LONDON — Size matters. Kell Brook’s sharp counter-punching and movement befuddled Gennady Golovkin at times, but the power of the bruising middleweight champion proved decisive as he forced Brook’s corner to stop the contest in the fifth.
Brook was badly staggered in the round one by a left hook which he later speculated might have broken his eye socket. The injury would be a recurring theme throughout the fight as Brook occasionally pawed at the area starting in the second. Brook found his greatest success in round two by countering the charging Golovkin with left hooks and right uppercuts. The speed and timing of these shots seemed to surprise Golovkin and drew blood from his nose.
At ring center, Brook’s speed and counters allowed him to remain competitive. However, Golovkin’s size and the power continually forced Brook to the ropes. The challenger couldn’t avoid digging body shots which lowered his hands and opened up Golovkin’s thudding jabs and right hands.
The fifth round saw Brook hurt several times with power shots and attempt to buy time by taunting. With no punches coming back his way, Golovkin kept throwing and forced Brook’s corner to throw in the towel.
“A few rounds before I told them my eye was gone,” Brook admitted afterward. “It was hard to see him. I was very frustrated. I had so much more to give. I feel I would have taken over in the middle and later rounds.
Absolutely (I could have fought on). A fight of this magnitude, you have to carry on… Knock me out.”
Golovkin admitted that Brook’s use of “distance” caused him trouble, but was adamant the smaller man never hurt him and compared the bout to a “street fight” and “sparring.”
With a Canelo bout seemingly a year away at the earliest, Golovkin expressed his desire to unify next against WBO titlist Billy Joe Saunders. Brook confirmed he will move up to 154 pounds and vacate his IBF welterweight title.