By George Ogier
“Kell Brook is going to wake up bruised and battered on Sunday morning with egg on his face”
The only part of Kell Brook that would have been bruised and battered on Sunday morning are his hands. Brook dished out a systematic beating on Saturday night at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena. The recipient? Matthew Hatton.
Genuine Matthew Hatton supporters were thin on the ground ahead of Saturday’s sell-out clash. Even more rare were people who gave Hatton a realistic chance of beating one of British boxing’s golden boys, Kell Brook.
Brook’s promoter, Eddie Hearn said that he was scared ahead of the contest. Scared of what, I am not sure. Perhaps it was a fear of 10,000 angry fans bellowing their disappointment at another divisive Kell Brook performance. In the end it was a worry free evening on all counts.
The majority of onlookers had Brook winning every round and he bullied Hatton around the ring for the duration of the fight. As expected, the Manchester man proved an obdurate opponent but disappointingly Hatton seemed more concerned with survival than taking the fight to Sheffield’s Brook.
Hatton took the result with a not always customary good grace, “Kell broke my nose in the first round and I didn’t think things could get any worse. I was wrong about that”.
It was nice to see Matthew being so gracious about an opponent. Whilst it was hard for him to be anything other than magnanimous, Hatton has a history of making post-fight excuses. After this contest however there was no hiding from what had taken place in the ring.
“He [Brook] is like all good fighters. You watch them on tape and you think you can exploit their weaknesses. Getting in there and doing it is another thing. He has a fantastic jab. It felt like there was a magnet in his glove attached to my nose. He couldn’t miss”.
Hatton appeared keen to bring some levity to the post-fight press conference on arrival, “I’m not sitting next to him [Brook], I’ve seen enough of him”. The quip was met with smiles from both boxers and served to changed the topic of conversation. Up until that point, the conference been dominated by one name, Amir Khan.
Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn described the first five or six rounds as “one of the most clinical boxing performances I’ve seen in a long time”. It did not take long however for Hearn to start fielding questions about a possible fight with Khan.
Asked how easy it would be to make the contest happen Hearn responded, “we’ve just sold 10,000 tickets. We’d sell 40,000 for a Khan fight. I love the pound note and so does Amir, I’d even throw in a lesson on promoting”.
Kell Brook but left no one in any doubt as to his thoughts on the result of that bout were it to happen, “of course I want Khan. He [Khan] said if he had to fight in Britain he’d fight Matthew as he thought Matthew was the better fighter. Now I’ve beaten Matthew he’s got nowhere else to go, I’m doing my own thing. If that fight happens, it happens. I’d smash him.”.
It seems clear then that Kell Brook has concrete ideas about where his future lies. It all seemed a little cloudier however when Hatton was quizzed about his own prospects. Matthew was asked if he thought his future lay in challenging for the British title, “this is a setback. It is still my ambition to become a world champion. There’s still good fights out there for me. As far as I know I am still the mandatory challenger for the European title”.
Hatton may well believe that his talents deserve a bigger stage but fighting for the Lonsdale belt might not be such a bad idea. The Manchester man has lost his two defining fights quite comprehensively. If Hatton still has the heart to continue boxing then the British title could be an ideal way to start. It is a title he has not held before and would cement Hatton’s claim to be the second best welterweight in Britain, behind Brook.
For Kell Brook the picture is clear. It is now time to step up and challenge himself against some of the best 147lb fighters on the planet. Names like Devon Alexander and Marcos Maidana have been mentioned. Sadly though, so have names like Paulie Malignaggi and Shane Mosley.
Brook would gain little by fighting either Mosley or Malignaggi and his promotional team must tread carefully. We hear so much now about Brook’s ability and his future greatness. To fight a faded “name” would bring more accusations of protection.
The insular nature of British boxing means that Brook’s boxing career has so far existed in a bubble. It is time for Eddie Hearn to burst that bubble and drive Kell Brook on to the next stage of a possibly glittering career.