The Truth is Revealed

By Caryn A. Tate on May 27, 2017
The Truth is Revealed
Brook showed heart by battling back as best he could. (Andrew Couldridge/Reuters)

Errol “The Truth” Spence lived up to his nickname when he stopped the truly gifted Kell “Special K” Brook in the 11th round…

In an incredible back-and-forth bout that saw both fighters hurt, Errol “The Truth” Spence lived up to his nickname when he stopped the truly gifted Kell “Special K” Brook in the 11th round.

Coming into the fight, IBF welterweight world champion Kell Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) took on his mandatory challenger, Errol Spence (22-0, 19 KOs) at the outdoor Bramall Lane soccer stadium in Brook’s hometown of Sheffield, England. It was a highly anticipated bout featuring one of the best welterweights in the world, Brook, taking on a serious young gun in Spence who—prior to this fight—appeared to be the real deal. He had passed the “eye test” for most of us, and while he’d beaten some really good opposition impressively, like previously unstopped Chris Algieri and Leonard Bundu, he hadn’t yet faced anyone at the very top level. That all changed on Saturday night.

The contender, Spence, wore white trunks trimmed in gold fringe. When he and his team walked to the ring, they were met with loud boos. It didn’t seem to bother the American, and no doubt his Olympic background helped prepare him for such a response. His trainer, Derrick James, sported a bandana on his head decorated with the American flag.

The pro-Brook crowd was incredibly loud in the outdoor stadium and cheered their champion with deafening cheers as Brook came to the ring in bright red and white striped trunks.

Spence kept his distance in the first round, fighting off his back foot and feeling Brook out. Brook did well countering Spence when Spence tried to come inside. There was some back-and-forth and it was a fairly close round, but Brook landed more clean shots.

In the next several rounds, the back-and-forth continued, with Brook usually getting the better of it. Spence tried to land his left to the body. Brook appeared to get Spence’s attention with a right upstairs. In the second, the referee warned Spence for a low blow when he hadn’t landed one—it was simply a body shot. Brook periodically stiff-armed Spence and the referee, Howard John Foster, allowed it. Brook interrupted Spence’s momentum often in the first half of the fight. Brook showed himself to be better at interrupting a top fighter’s momentum—again, similar to what he did against the underrated Shawn Porter. The champion showed that he has a lot of Bernard Hopkins in him. He would often use borderline fouling tactics but would come out of them with clean shots that shocked his opponent, much like Hopkins used to do. Perhaps because of the experience difference, Spence often appeared to wait on Brook when perhaps he should have been first.

In the third, a lead left from Spence changed the momentum that Brook had going. He got Brook’s attention and the challenger seemed to gain confidence from it. As the rounds went, Spence began using his right hook more, to very good effect. Spence was bleeding from the mouth at one point but it didn’t appear to bother him. Brook went to the body a bit more too, as if trying to show Spence that he wasn’t the only one who could do it.

Early in the sixth, Brook appeared to hurt Spence and staggered him. Upon later viewing on instant replay, we saw that their feet were actually tangled. Spence came back hard, hurting Brook and really focused on body work.

Spence began to do improve, or perhaps Brook began to fade, in rounds 7 and 8. In round 9, Brook’s mouthpiece either got knocked out or he spit it out. The referee accompanied him to the corner to have his trainer, Dominic Ingle, rinse it and put it back in. During that time, the referee allowed Ingle to coach his fighter and allowed Brook to have quite a break in the corner. Later, in a clear Spence round where he repeatedly hurt Brook to the body and knocked him backwards, the referee broke the boxers for no good reason. It was clear that at times, Spence was really fighting two men in the ring. It was also clear that Brook’s left eye was rapidly swelling.

In round 10, Brook sank to the canvas after repeated clean punches upstairs and down from the challenger. After Brook arose and showed himself ready to continue, Spence continued the onslaught. Brook showed incredible heart by battling back as best he could, and while it wasn’t enough to win the round or do any real damage to Spence, it was inspiring to see. By the end of the round, Spence looked like he’d punched himself out and it was clear both fighters were giving everything they had.

In round 11, within the first minute, the referee took Brook to his corner to have loose tape cut off. Again, Ingle was allowed to coach his fighter and the referee didn’t appear to deter him. It was really a shame to see such a biased official residing over a world title fight.

When the action resumed, it was crystal clear that Brook was in serious trouble. He dabbed at his swollen left eye with his glove repeatedly and seemed distracted by it. It brought back memories of his fight at middleweight last September versus Gennady Golovkin, when his right eye socket was broken. One had to wonder if Brook had the same memories flashing through his mind in those moments.

Spence smelled blood in the water and went after the champion hard. He landed many clean punches and did extremely well going to the body with clearly hard shots. Finally, Brook appeared visibly shaken, dabbing again at his eye, and finally sank to a knee to gain some time. Foster, the referee, began talking to Brook but wasn’t giving him a count despite the timekeeper making the count ringside. Brook did finally rise to his feet but the referee gave a wave of his hand to indicate the bout was over.

The smile that crossed Spence’s face once he realized the result said it all. It was a purely joyous smile, full of awe. He had done what he set out to do and stopped the champion in his hometown.

Both fighters mightily impressed in this bout. Brook proved that he was better than some people thought; his ability to not only hold off top level opposition but to trouble them, to make them fight on his terms, was impressive. And Spence showed that he is indeed The Truth, and champion material, by rising to the occasion, making adjustments, and not letting up when he had his man hurt.

