Spence: Fractured Eye Sockets Must Be in Back of Brook's Mind

By Keith Idec

NEW YORK – The man most recently responsible for inflicting significant damage to Kell Brook’s face feels he can come back again.

Brook bounced back from a broken orbital bone around his right eye suffered during a fifth-round technical knockout loss to middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in September 2016. That surgically repaired side of his face held up fine during his following fight, but Errol Spence Jr.’s punishing punches produced the same injury to the left side of Brook’s face.

The 31-year-old Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) hasn’t fought since Spence knocked him out in the 11th round and won the IBF welterweight title from him May 27 in Sheffield, England, Brook’s hometown. He had serious surgery on his face for the second time in nine months after Spence beat him and thus far has taken six months off to recover.

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Eddie Hearn, Brook’s promoter, announced Monday that Brook will battle Belarus’ Siarhei Rabchanka (29-2, 22 KOs) in his comeback from that second serious surgery March 3 in Sheffield. Brook has moved up from welterweight to junior middleweight, the division in which he’ll attempt to land a title shot if he beats Rabchanka.

Spence thinks Brook can come back from a second surgery to succeed at 154 pounds, but believes Brook will have a tough time putting those injuries out of his mind, especially in his first fight back.

“It all depends on the person, but mentally, it has to be in the back of your mind,” Spence told recently. “Two [orbital] fractures, I mean, it has to be in the back of your mind. He could come back. It depends on how seriously he takes it.

“He’s moving up in weight, to 154. Those are bigger guys, so it depends on how serious he takes it. If he’s taking it serious and is 100-percent dedicated, like he was when he first started boxing, he could do well. It all depends on his mental [approach].”

Spence questioned Brook’s commitment because he appeared very heavy to Spence in photos Spence has seen through Brook’s social media accounts.

“He’s real heavy right now,” Spence said. “I heard with [Miguel] Cotto, they offered him the fight [for December 2 at Madison Square Garden], but [Brook] said he was too big. I’ve seen him on Instagram and he’s real heavy right now. So it’s all on him. If he’s hungry, he’ll do well. But if he’s slacking and doing all the bad habits, he’ll wind up with the same results. So we’ll see.”

Spence (22-0, 19 KOs) is scheduled to make the first defense of the IBF 147-pound championship he won from Brook against Lamont Peterson (34-3-1, 17 KOs) on January 20 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn (Showtime).

The powerful southpaw from DeSoto, Texas, is thankful that he hasn’t had to deal with the type of career-changing facial injuries that have beset Brook. Spence isn’t sure he’d even attempt to box again if it happened to each side of his face.

“I would take some time off, but when I come back I would seriously do some sparring and test it out,” Spence said. “And then if it feels fine, and I get hit on it and it feels normal, then I’d get back to boxing. But if I’m having problems and I’m gun-shy and if I’m wary of getting hit, I would hang it up. It all depends on how your mental mindset is.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Comment by Sir_Didymus on 12-14-2017

[QUOTE=Sid-Knee;18335532]You did give credit to Murray for fighting overseas. You still called him a Eurobum though. As I say, it was a contradiction.[/QUOTE] No. I didn't. That's you assuming I did because a natural 168lb fighter in Groves cherry picking…

Comment by Sid-Knee on 12-14-2017

[QUOTE=Sir_Didymus;18334558]Did you conveniently miss the part where I wrote Murray was out in Argentina to fight Sergio Martinez and got robbed and could have had two titles by now if it wasn't for controversial decisions? He fought champions in their…

Comment by Sir_Didymus on 12-14-2017

[QUOTE=Sid-Knee;18334551]Groves fought Eurobums since Froch, but you say you have respect for Murray? Contradiction there my friend.[/QUOTE] Did you conveniently miss the part where I wrote Murray was out in Argentina to fight Sergio Martinez and got robbed and could…

Comment by Sid-Knee on 12-14-2017

[QUOTE=Sir_Didymus;18334496]Well said. That's why the only British boxers I respect these days are Degale, Khan, Murray and Froch for his Super 6 days. They didn't stay in the comfort of their domestic safety net. They travelled early, fought the real…

Comment by Sid-Knee on 12-14-2017

[QUOTE=1hourRun;18334417]Performing at the highest level in the rivals homeland, defending and attempting to unify in order to leave a mark in this sport is something that should be appreciated. James could of took the typical Brit route, stayed at home…

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