Kell Brook treated Mark DeLuca like a speed bump in slightly hesitating before running him over in a 7th round knockout victory in his successful comeback fight in his home arena in Sheffield on Saturday night.
Brook landed a left hand that ended matters in the 7th in putting the game but limited DeLuca down. Before then, Brook had looked calculated and patient in wearing down DeLuca with perfectly placed shots to the head and body.
DeLuca loaded up on a big right hand in the 7th, but was caught by a left hook from Brook and knocked down. He never shot from Brook, and he badly hurt from it.
Brook’s punching power was as good as ever
Overall, it was a good performance from Brook. He didn’t get a chance to see whether Brook is the same fighter he once was due to DeLuca’s limited talent. He was too pedestrian to tell us whether Brook is the guy that he once was.
Brook’s shots did a lot of damage on DeLuca’s face, as his nose was bleeding and both eyes were swollen and fast closing going into the 7th. Had the fight gone much longer, DeLuca’ eyes would have closed from the swelling.
Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn is already looking to set him up in a WBO 154lb title eliminator against Liam Smith (29-2-1 16 KOs) in his next fight, as long as the World Boxing Organization sanctions the contest. If not, then Brook (39-2, 27 KOs) will look to go in another direction.
Hearn obviously wants Brook to fight Smith next, but that’s not necessarily what Kell wants. He’s ready to challenge for a world title straightaway without wasting his time in needless title eliminators against the likes of Smith or whoever else that Hearn wants him to fight.
“If Brook and Smith fight, that would be a final eliminator for the WBO world title,” Hearn said.
Brook ambivalent about his performance
“I have to look back. People say it was a fantastic finish,” said Brook to IFL TV. “I’ve been out for a year and a half, you’ve got to remember that. It was my first fight, and I definitely feel like I could have been better, but overall it was a clinical finish. The guy has never been stopped,” said Brook about DeLuca.
He told Eddie he was going to destroy me, and beat me and retire me,” Brook said of DeLuca. “He’s never been beaten in that fashion, you know? I’ve been a year and a half out. I’m just going to get better and better now. Instead of working on losing the weight, I’m going to work on the things that I’m going to work on,” said Brook.
“You never stop learning in this game, so I’m going to work on many things in this game. You know I probably could, but it’s a chess-match. I’ve got 12 rounds, It’s not an amateur fight. He’s a Marine, he’s tough. You don’t jump in and try and land something stupid. It’s about chippingaway, chipping away, and the finish did come like I wanted it to come,” said Brook about his win over DeLuca.
One got the sense listening to Brook talk that he wasn’t entirely happy with his performance against DeLuca tonight.
One reason for that is DeLuca was catching Brook with some shots that would have had knockout written all over them had he more punching power. If this Jeison Rosario, Jermell Charlo or Julian Williams that landed those shots on Brook tonight, he would have been in a world of hurt.
Liam Smith not the end game for Brook
“It was clinical. We can always say how I could have jumped on him, but what would happen if he lands one over,” said Brook. “I need to be smart now. I’m getting older now, and I’m starting to be smarter. I need to be patient, and the finish will come.
“I’ve always got the power to finish all these guys, you know?” said Brook. “I’ve got to be patient. I got the power and the game changer. I can be losing a fight, and I’ve got the punch to end the fight,” said Brook.
“If it’s in the plans, it’s in the plans,” said Brook when asked if he’ll fight Liam Smith next. “My overall goal; I’ve boxed Golovkin and Spence. I’m not shying away from any fighter. These guys are going to call me out, you know? I bring a lot to the table, so of course they’re going to be shouting me out.
“I’ve got a lot of respect for him,” said Brook of Liam Smith. “I hope he’s not disrespecting me because I’m not disrepecting him. When we do get in there, it’s business, when I do fight Smith. My main thing this year is to become a two-time world champion. I’m wanting them belts. I don’t care if you’ve got a belt. I’m coming. Of course, I’m not coming after one particular belt. I’m coming,” said Brook.
You can’t blame Brook for not being so excited about fighting Liam Smith, as it’s a fight in which he won’t receive a lot of credit if he wins. Liam was recently beaten by Jaime Munguia, and he’s faced weak opposition since then. Brook would gain a lot more by fighting Jeison Rosario and beating him.
Brook’s goal for 2020 is to become two-weight world champion
“All the lights. This could be the final time. I really could be,” said Brook about him fighting in the Sheffield Arena. “I said that last time, but here we are again. I’ve missed it. I know you get nervous with anticipation, but the bottom line is, they’re here for you, the fans. They want to see a great fight. I wanted to give back tonight to them.
“They’ve paved my way through the years,” said Brook about his fans in Sheffield. “I just want to be in the best position and the best shape I can be, so I can perform for them. I probably don’t have a smile on my face, because I haven’t won a title.
“These wins, I’ve got to look good, but I’ve got bigger dreams. If he’s part of the plan, he’s part of the plan, but the bottom line is, two-time world champion this year,” said Brook.
The fact that Hearn is steering Brook towards a title shot against WBO junior middleweight champion Patrick Teixeira says a lot. He’s viewed as the weakest of the champions at 154 by a lot of boxing fans, and it’s a fight that Brook can win without a doubt. It would be a lot more risky if Hearn put Brook in with Rosario or Charlo for a world title shot.