After the bout, when the “ShoStats” were revealed, boxer-turned-commentator Paulie Malignaggi said what a lot of us thought when he commented that “I thought Brook landed more than 14 jabs.” There are many times in modern fights when the CompuBox stats don’t appear to line up with what we just saw, and this was another example of it.

Brook stated, after the fight, that his eye was hurt in the 7th round. “I’m devastated,” he said. “It was a very competitive fight. I thought I’d win the fight, but I’ll look to fight another day.” He stated that he could make welterweight again, but he wasn’t sure what he would do next.

In his post-fight interview, new champion Spence said it may have partially been his nine-month layoff that contributed to his struggling in the early rounds. “The goal is to unify the titles. I want to fight Keith Thurman next. Manny Pacquiao next. I want to become the undisputed welterweight champion of the world.”

We would all like to see either of those fights next for the new IBF welterweight champion.

                                                                  * * *

In the supporting undercard bout, “Saint” George Groves (25-3, 18 KOs) faced Fedor Chudinov (14-1, 10 KOs) for the vacant WBA super middleweight title. Briton Groves has faced some distinct challenges in the past few years, including losing to Carl Froch twice (once by controversial stoppage, and the second time by knockout). More recently, Groves beat German Eduard Gutknecht by decision in November 2016, but Gutknecht collapsed after the bout and was put into a medically-induced coma for six weeks after the fight. Tragically, doctors now say that, while Gutknecht is out of the coma, he may never fully recover and may be reliant upon care the rest of his life.

The two stoppage losses and the circumstances surrounding the Gutknecht fight all contributed to the uncertainty surrounding Groves. Was he mentally in the right place to beat a top-notch contender like Chudinov?

From the start, Groves appeared to expend a lot of nervous energy. The Russian Chudinov was constantly moving forward throughout the bout—he was sometimes but not always effective with it, but there was no doubt that it kept Groves on his toes. Chudinov always seemed completely cool and calm, and displayed very sound fundamentals. Occasionally in the early rounds, Groves did land some good shots, but he also took several clean shots, including some jabs straight to the face.

When Groves landed on Chudinov with clean punches, the Russian responded with some of his own immediately. In round 3, Groves had an impressive stanza where he batted a jab down with his right and countered Chudinov with the same hand. Groves also put forth some good body work periodically when he was on the ropes.

In the 4th, a headbutt, unseen by the referee, cut Groves over the left eye but he landed some really good, clean shots. The referee watched but didn’t intervene at one point when Groves held Chudinov behind the head and hit to the body.

By the sixth round, it was a fairly tight fight on my scorecard, with 3 rounds to Groves and 2 to Chudinov.

But then, in the sixth, Groves hurt Chudinov badly with a right hand to the left side of his jaw. Groves knew he’d hurt his opponent and threw more and more punches, focusing on that right hand, and Chudinov’s legs were shaky. After several more clean right hands, the referee waved off the fight. It was a good stoppage, and an impressive one considering Chudinov often appeared to be the overall better fighter with tighter technique. But Groves proved himself to be a fighter and battled past a tough opponent to become a world champion.

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  1. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 05:01pm, 05/28/2017

    Let’s go Porter! Kahn is desperate for a fight but not that desperate and for sure not with this guy….he’s talking way the hell to next Summer with Brook!

  2. Koolz 04:28pm, 05/28/2017

    Steven Stahler

    that’s a bias and stupid statement:
    Spence was hurt multiple times in this fight.  He found his range on the outside with his jab and went to work in those later rounds.
    Spence broke Brooks left orbital bone maybe a fracture?
    Golovkin shattered the right orbital bone they need to replace with with a plate.
    still Brooks bones in his face are breaking a bit to much, two boxing matches two orbital bone injuries.  Then again he shouldn’t allow himself to take such hard shots to the face.
    Good fight.

  3. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 03:58pm, 05/28/2017

    Left orbital socket this time. He can thank his dad for that Englshman’s beak and those fragile facial bones….better that his mom contributed that part of his makeup.

  4. Steven Stahler 10:54am, 05/28/2017

    Spence was NEVER hurt. NEVER.

  5. Alt Knight 07:00am, 05/28/2017

    I guess booing an American Flag bandana isn’t considered, “hate speech,” in jolly ole England, but apparently criticizing terrorists is worthy of a trip to jail. Unbelievable.

  6. Lucas McCain 05:23pm, 05/27/2017

    Yet another fight of the year candidate?  So many hard fought, dramatic bouts this year and it’s not even June yet.  Kell Brooks must know that fighters who get hit too often not only end up punchy, but also blind.  Sugar Ray Seales, et al.  That’s why Futch stopped the Thrilla in Mainla.  Maybe it’s time to think about the next chapter.

  7. Koolz 03:07pm, 05/27/2017


    Spence vs Brook
    This was a good fight!
    Koolz 02:57pm, 05/27/2017

    Selby vs Rosales
    Koolz 02:56pm, 05/27/2017

    Groves vs Chudinov

    Damn I love Russia!

  8. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 02:56pm, 05/27/2017

    Orbital socket blowout again starting as early as the seventh round. Thurman out for surgery/rehab….let’s go Porter! Adalaide Byrd would have been Errol’s lucky charm if it went to a close decision as others had predicted.

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