By Scott Gilfoid: Former WBC light welterweight champion Junior Witter wonders whether Kell Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) has some kind of bone weakness in his face that causes him to suffer broken eye sockets following his 11th round TKO loss to unbeaten American Errol Spence Jr. (22-0, 19 KOs) last Saturday night at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England.
This was the second consecutive fight in which the 31-year-old Brook suffered a broken eye socket. The injuries could just be a freak thing and not an indication of a bone problem. Maybe Brook was just unlucky. We’ll probably never know for sure unless he suffers a third eye injury in the near future.
Brook broke left eye socket in the Spence fight. In the fight before that, Brook suffered a broken right eye socket against IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin on September 10 last year. Witter can understand why Brook was injured in the GGG fight, because the Kazakhstan fighter has major power, but he doesn’t understand how the same kind of injury would occur against Spence, who isn’t a guy with one-punch power. Witter thinks it might be a good time for Brook to retire from boxing.
Brook hasn’t hinted at retiring from the sport. On the contrary, he’s talking about wanting to move up to 154. Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn is talking of wanting to match him against Amir Khan after the two fighters take a tune-up fight first. Whether that would be a cash out fight for Brook to take before retiring is the big question. Certainly, another eye injury for Brook in that fight might lead to him retiring from the sport.
“I don’t know anybody in boxing who has had both eye sockets broken. What’s worrying is that Golovkin is a hard puncher and maybe it’s not perhaps that surprising what damage he did,” said Witter to thestar. “ But Spence is not a single, heavy puncher, he doesn’t do it with one punch, it’s more pressure, yet he broke Kell’s socket. Does this suggest there is some kind of (bone) weakness?”
Brook is going to be out of the ring for a while after the surgery on left eye socket. We’re probably not going to see Brook back inside the ring until early 2018 at the earliest.
I don’t think Witter understands how hard of a puncher Spence is. We’re talking about a talent with an 86% knockout percentage in his 5-year pro career. You don’t get a knockout percentage like that if you can’t punch. The guys that Spence have been knocking out recently, Leonard Bundu and Chris Algieri, they were never knocked out before. Brook says he think he suffered the eye injury in round 7. I think the injury occurred in round 8 after Spence hit Brook with some tremendous shots to the head.
Spence wound up from his waist to throw those punches. He got everything into them. Moments later, Brook was dabbing at his left eye. Those shots were monstrous. With that said, it is unheard of for a fighter to suffer broken eye sockets in back to back fights involving different eye sockets. You have to wonder whether Brook has a weakness with his eye sockets. But if Brook did have weak eye sockets, then why wasn’t this problem exposed earlier in his career. Was it because Brook’s opposition has been mostly poor that he was able to go this far in his career without suffering eye injuries, or is this just a case of Brook fighting guys with massive power that can break bones? I think it’s more the later.
Spence and Golovkin are huge punchers. Witter might not realize how hard these guys can punch. I’d like to see how long Witter would last against Spence. I don’t think Witter last long, even a prime Witter. I think Spence would take him out quickly with body shots. Witter was good at making guys miss with his head movement. That wouldn’t help Witter against a guy like Spence, because he throws a lot of body shots, and Witter would not be able to get out of the way of those punches.
“I say he’s been lucky that he hasn’t had worse injuries and I think he should retire because that luck has got to run out,” said Witter about Brook. ”I’m pretty sure his parents and his partner and others in his family are going to say: ‘Right you have had a great career, you’ve been world champion, you’ve done it.”
I don’t know if Brook should retire just yet. He should at least fight Amir Khan before he retires from boxing. I do think it’s the wrong move for Brook to move up to 154 following another eye injury. If Brook thinks he was gassing out because of his problems making weight last Saturday night, then perhaps it might be a good move for him to move to 154. I suspect that Brook will have stamina issues at that weight class as well depending on who he fights. If Brook faces a pressure fighter like Liam Williams, Jarrett Hurd or Liam Smith, he’s going to be forced to fight at a fast pace for a full three minutes of every round.
I can see Brook gassing out against those guys for sure. But I don’t see Brook facing any of those guys too soon. He’s likely going to take a soft opponent in his next fight when he steps up to 154, because it’s too dangerous for him to fight someone marginally good in his first fight up. I’m not high on Liam Smith and Liam Williams, but they’re still dangerous fighters for a guy like Brook, given the recent eye injuries he’s been sustaining.
There’s likely too much money for Brook to make for him to seriously consider retirement right now. A fight against Amir Khan is going to give Brook a career high payday. It’s a winnable fight for Brook that would end his 2-fight losing streak if he takes that fight next. The problem is, Brook would still be in for it when he faces a quality fighter at 154. Yeah, Brook can probably beat Khan 7 days a week, but that’s not going to help him when/if he gets inside the ring with a talent like Jermell Charlo.
I can see Brook running out of gas just like he did against Spence and taking a knee when the going gets tough. It could be that Brook is just a 6-round fighter in terms of his stamina. There are plenty of fighters like that in the sport. Look at Billy Joe Saunders. He’s a good fighter for 6 rounds, but then he totally gassed out in the second half of his fights. Of course, Saunders isn’t suffering eye injuries left and right like Brook, and he’s not fighting super talented guys in back to back fights.
Brook needs to get through his surgery on his left eye, heal up, and then decide whether he wants to continue his boxing career. What I don’t like is how Brook said that he was thinking about his previous eye surgery during the Spence fight. I don’t think that’s a good sign. If Brook is thinking about surgery, he might not be willing to fight it out in the future when the going gets tough. If Brook is going to be thinking about his eyes all the time, then it’s probably a good time for him to get out of boxing now.