By Scott Gilfoid: Former IBF welterweight champion Kell “Special K: Brook will be undoing left eye surgery next week to repair his broken left eye socket that he sustained in his 11th round TKO loss to American Errol Spence Jr. (22-0, 19 KOs) on May 27 at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England. Brook suffered a fractured left orbital bone in the loss. Brook will be out of the ring for a prolonged period of time recovering from the surgery.
The injury is a double whammy for the career of Brook, who suffered a broken right eye socket injury in his loss last year to IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. That injury required surgery to repair. The eye held up fine during the Spence fight. It was the left eye that was the problem this time.
Brook, 31, voluntarily took a knee in rounds 10 and 11 in what appeared to be moves by him to escape heavy bombardment of punches he was taking from the 27-year-old Spence. Brook wasn’t getting hit with head shots, however. Spence was putting most of his attention to throwing body punches that he would wind up on. Brook seemed to be in distress more from the continued body attack from Spence than he was from his eye injury.
Brook’s trainer Dominic Ingle said after the fight that Spence’s body shots weren’t giving him problems, and that they had trained to take hard shots to the midsection. Ingle wasn’t the one taking the body shots though. It was Brook, and he looked uncomfortable with them. It’s quite possible that Brook wasn’t able to absorb the sustained body shots, and that he might have needed to get out of the fight at some point due to him wearing down.
Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn says he’ll be moving up to 154 once he recovers from his surgery and resumes his boxing career. Hearn wants Brook to fight Amir Khan at junior middleweight. If they can’t get that fight, then they’ll look to get a title shot against one of the champions. It could be tough on BBrook to fight for a world title straight back from the injury. Brook might need a confidence booster type of opponent or someone without much power. Khan would be perfect for Brook.
“Kell Brook, I was kind of disappointed by some of the scorecards,” said Hearn to IFL TV. “I think one had Spence 5 up, another 3 rounds up. We had him 1 round up, about to go way up after round 11. But Kell was not going to win the fight from there. When you can’t see and have double vision, you know the injury can also take your sight away for life. Do you go out there and try and make it worse or you go out on your shield and get knocked out or do you know enough, enough, I’m not going to win this fight.”
Brook had good luck with his eye surgery on his right eye. That eye held up perfectly against Spence. It was strengthened by a titanium plate the surgeon inserted into the eye.
Brook fought well in rounds 1-6. Things steadily went downhill following the 7th round, which is when Brook says he suffered the injury. Brook started to shown signs of having an eye injury in the 8th. That’s when his left eye started to swell. It’s unclear whether Brook knows for sure when the injury occurred or not. He might be just guessing about when he thinks the eye was injured. Never the less, Brook started to struggle in the 7th, and from that point on, it was all Spence. Brook had his moments in rounds 7 to 11, but Spence was the one that was in command of those rounds. There’s no question that Brook appeared to be injured in the 8th, and not the 7th like he maintains. Brook didn’t start to show signs of swelling around his left eye until the 8th.
It could be that Brook’s struggles to make the 147-pound limit was the cause of him starting to lose momentum in the fight with Spence beginning in the 5th. They eye injury that Brook sustained is only one piece in the puzzle for why he lost the fight to Spence. That wasn’t the whole reason though. Brook was already starting to come unraveled in the 5th. The eye injury only worsened Brook’s problems.
“I got caught on the left eye in the seventh, and it felt really bad,” Brook said after the Spence fight. “It was the one the worst feelings I ever had — kind of like when GGG hit me and fractured my orbital bone. It was devastating. I just couldn’t see,” said Brook to ESPN.com.
A lot of the boxing fans think Brook quit by him not staying in there to the end of the fight. By Brook taking some boxing fans think he was quitting. Some fans already felt that Brook quit in the 5th round of his fight against Gennady “GGG” Golovkin last September. Without warning, Brook stopped punching in the 5th round, and he took a number of concussive shots from GGG until his trainer Dominic Ingle threw in the towel to keep him from getting knocked out. That’s obviously what would have happened if Ingle hadn’t thrown in the towel. Brook didn’t take a knee in that fight.
Brook has said nothing about wanting a rematch with Spence at 154. Perhaps Brook feels that Spence has his number. Brook gave Carson Jones a rematch after beating him by a controversial 12 round decision in 2012, but it doesn’t look like he’s interested in fighting Spence ever again.
“I know Kell Brook is not a quitter,” said Hearn. “If he was, he wouldn’t have taken the Errol Spence fight. He would have just moved up and taken an easy fight for a lot of money. I knew he wanted to win the fight. Right now, he’s at a low point, because he’s devastated that he lost his title and that people have suggested that he’s a quitter. He definitely isn’t a quitter. He’s a tough kid. This meant a lot to him. We know he was beaten, and he made that decision. Who knows what he could have done. He could have saved his career with that decision. If he had made it to the end of the round, I would have 100 percent been screaming to pull him out of the fight. You get to the point where you can’t win, I feel like the corners sometimes lets the fights go on too long, when you can’t win. We’ve seen fighters get injured in the past when corners have let fights go on too long. Can you win the fight from here? No, done, out. Why take unnecessary punishment? This is a tough sport. There’s no quit in him. If you’re a quitter, then don’t become a fighter. So I’m a bit disappointed by some of the comments,” said Hearn.
Spence will be making his first defense of his IBF belt in September in Dallas, Texas. It’ll be a voluntary defense for Spence. He wants to fight a unification against either Keith Thurman or Manny Pacquiao, but the chances of either of those fights taking place at unlikely.
“Hopefully I can have a homecoming in Dallas, maybe in September sometime,” Spence said via ESPN.com. “I’ve got to talk to my manager [Al Haymon].”