’s one who is clearly willing to put it all on the line over and over again. His agreeing to fight Brook after the Golovkin loss is akin to Danny Garcia facing Terence Crawford as his next opponent. It’s laudable stuff.
Brook seems to realize that boxing isn’t only a business, as we’ve been so frequently reminded over the years, but that it’s also a sport. Boxing’s new breed of fan, which loves things like Mayweather’s financially based decisions, might not think much of Brook’s career moves, but that’s exactly why the Englishman deserves credit from the rest of us. Anyone who follows boxing for what goes on in the ring rather than what goes on inside someone’s bank account has to like what he or she sees in the Sheffield native.
That’s why Brook should still be respected, even if he loses on Saturday, which I suspect he will. If Spence wins, as many believe, there will be people out there criticizing Brook for “stupidly” dropping weight to defend his crown against a young pit bull (after taking serious damage in his last fight, no less). Such criticism will be – for lack of a better word – bullshit. Who knows, though? Maybe it’s Spence who will be criticized after the fight for acting “stupidly.” People will always point the finger at someone, after all, and there’s no guarantee Brook won’t leave the ring on Saturday without his IBF title belt in tow.