Alan Dawson – London
In a bout that contained two contrasting halves, Kell Brook survived a fight of the year nominee to land himself a potential shot at the IBF welterweight world title. On Saturday, June 7 at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, Brook was punch perfect for six rounds yet seemed to have emptied his tank as Carson Jones came on strong in the latter half, mashed Kell’s nose up and made a strong case for the draw…
Official verdict: Brook by way of majority decision (116-113, 116-113, 114-114).
With the backing of a 10,000 strong reception in Yorkshire, Brook (28-0-0, 18ko) boxed perfectly in round one, rendering Jones’ output redundant as the American came forward in a one-paced manner which thus allowed Brook to move effortlessly around his opponent and pump two, three and four punch combinations into Carson’s frame. Jones (34-9-2, 24ko) entered the bout as the power puncher with the kayo threat but on first impressions it was The Special One who was able to penetrate Jones’ guard, rumble him with uppercuts and deft left hooks and generally make himself a nuisance.
In the subsequent rounds, Brook fought behind his jab and using the shot to introduce body shots and uppercuts. The Englishman also produced an extremely competent and tight defence, making Jones miss, which was not good for Carson as the visiting pugilist was not even active. At the end of the third round, Brook received raucous applause and noise from his numerous fans for his aggression, however, there were few shots that were clean as Jones diverted shots with his arms.
While Jones got his act together in the fourth, it was Brook who finished in the more commanding position as Carson’s enhanced work-rate allowed Kell to show off his slickness, his counter-punching ability and his shoulder-roll. While Jones concentrated on Brook’s midsection, the home fighter was more varied… and double-jabbed with precision. In the fifth round, Jones boxed more positively, yet this opened him up and Brook clubbed hooks around Jones’ guard, shook up the American’s foundations and genuinely hurt his man. Jones came back at Kell for what was left in the round, sticking Brook into the red corner but Kell’s defence troubled Carson as he struggled to land anything of significance.
Jones’ limitations were further exposed in round six. Carson’s guard was ineffectual as, when Brook teed off, he was easily able to separate Jones’ high guard and land – with aplomb – straight right punches into the mush, however, he lost round seven. Brook’s work-rate was on the wane, he fought in a fatigued fashion and Jones perturbed him from action, forcing Kell to resort to headlocking him with a left arm in order to dilute the inside tussle.
Brook’s sudden lack of interest in the fight worried his corner so much that head coach Dominic Ingle poured an ice bucket over his head prior to the eighth in order to wake his charge up, however, this did not produce the desired effect as Jones went on to bloody Brook’s nose and score a cut to the side of the eye. The famed power of the American fighter, one year Brook’s junior, was finally revealed as he battled Brook into corners and rocked his head back repeatedly yet Brook closed the round with a peach of a countering uppercut which demonstrated that he still had something to offer with four rounds remaining.
With a nose leaking profusely and with blood smeared all over his philtrum, Brook showed an aggression in the tenth that had disappeared from his game from rounds six to nine and he got the crowd back on his side by attacking Jones in a positive 20 seconds of action before backpedaling, countering with right hands but having to take punishment from Carson who battled back convincingly in the final 30 seconds of the session.
Brook’s attempts to switch to the southpaw stance did little to confuse Carson, who was able to see the portside jab coming and parry it with his high glove. Those half-hearted jabs were all Kell seemed to have in the penultimate round whilst Jones continued to torture Brook’s body. The Brit’s defence abandoned him further in the final stanza and Jones genuinely troubled and hurt Brook before the referee separated the pair. If the fight had another round to go, Jones could have secured a stoppage finish, however, after the 12 round distance, Brook eked out a narrow victory on points.