Kell Brook enjoyed his moment. When coach Dominic Engel raised him high, he let out a touching shriek in the ear. Beating Amir Khan meant more than just winning a world title, beating Amir Khan, to Brooke, meant everything.
With both of them now 35 years old, this always seemed like a battle of who had left. Brock slowed down, but still seemed solid and had his timing. Khan, on the back of a two-and-a-half-year layoff, appeared to be done. He shook in the first round and looked booked for defeat after that.
However, Khan was not discouraged and never gave up. In the last two rounds, he received a steady blow from Brock until referee Victor Loughlin called to the finish.
The rivalry began in my teens. Once they were part of the same Young England team, but by the age of 18, Khan had taken an Olympic silver medal and was a millionaire. Brooke believes he had Khan’s number based on their sparring sessions, but the more he called Khan, the more desperate he became, the more Khan enjoyed keeping him at arm’s length.
The prime time that Khan and Brooke met was 2016. Khan was big in America at the time, making headlines in Las Vegas multiple times, while Brooke was the welterweight champion of the IFL.
However, Khan had his own infatuation, which was a fight with Floyd Mayweather and after a recent disdain, Khan made an offer to move up to the middleweight to take on Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. I got out of the cold. Brock easily fought a crazy middleweight fight against Gennady Golovkin and broke his eye socket. It wasn’t the same again.
Six years later, and now 35, they both had their own set of questions to answer. Did Khan, who has been idle for two and a half years, have any of the ferocious hand speed that has propelled him throughout his career? How far did Brock, having pulled out against Terence Crawford in his last fight in 2020, even longtime coach Dominic Engel, decided not to participate?
And while they both looked fine when weighed down, looks are often deceiving.
The fight was conducted with a hunting weight of 10,7 pounds (149 lbs), two pounds above the welterweight limit that Brock had struggled with for years. He weighed a half pound inside at the scale, although he was expected to be two pieces higher by the time he entered the ring.
This entry was postponed after a last-minute dispute over the gloves, a dispute apparently lost by Brock, as he appeared wearing a pair of Khan’s choice of Grant’s gloves. Both of them, despite the man’s big fights, seemed unusually anxious.
Brooke got a worthwhile first fight hit, but Khan went through a bunch of hits that Brooke was covering up.
Then Brock passed a straight line to the left and Kahn wiggled, his legs seeming to have disappeared beneath him as Brock tried to continue. Khan’s instinct was to resist and he exchanged shots, but when Brock landed again, it was Khan who had unsteady legs and the pair grabbed the bell.
Khan came out strong for the second, as the left and right punches landed over the top. Brooke waited for his time and when Brooke passed by a left hook, Khan shrugged his shoulders and fired. There was no warning from either of them, and as the second round ended, they both gave each other a nod, the first sign of respect from the pair in years.
Brock waited again to pounce at 3 and when Khan got a good right, he opened up, leaving way for Brock to shoot. Kabir Khan’s yamin shook on his shoes and covered up for the first time. This time Brooke was chasing him banging away while Khan was trying to grab Khan and throw him to the floor at the bell.
Khan’s attacks seemed more brutal than at their peak, Brock seemed slower but not as weak as some had feared. Brock cruised past Khan at the start of the fourth round. He waited to pounce, and when the warning came for ten seconds, he got another good right that Khan was looking forward to holding onto again.
At the start of the fifth round, Khan appeared to be in complete decline. Brock was chasing after him, landing a short right hook and then massive down the middle. Khan took a lot, but there is nothing left. He took time to sit in his chair but was sent back.
At the start of the sixth round, Brock went to the finish. Khan tried to hold out but there was no escape, and when he got back in the ropes, referee Victor Loughlin came to Khan’s rescue.
Brooke will think he has more. Khan, sure, no.
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was a boxing reporter for The Times, where he worked from 2001 to 2019 – covering four Olympics and many world title fights around the world. He has written about boxing for a variety of publications around the world since the 1980s.
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