Kell Brook rolls dice again as British boxing’s great survivor fights on. Brook meets WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford in Las Vegas on Saturday

10-11-2020 01:31 PM

Ammon News - Kell Brook has titanium plates in both cheeks, he nearly lost a leg in a machete attack, he won the British title in 2008 and this Saturday he fights Terence Crawford, arguably the best boxer in the world, inside a bubble at the MGM in Las Vegas. And, he was paid less than 300 quid for his debut back in 2004.

Ezekiel Brook is part of the British boxing furniture, a long and seasoned survivor in the dirty old game.

The machete attack in 2014 remains a bloody and violent mystery, an end to a dark night best forgotten, but the titanium plates are the end result of two savage fights in the ring, nights when Brook dared to be great. He has fought 41 times, lost just the twice, won a world title against the odds in America – a fight that is oddly and unfairly neglected when people talk about great wins by British boxers - and he is still only 34.

“I have never done things the easy way and never had things easy,” said Brook, who is in Las Vegas now, due to enter the final days of bubble life before the Crawford fight on Saturday. Crawford is unbeaten in 36 fights, a champion at three weights, cold and calculating in the ring; he was also a victim of street violence and was shot in the neck at the end of a 3am gambling session. The pair can compare scars during the boring hours of forced isolation in one of the MGM's satellite outposts.

Crawford is just a year younger than Brook, he first won the lightweight world title in 2014, added the light-welterweight version the following year and completed his move through the weights in 2018 when he won the WBO welterweight title. Brook will be his fourth defence, his 14th consecutive world title fight. Last April in New York, Crawford overwhelmed Amir Khan in six rounds at Madison Square Garden. Khan seemed shocked and I have noticed that with a lot of Crawford's victims; he is bigger, stronger, faster and hits harder than people imagine. Four of his last five opponents, all stopped, had previously never lost. He persuades people the old-fashioned way – he hits them on the chin to make converts.

In the summer of 2014 Brook had to travel to California to fight the IBF welterweight champion, Shawn Porter, who was unbeaten in 25 fights. Brook had been a professional boxer for a decade, had won the British title six years earlier and was the underdog that night against Porter. Brook is right, he has never had a simple path, never had it easy and that will not change on Saturday night. Las Vegas is a city of miracles, of mirages and Brook will need all the magic he can find. It is also a city without a soul.


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