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Kell Brook: Point Made

Image: Kell Brook: Point Made

By Adam Foy: In front of a predictably electric crowd in Manchester’s AO Arena, Kell brook surprised many of the pundits by dominating Amir Khan in a six round stoppage victory.

This is a fight that had been excruciatingly long in the making and the two men have been trading insults for over a decade, so it is perhaps no surprise that the mind games continued right up until the final moment when Amir Khan’s team noticed that Brook was wearing ‘Horse-hair gloves’; a puncher’s glove that further exposes the knuckles. As it had been contractually agreed beforehand that both fighters would wear foam-padded gloves, Brook was forced to quickly change them and this caused a fifteen-minute delay.

If anything this raised the tension of the 20,000+ in attendance and by the time Michael Buffer let rip with his legendary ‘Let’s get ready to Rumble!!!’, everyone was locked in.

The fighters were called to the middle to listen to their final instructions from the referee, and Khan bounced on his toes as Victor Loughran threw in a “God bless” for good measure and insisted that the two touch gloves. Brook, however, was completely still, not taking his eyes off Khan for a second.

Image: Kell Brook: Point Made

This watchfulness would continue throughout the night and ultimately lead to the vindication Kell had been seeking for years, but for the first minute and a half, Khan looked quite sharp, landing grazing jabs and hooks, and generally forcing Kell into a fairly defensive position, though even at this stage, the Sheffield man was always careful to only give up as much ground as was necessary, forcing Khan to work and move, and just before the two-minute mark, Brook landed a long, straight right hand that changed the entire night in less than a second.

The infamous sugar-glass chin of the Olympic silver medallist had been severely cracked in the first round, and though Khan somehow managed to stay upright, he would never truly recover.

What followed was as brave and as stubborn a performance as you’re likely to see from Khan, who did end the fight on his feet and should be commended for his resistance, because this was a beating.

For the next five rounds, Kell was relentless in the way he stalked his target and Amir never got a chance to breathe.

In a perfect world, Brook would have used the jab to set up his shots a little more, which may well have led to the clean knockout that most of his supporters were expecting, but he must still be lauded for the composure and focus he showed throughout this fight, which allowed him to impose his natural style of consistent timing and pressure on Khan, steadily breaking him down until Loughran jumped in with a well-timed mercy stoppage in the 6th round.

I could talk more about individual moments in the fight; Khan landing clean on brook’s chin and Brook’s lack of reaction or Brook’s clever tying up of Khan in important moments, but the real story of the fight was Brook’s incredible timing vs Khan’s fragility.

In future discussions, it will almost certainly be suggested that Khan was a spent force coming into this fight, and yes, he certainly seemed to lack the explosiveness and sheer hand speed of his early career, yet similar slights were aimed firmly at Brook in the build-up to the fight and I would argue that Brook has seen just as much wear and tear throughout his career, so I personally believe that this fight would always have gone the same way.

In the end, it was hard not to feel happy for Kell, as he skipped gleefully into Daddy’s, I mean Dominic Ingle’s arms, after finally making the point he had trying to make for years, and that both fighters were equally gracious in defeat and victory has to be a satisfying conclusion for most boxing fans.

It is clear by this point that Khan should retire. His career has been fantastic, but it’s obvious in hindsight that this fight was at least one too many.

Brook on the other hand has presented himself as a real test for up-and-coming fighters such as Connor Benn, and most of us would like to see that fight.

Image: Kell Brook: Point Made

It is hard to see what Kell would benefit from that though and this would seem an ideal opportunity for him to ride off into the sunset.

Whatever the future for either man, they’ve both surely earned their legacy and probably deserve a bit of chill time.

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