Kell Brook left no doubt, if anyone had any, about his status as Britain's best welterweight, easily defeating Matthew Hatton in Sheffield. Brook won on unanimous decision scores of 119-107, 119-108, and 118-109. Bad Left Hook scored it 119-108.
Brook (27-0, 18 KO) started fast and really never looked back, and if there is any complaint about his performance whatsoever, it would be that he seemed to peak in the middle rounds, about rounds four through six, before sort of cruising to the finish line. He still only lost two rounds if you're as nice as possible, and completely bossed the entire fight.
One factor that allowed Hatton (42-6-2, 16 KO) to survive the distance was the clinch, which he began to use more and more as the fight went on. Down the stretch, he was definitely doing more surviving than fighting, though he did have moments along the way.
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Though Brook didn't get the stoppage he wanted, part of that was Hatton's ability to take good shots (he went down once in the fight, but due to balance rather than a clean blow landing) and Hatton's knowledge and savvy, which allowed him to avoid being knocked out. Brook accepted that, in some ways, and didn't get reckless simply to impress anyone.
The 10,000-srong crowd in Sheffield was treated to a strong performance from the hometown fighter, who now hopefully can move on to a legitimate big fight. With all due respect to Matthew Hatton, it's not as if we're really talking about a top 10 or even top 15 welterweight. Brook needs that next step, but as we've said repeatedly, and said in the fight preview, he's just sort of stuck. The makeup of the welterweight division is odd -- for as much press as it gets, that's almost entirely due to two guys who won't fight each other and frankly don't even fight real welterweights all that often. Brook and Mike Jones have both been on a treadmill for a while now, continually beating the same class of fighter.
In terms of talent, Brook is the real deal. It's a question of how real said deal is, though. I'm not 100% sold on him as a future star, but he's got the goods to become a contender. The intangibles are the key now -- what's he got when truly tested by someone who isn't overwhelmed by his skill level? We won't know until we know.
Stick around with Bad Left Hook, as started in just under two hours will be our live coverage of Sergio Martinez vs Matthew Macklin from New York City, live on HBO and Sky Sports.