Kell Brook had a lot of questions still, namely about how he might handle a fighter who could press him. Early on today in Sheffield against Carson Jones, it appeared as though Brook would just outclass the American visitor. But the second half of the fight became a test the likes of which Brook had not yet seen in the pro ranks, and the home fighter had to survive to edge a majority decision on scores of 116-113, 115-113, and 114-114. Bad Left Hook scored it 114-114.
[ Undercard: Rees Stops Mathews in Nine ]
Brook (28-0, 18 KO) definitely got the tough test that he needed at this stage of his career, and the incredibly tough Jones (34-9-2, 24 KO) backed up his own trash talk, as well as the claims of those who said he was better than his incoming record looked, trying to convince Brook supporters that their man definitely wasn't going to be in an easy fight this time out.
In the opening few rounds, Brook was able to use superior speed and great footwork to keep Jones from doing much at all. In fact, in the first round, Jones did nothing, feeling Brook out and really not even throwing punches, let alone landing any. In the end, one has to wonder if Jones doesn't wish he'd started faster than he did. It helped him get a read on Brook, but he also basically gave at least one round away by choice, and if he'd won the opening round, we'd be talking about a draw here.
But you can't put the shit back in the donkey, as they say, and it's over now. Jones picked it up big-time in the middle rounds, and bloodied Brook's nose to the point that there's almost no doubt it was broken. Jones began to physically dominate the fight, but Brook also showed a massive fighter's heart, staying in it though he was visibly exhausted and being deeply troubled by the relentless pressure tactics of Jones.
In my mind, it's a fight where both guys come out better than they were going in. I'm sure some are going to say, "Well, Brook struggled with Jones, so he's not ready." But who isn't he ready for? Mayweather and Manny? That was a given and nothing he could have done today would have changed that. Apart from the two big dogs, the welterweight division is wide open right now, and I think he's got the goods to beat anyone else at 147 pounds.
I also feel both of these guys are going to be factors in the coming years. They're both still young (Brook 26, Jones 25) and showed a lot today. It was one hell of a fight, and we learned a lot about both guys.
Our big day of live coverage continues here with Klitschko vs Thompson II.