Should Kell Brook retire? We lists the pros and cons

Danny Flexen ponders if the time is right for Kell Brook, recently inactive, to hang up his gloves permanently

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Kell Brook
Kell Brook

As longtime rival Amir Khan boosts his bank account if not his legacy in Saudi Arabia, Kell Brook sits back and waits for a big fight of his own. And waits. While a recent retirement rumour was quickly quashed, even the Sheffield man’s promoter Eddie Hearn

that he may never fight again. We have taken the liberty of listing some pros and cons regarding the question of whether Kell Brook, who has not fought since the December win over Michael Zerafa, should hang up his gloves for good.

Pros

His defeats can be partially excused
Retire now and Brook can say, with some justification, that the pair of times he fell short were, in part, excusable. The brief but brutal setback against Gennady Golovkin saw Brook jump up two weight classes, with predictable results, while former trainer Dominic Ingle insists Kell was not 100% when he fell to Errol Spence in his next fight. Add in his problems making welterweight and breaking an eye socket, albeit the other one, for a second consecutive fight, and Brook can claim things could have been different. Carry on fighting and lose when fresh and firing, then his legacy would be tarnished.

Looks in decline
You are only as good as your last fight, apparently, and Brook looked laboured and far from his sharp best against Zerafa, who gave Kell a real tussle before dropping a wide decision that failed to tell the whole story. Under a relatively new trainer in John Fewkes, even if Brook still has ‘it’, the relationship between mentor and mentee takes time to develop. That is the one thing Brook does not appear to have.

Motivation is waning
Brook was rumoured to be out this summer on a Matchroom undercard but Hearn said at the time “Special K” could not motivate himself for anything other than a major contest, something the promoter reiterated when questioning Brook’s future this week. Not only does this put pressure on Hearn to deliver, but the Khan fight looks decreasingly likely, there is a lack of available big names at welterweight right now and at 154lbs – which may be Kell’s best weight in 2019 – there is a lack of big names, period. And the longer Brook remains on the shelf, because he only wants high-profile bouts, the more his skills will become rusty.

Cons

Money doesn’t grow on trees
Brook has pocketed a few large purses during his career, against Golovkin most notably, but has not had a run of lucrative engagements and has a young family to support. While never advisable to keep boxing purely for the cash, Brook may well wish to have two-three more pocket-filling punch-ups to secure his future.

Lacks a defining victory
The best fighters Brook has fought both beat him. His best win is a close one over Shawn Porter, a world-class fighter and current WBC champion, but also someone who was subsequently beaten by Keith Thurman and seriously troubled by Yordenis Ugas. That is not the marquee win which will ensure Brook is remembered long after his retirement. An unremarkable IBF reign was ended by Spence and Brook must yearn for that big name on his record, without the accompanying L.

Khan gets the last laugh
Brook is surely loath to let his arch nemesis ‘win’ their feud. He will probably never get to prove his perceived superiority in the ring, but Kell can take a moral victory by using what’s left of his career to match or surpass what Khan has achieved, while the Bolton man takes lesser matches and/or continues to decline himself. Retire now and Khan can boast a lot more money, the greater notoriety and the superior career. That would niggle at the Yorkshireman long after that final bell rings.

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