Kell Brook’s promoter feared the fighter would quit boxing after his near-disastrous match with American Carson Jones.
Eddie Hearn has revealed for the first time how conflicted Brook was two years ago - although he overcame his preparation issues and went on to win the IBF world title in America this month.
Brook struggled against Jones in July 2012, edging a points decision (114-114, 116-113, Paul Barry 115-113.)
After the fight Hearn voiced his concern about Brook’s conditioning and put pressure on the fighter to sort his nutrition out. And the postponements over planned fights with Devon Alexander mentally damaged the boxer too.
The promoter described how Brook “went from filling Hillsborough Leisure centre, to filling Sheffield Arena.
“He thought he’d cracked it. I think he thought he’d become a star already. But we hadn’t even got started. He took his foot off the gas against Jones, because he thought it was going to be an easy night. He nearly paid the ultimate price.
“Perhaps that was the one experience that showed us that he’d got the steel in him when he needs to pull it out of the bag he can.” Hearn said the Sheffield fighter’s experiences gave him “the kick up bum to show you can’t mess around in this game.”
But he said the Alexander postponements had really “taken the wind out of him. “There were times sitting in his house with his dad Terry thinking I wasn’t sure he was even going to fight again. We had to really, really push him, to fight again, in Hull against Jones (Brook KO’d Jones in the re-match.)
Hearn said it was important Brook’s mind-set continued as it currently is: “You can’t wait around and mess round when you are in this position.
“If you do you will see it disappear before your eyes.
“The nights and the pay days that are ahead of him, if he makes a mistake now, he will lose all that. I don’t think he’ll make that mistake, he’s got the bit between his teeth.”
Hearn said he couldn’t wait to get back to Sheffield Arena, for an IBF welterweight defence, on December 6.
“People from Sheffield got behind Kell, for these eliminators and final eliminators, now they can come out with their own world champion in a big fight.
“And the other fights I have got on that card, you wait and see this could be something that Sheffield has never before.”