Kell Brook’s British title battle was over in a blur of precise punches, but opponent Kevin McIntyre says there is more to remember than a few manic minutes in Scotland.
Away from the ring for over a year, Brook will soon find out whether he punches and moves with the same sharpness and fluency in Saturday’s fight with Mark DeLuca. The local support in Sheffield will be watching and hoping that the 33-year-old still possesses enough reflexes to rip a fight-ending punch through the night air.
I’ll be busy! McIntyre lets out a brief laugh when asked about the man who ended his hopes of regaining the Lonsdale belt in 2008. No, of course, I watch his fights all the time.
The Paisley fighter, a postman by trade, had briefly ruled the British isles following impressive back-to-back wins over compatriot Kevin Anderson, only to be stripped of his welterweight belt due to injury.
McIntyre, disheartened by the sudden end of his reign, had to watch uncomfortably as Brook was crowned as the new champion following a stoppage of Barrie Jones.
A flamboyant, explosive fighter, Brook was the latest product from the Brendan Ingle gym that had forged Naseem Hamed’s exuberant talents, and McIntyre took a dim view of his young rival’s antics.
Just the way he went about his business, he wanted to take people out and he was prone to a dance about after a fight, said McIntyre whose harsh opinion of Brook has softened with age. I was 30 at the time. When I was his age, 21, 22, I was a cocky wee sh*t.
McIntyre would receive his chance to dethrone the young champion, but had grown disillusioned with the sport, and struggled to strip off the excessive pounds for his impending clash with Brook.
Joined on the bill by a fresh-faced Ricky Burns, McIntyre remained confident that his experience and jolting jab would prevail as Scots packed Glasgow’s Kevin Hall to see him inflict a setback to the travelling Englishman.
Stinging memories of a whirlwind loss still linger with McIntyre.
I just remember at the time throwing out a jab, it felt slow. The jab went out and before it was even back again, I’m caught.
There wasn’t much to remember in the fight. I was down three times. Every time he did catch me, you were down on the deck, going ‘what’s happened?’ It was like I had no stability about me at all.
When I did the weight good at welterweight, I had a good chin, there was not many who would stop me later on in the fight. The fact that it was first round. It was snap, bang, down and the fight was over before you knew it.
Could he have done that, if I had fully prepared good at the weight? I don’t think so. Would he have beat me? Probably.
In the immediate aftermath, McIntyre was brutally honest about his reaction, but seeing Brook succeed at the very highest level, an IBF world title triumph over Shawn Porter, gradually eased the pain of this defeat.
Just absolutely scarred, said McIntyre, when recalling the mood in his dressing room. Folk will say, ‘I seen you fought Kell Brook,’ straight away [I say] ‘don’t mention it’, kind of thing.
But you look back at the way he’s went about his career as well. There’s always things you could have done better, but there’s no regrets, there’s no point beating yourself up about stuff. I’m pretty chuffed with my career.
Brook will quickly learn how much further his talent will take him, with fights against Liam Smith and the elusive Amir Khan being mentioned, but McIntyre offered simple advice ahead of his meeting with DeLuca, which could lead to heated challenges or harsh questions.
I think he just needs to focus on his own career. Half the time, he’s too busy putting the brakes on and trying to keep at welterweight for this big fight with Khan. It must be doing his nut, but I think if he just sticks to his own career and picks his own path, I think he’s still got a good chance of maybe winning a world title again.
On Saturday’s bill in Sheffield, live on Sky Sports Arena from 7pm, Kid Galahad fights Claudio Marrero in a final eliminator for the IBF featherweight title, Terri Harper challenges for the WBC super-featherweight title against Eva Wahlstrom, heavyweight Dave Allen returns and Kell Brook fights Mark DeLuca.