Instead, he was badly injured in an alternation whilst on holiday in Spain, in which he was stabbed, and then boxed underwhelming names in Jo Jo Dan, Frankie Gavin and Kevin Bizier. Bizier was arguably the nadir, because Bizier had already been beaten by Jo Jo Dan twice and Dan had been blitzed by Brook with ease.
It was clear that Brook needed a big fight and a big name, yet Gennady Golovkin was literally big in comparison, causing a career welterweight in Brook to fight a career middleweight in Golovkin. To the surprise of really nobody, the Kazakh wrecking ball broke Brook’s eye socket, all though Brook did land some eye-catching shots along the way.
Brook is now set to go from the frying pan into the fire when he meets another unbeaten young American in Errol Spence Jr. Spence is another wrecking ball in a sense, having gained 10 knockouts from 21 fights, but he is a career welterweight. He is also a southpaw, and stopped the likes of Chris Algieri and Leonardo Bundu, tough professionals who aren’t often stopped, highlights his pedigree.
The two are set to meet in Sheffield, Brook’s hometown. It feels like a 50/50 fight, with the more experienced champion in Brook having home advantage, but Spence has the momentum and punching power to cause anyone issues.
The fight actually shows a sea change in the boxing world, as Spence is one of a few young Americans now willing to travel to the UK to win or defend a world title. Terrence Crawford and Timothy Bradley have both made the trip in recent years and 2017 will see Spence and Mayweather prospect Gervonta Davis do it as well.
Whilst it was the norm for ‘world champions’ to almost literally tour the world in the 60s, 70s and 80s, the 90s saw much fewer elite level names willing to travel to the UK to box. But the UK is now arguably the boxing capital of the world in terms of live gates and television converge, so the likes of Davis and Spence are now willing to take the risk of boxing on away soil.
For what it’s worth, I think Brook will win on points, just, in a nick and tuck fight. He may even touch the canvas at some stage. But his nous and experience will see him through. It’ll be controversial, and maybe a return fight will be made.
Whatever happens, with Brook, anything is possible.