Kell Brook admitted to being “haunted” by the Amir Khan fight for a majority of his career, but on Saturday night the “Special One” laid those demons to rest with a clinical display of accuracy, aggression and spite.
Boiling himself down to 149lbs looked to be the hardest challenge of this weekend for Brook, with the Sheffield fighter looking dry on the scales on Friday afternoon, giving himself half a pound of breathing space in a middle-finger-show-of-defiance to Khan’s stipulations.
The opening piano notes of “All of the Lights” tinkled out across the packed out Manchester Arena and within half an hour we had an answer to the argument that has preoccupied British boxing for close to two decades: Kell Brook.
Brook was dominant from first bell to last until referee Victor Loughlin called a halt to proceedings and now, the 35-year-old who was on the verge of retirement has his name in the mouth of other British fighters such as Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn as they look for a lucrative payday.
Brook will find it tough to hang them up after experiencing the highs of Saturday night, but should know – in his heart – that no further night in his boxing career will eclipse that.
“And there’s the respect,” as Sky Sports’ Adam Smith would say.
Despite fleeting flurries of speedy combinations, Amir Khan looked over the hill and far away on Saturday night, but the Bolton fighter can’t be criticised in how he held himself post-fight.
After losing the crescendo to such a big rivalry it would have been easy for Khan to sneak out the back door, but he fronted up, spoke to the media and admitted that the better man won.
It’s indicative of Khan’s whole career, where he has consistently been an open book to the media despite being flung into the limelight at such a tender age.
His career may well have peaked too early – beating Marcos Maidana as a 24-year-old arguably the jewel in his professional crown – but yet, what a career.
It’s surely the end of the road for Khan, but he signed off with guts and class – oh, and another few notes in the bank.
Despite not landing that ‘breakout fight’ as of yet, you can’t fault Jaime Munguia’s activity levels.
The 25-year-old is up to 39-0 – an active unbeaten record only bettered by countryman Gilberto Ramirez – and produced the 31st stoppage win of his career against D’Mitrius Ballard this past weekend.
Golovkin, Andrade, Charlo, Adames or Murata next, please.
It’s time we gauged the level that the middleweight can operate at – he’s got plenty of time on his side as well so any setbacks won’t necessarily prove career-changing.
The Late Late Late Show
Boxing has a weird obsession of running late into the evening.
There were only a combined total of 35 rounds contested on the undercard before Khan and Brook took to the ring around 11pm, meaning a maximum of 103 minutes of action – yes, taking into account the two-minute female rounds you pedants – for a card that started at 6 pm UK time.
Listen, I’m no Buzz Killington, but there needs to be a sensible conversation around starting main event boxing bouts earlier.
No other sport deems it beneficial to start when most of the viewers are either fast asleep or pissed – or both – so why boxing?
I get that venues are keen for boozed up fight fans to pay their ≈£7.50 per pint long into the night, but it’s hard to balance that with the sounds of televisions being switched off in impatience.
I refuse to label Jake Darnell the loser here, so we’ll stick with the matchmaking on Saturday’s night’s BOXXER show.
The Lancashire heavyweight was drafted in as a late replacement to act as cannon-fodder for Olympic bronze medalist Frazer Clarke and the bout went exactly how you’d imagine it to go.
Darnell hadn’t fought professionally before Saturday and even claimed at the public workouts that he only took the fight in order to land himself a ticket for the main event...
Darnell isn’t the fall guy here. He showed balls and a willingness to take his moment in the spotlight, but fighters need to be saved from themselves if they are to insist on making these ridiculous jumps up in competition.