By: Sean Crose
It’s been a long time since Kell Brook was last seen in the ring. In fact, it will have been well over a year since the Englishman fought professionally when he returns this Saturday to face Mark DeLuca in Sheffield. Brook, who has essentially fallen off the radar of the boxing public since dropping two fights in a row to top notch competition, is making a comeback of sorts, one which he hopes will catapult him back to the top of the fight game. “This last chapter of my career, I’m giving it my all,” The BBC quotes Brook as saying. “If I get beaten I can walk away with my head high, knowing I have given everything.”
The now 33 year old former champion has had quite the ride for himself. In 2014, Brook came to America and took the IBF world welterweight title from then undefeated champion Shawn Porter. He then went on to win three in a row against competition that was argued in some quarters to be lacking. As if to prove the naysayers wrong, Brook subsequently moved up two divisions to middleweight to face the feared Gennady Golovkin for Golovkin’s WBC and IBF world titles.
It was a grueling fight, one which Brook performed quite well in. Golovkin, however, ultimately proved to be too much and Brook’s corner stopped the bout in round five. In his next battle, Brook faced rising American star Errol Spence Jr back at welterweight. It was a terrific battle against top level competition. Again, however, Brook came up short, losing his IBF world welterweight title to the young Texan in the eleventh. There were two more fights after that – and then the layoff from which Brook now returns from. According to the BBC, Brook was distraught enough at the loss of his title to Spence to turn to counseling.
Now in a better place, the 38-2 Brook has been preparing to face Massachusetts southpaw DeLuca in a scheduled 12 round super welterweight affair before a hometown crowd at Sheffield Arena this weekend. Although it would be a considerable upset if DeLuca won, Brook is undoubtedly aware of the fact that he must be impressive if he wants to once again be looked upon as performing at the top of this game. His nickname, after all, is Special K, not Ordinary K. “My last fight wasn’t fantastic,” Brook is quoted by Sky Sports as saying. “I’ve got a lot to prove. All those who think I’m past it? I’ll show them.”
One of the more interesting things about Brook is that he’s a fighter who, even when he was a world champion, challenged himself. Contemporary boxers are forever being criticized for not daring to be great. Brook dared to be great when he faced Golovkin, then went back down to his own weight realm and faced perhaps the hottest rising star in the sport. He may have lost both fights, but he performed very strongly in each one. It’s enough to make a fan hope Brook gets another shot at glory.
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