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Did Kell Brook quit against Spence?

Image: Did Kell Brook quit against Spence?

By Scott Gilfoid: One question that has been heavily debated by fans ever since last Saturday night is whether Kell Brook quit after taking a knee in the 11th round last Saturday night against Errol Spence Jr? It looked like Brook chose to quit rather than continue fighting and go out on his shield the way that many of the fighters in the past have done. Brook, 31, had suffered an eye injury to his left eye at some point in the second half of the fight.

It was later discovered that Brook’s left eye socket had been fractured. However, it wasn’t known at the time. The only thing that was obvious was Brook was doing a lot of squinting and blinking out of his injured left eye. There’s confusion in which round Brook suffered the injury, but it doesn’t really matters. The large pro-Brook crowd wanted him to continue fighting. Going out on a knee instead of being knocked out in the traditional manner is what has some boxing fans saying that Brook quit in the 11th round. Those fans wanted to see Brook battle until he had nothing left. Brook chose to take a knee in the 11th without getting hit.

Brook looked like he still had some fight left in him at the time. Could he have gotten back up and swung for the fences to try and get lucky with a big homerun punch. In the previous round, Brook had landed a big uppercut to the head of Spence in the 10th that had gotten him to take a step back for a second. The punch didn’t hurt Spence, but it got him to back off long enough for Brook to escape the round. Earlier in the round, Brook had taken a knee to escape the shots that Spence had been hammering him with against the ropes.

Brook was fighting in front of a large crowd of his supporters last Saturday at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England. Things were going pretty well for Brook until he started to take punishment in the 8th round from the body attack from the unbeaten Spence (22-0, 19 KOs). Things would have worked out well for Brook, 31, if the fight had been 8 rounder rather than 12 rounds, but he had no choice in the matter. He was the IBF welterweight champion and he needed to defend his IBF title.

Brook lost to Gennady Golovkin by a 5th round TKO last September after suffering a fractured right eye socket. It was the same kind of injury that he sustained last Saturday in the Spence fight.

“When I got caught in the 11th it (his eye) wouldn’t come back into line. It actually stayed there and it was coming on strong and I knew that I couldn’t see and I knew he is a very sharp shooter – a very good fighter, Errol Spence Jr., and I knew that it could be fatal with some of the shots he was chucking,” said Brook to skysports.com.

It sounds like Brook is saying that he was concerned enough about his injured left eye in the 11th round that he decided to it was better to fight another day by him quitting rather than continuing until the bitter end. There’s no shame in Brook quitting. It’s just we didn’t hear him say he had quit. There’s some that think that Brook got the count mixed up or that he was badly hurt and couldn’t get up, even though he had gone down on one knee without getting hit.

Brook popped to his feet just as the referee was finishing the 10 count. Does that mean Brook quit? It’s hard to tell for sure if Brook quit. It would be good to know because if we see similar situations like this in the future, we can say he was hurt or he quit. It’s no big deal if Brook quit. I’m sure that a lot of fighters would have quit if they were in a similar situation. Some fighters would continue though.

We know that Brook didn’t quit in the 10th round when he was taking a vicious beating from Spence. That would have been the time for Brook to quit the fight. As hurt as Brook was at the time, he could have quit at that time and nobody would have ragged on him for taking the easy way out of the fight. But instead of quitting, Brook got back to his feet after he took a knee in the round, and he turned around and finished the round in good shape by taking the fight to Spence for a brief amount of time.

To be sure, Brook didn’t do enough for him to win the round. Spence had won the round based on his knockdown of Brook and the huge amount of punishment he’d dished out in the ring. Brook wasn’t exactly fighting smart at the time though. He should have been using his boxing skills and movement to negate Spence’s attack. The rule of thumb is when you’re hurt and taking a beating, you’re supposed to fight smart by tying up your opponent or using movement to get out of the ring.

It’s not always smart to try ad fight back. Brook was doing it the hard way, which made me think he was playing to the large boxing crowd. Unlike in Brook’s previous fight against Golovkin in which he stopped punching in the 5th round and had to be pulled out of the fight, it looked like was going to go out in a blazing glory by fighting tooth and nail until he was knocked out. I don’t know what happened to brook to take a knee in the 11th round and not get back up not long after he took some heavy shots from Spence.

“There were many things going through my mind but I remember thinking I live to fight another day,” said Brook.

That sounds to me like Brook was thinking about his safety with that comment, which is fine. Only Brook knows how he felt. If he decided that he wanted to “fight another day,” then it was alright for him to get out of the fight the way he did. With Brook thinking about wanting to fight another day, it’s starting to make sense way Brook didn’t get back to his feet to resume fighting.

The outcome of the Brook-Spence fight sends the two fighters in different directions. Brook is coming upwards perhaps to superstardom in the next future with his boxing career. With Brook, he’s got a lot of unknowns about his career starting with his surgery on his injured left eye. We have to hope the surgery is a success.

From there, Brook will be hitting the reset button on his boxing career by moving up to 154 and seeing if he can find success in a division that is arguably loaded with more than the one that Brook is leaving at 147. On paper, it doesn’t seem like a bright move for Brook to leave the 147-pound division to move up to 154 to fight bigger and stronger fighters than himself. If Brook didn’t have two consecutive fights in which he suffered broken eye sockets, then I would be in favor of him fighting in the junior middleweight division.

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