Kell Brook was a lost soul after losing his world title, but Amir Khan’s fight can bring back the hunger

For a man who knew nothing but winning for most of his career, Kell Brook met a murderous end as a boxer.

Special K will put their pride on the line against bitter rival Amir Khan on February 19. With no titles around his waist, that’s all he has left – and this could very well be the last time we see him in the ring.

The 35-year-old has already had the world at his feet after beating Shawn Porter in Los Angeles eight years ago to become the IBF welterweight world champion.

Kell Brook (above) faces a grudge match with former boxing rival Amir Khan on February 19

With no titles around his waist, the Khan contest is all he has left at 35 to fight

With no titles around his waist, the Khan contest is all he has left at 35 to fight

He reigned for three years before his first two career defeats – in a row – changed everything. His first loss could perhaps be seen as a challenge he was never going to win – a bridge too far as he moved up two weight classes to face the formidable Gennady Golovkin at middleweight.

He was overwhelmed, and you could discuss the damage he suffered – breaking his right eye socket – which he never really recovered from.

It became a vulnerability in his biggest ever world title defense against promising fighter Errol Spence Jr – who targeted the weak area until Brook was forced to take a knee after struggling to see out of his sight .

The referee waved the fight off after seeing Brook distressed with the issue, and results later showed he had fractured his socket for the second time.

Brook (right) has struggled with his eye in recent fights, including against Errol Spence Jr (left)

Brook (right) has struggled with his eye in recent fights, including against Errol Spence Jr (left)

The 35-year-old side also threw in the towel over a similar injury against Gennady Golovkin

The 35-year-old side also threw in the towel over a similar injury against Gennady Golovkin

Brook admitted he was ‘a lost soul’ in 2018 after those two crushing defeats, revealing battles with mental health and how he viewed retirement.

“I was really so low that I didn’t want to continue,” he told the Guardian. ‘People don’t know that. I hit rock bottom around Christmas. I remember sitting by myself thinking, ‘Nobody loves me. What have I done to myself? What have I done to the people who love me?’

“I was at home and my wife and children were out. I thought, ‘I let down people who really loved me. It was very bad. I was thinking of retiring. Things weren’t going so well at home. I was a lost soul – the lowest I’ve ever been.

Brook suffered from bouts of depression and admitted he went out drinking to cope with his mental state – and some days he couldn’t get out of bed, with no offers on the table to get back in the ring.

To add insult to injury, he was facing accusations of ‘quitting’ against Spence Jr, including from fellow fighters Tony Bellew and Chris Eubank Jr, who ‘cut him deep’ so that he revealed the true extent of his eye problems.

Brook (front) admitted he was

Brook (front) admitted he was ‘a lost soul’ in 2018 after those two crushing defeats

“It bothers me that they thought I was giving up,” he said. “Until you get that injury, you’ll never know what it’s like. I might get big puffy eyes, cuts, and I won’t mind. Even though the eye was swollen and I couldn’t see, I would still see through the other eye and continue to fight. But when it’s double vision, it’s like you don’t have eyes.

“It cuts so deep. I’ve been boxing all my life, and there’s no surrender in me, but I couldn’t see. I was badly hurt. What about when you have kids? When the surgeon said one more big hit from Golovkin and you’d go blind? You still wouldn’t stop, but Spence knew I was a wounded animal.

It took a year before Brook returned to the ring after losing to Spence Jr, as Eddie Hearn’s promotional bill dubbed ‘come up’ saw him go super welterweight in search of a new chapter.

He fought three more times in that weight class, but a world title bid never came. He swept Sergey Rabchenko and Michael Zerafa, but spent much of the year chasing a long-awaited dust with Khan – which also didn’t come.

Khan walked away in favor of facing Terrence Crawford – and Brook then didn’t fight at all in 2019. His inactivity left a huge question mark over his career and his relationship with Eddie Hearn – which he accused of hanging it up to dry.

Hearn set up one last fight with Brook against Marc de Luca in 2020 before a frustrated Brook took it upon himself to set up a big fight – heading to the States to seal a lucrative fight against Crawford after striking a deal with Matchroom’s rival company, Top Rank.

“Eddie was always involved in this fight, for six/seven weeks from today he was always involved,” he told iFL.

“He knew the date, we kept him posted, all he had to do was sign the contract for Brook, but he was more interested in signing books. It got to the stage where I was put on the shelf, you know? I am self-directed. I went there and had the fight against Crawford.

Brook's inactivity has raised question marks over her relationship with Eddie Hearn (above

Brook admitted he wasn't worried

Brook’s (right) inactivity has raised question marks over her relationship with Eddie Hearn (left)

“At the end of the day, when all is said and done, I want to be out of this sport with a bag full of cash for my daughters. I’m not going to worry about Eddie putting me on the shelf. He didn’t want to put anyone on the shelf.

“He has millions of fighters, he takes millions away from everyone. He just has too many fighters and so many dates to bring out these top fighters [in the ring] within a certain period of time. If he can’t do some super fights for the fighters, the fighters won’t get money. I needed to be active, I need to have more money. I need to be active and fight.

Brook might have made a small fortune after fighting Crawford in America, in the summer of 2020, but he was no match for the pound-for-pound star as he suffered a fourth-round knockout. He has not fought since.

And Hearn – once a close friend of Brook who traveled home to chart his rise through the ranks throughout his career – lashed out at him after his criticism, accusing him of ‘walking away’ from Matchroom .

Brook defied Hearn's advice by staging his own fight against Terence Crawford in 2020

Brook defied Hearn’s advice by staging his own fight against Terence Crawford in 2020

Brook (right) suffered a fourth-round knockout in that fight with Crawford despite making big money

Brook (right) suffered a fourth-round knockout in that fight with Crawford despite making big money

“To be honest with you, I was really disappointed and quite angry,” Hearn said after Brooks’ words. “I will say this because I feel like 99% of what was said was total b****cks.

“I was never involved in any conversation they had with Top Rank regarding this fight, any consultation, any opinion from me, any part of the deal negotiations.

‘Once you have turned your back on me, never turn around and start walking towards me. Either you’re with me or you’re not. Don’t talk bullshit. You wanted as much money as possible. It’s reality.

“I feel like I have to justify this interview because it was total, total b****cks. I saved his career several times.

Brook's (right) clash with Khan (left) this month is a big chance for a final payout

Brook’s (right) clash with Khan (left) this month is a big chance for a final payout

Stepping into the ring with Khan is the perfect way for the 35-year-old to re-energize

Stepping into the ring with Khan is the perfect way for the 35-year-old to re-energize

With Brook now a free agent, he finally seized the opportunity to face Khan in what could be one last big win as he looks to roll back the years and end his career on a huge high.

Back in the spotlight on Sky Sports, where he fought for much of his career, Brook has a chance to recapture the glory days by brushing aside the forgettable end to his life as a boxer that wasn’t kind to him. .

Getting in the ring with Khan is the perfect way to remotivate himself and focus on boxing again against an opponent he really wants to hurt. He trained hard and will feel like a young fighter again.

His failure to set up this fight in the past has only added to Brook’s turbulent time lately, but now this matchup is finally on track, there’s a weight on his shoulder.

No matter what happens at Manchester Arena, Brook will end his career knowing he was a world champion and one of Britain’s biggest boxing stars for some time. He’s had a tough time since, but for now the fire is back in his stomach.

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