Martin Smith Column: Fight fans in the dark over minute’s silence at Kell Brook’s Bramall Lane bout

Eye damage for Kell Brook, with trainer Dom Ingle by his side
Eye damage for Kell Brook, with trainer Dom Ingle by his side

It’s got to be a wind-up.

How could anyone even think otherwise?

Surely even twisted individuals cannot be so blinded by bitterness and hate - familiar themes around here - that they would work themselves into a malignant and self-righteous froth over the missed minute’s silence at Bramall Lane at Saturday night’s Kell Brook fight?

The creation of a half-baked and fully poisonous notion that Bramall Lane boxing fans were so utterly without principle and humanity that they would choose to ignore a call for a minute’s respectful silence for the 22 who died in the Manchester Arena atrocity last Monday has to be badly-judged ‘banter’, right?

The alternative is truly beyond belief.

Many of those present, including some ringside, spoke of a poor PA system that meant fans in the stand could not hear the announcement that a minute’s silence was about to start.

We have to believe that is the truth.

No-one in this or any other city who actually heard such an appeal would ignore or disrespect it. But one reader who calls him or herself ‘OwlsFan’ commenting on The Star’s online story about the minute’s silence mix-up last night would have us believe that fans willfully ignored the call. Utter nonsense. The night was a triumph for everything Sheffield except the result - and some of the speakers.

But that was some fight and Errol Spence Jr is some fighter. Brook was a worthy world champion until Saturday and he would have beaten almost any contender with the intensity and courage of his performance at Bramall Lane.

But Spence is proving to be something of a boxing phenomenon. It will be a heart-breaking, stomach-churning feeling for Brook to have been beaten at his beloved Bramall Lane in front of adoring fans in his home city. He so wanted it to be his night on his stage. But he gave everything and was beaten by a truly outstanding challenger.

He’ll be back if he wants to be. Dominic Ingle will see to that. Ingle came over brilliantly on TV in Brook’s corner throughout the fight on Saturday night. Bold, decisive, critical and supportive he cajoled, encouraged and instructed Kell in the white heat of those precious between-rounds moments.

With instant assessment and laser-straight advice Ingle shows, in his own, different style, a huge depth of tactical knowledge and many of the qualities that made his father Brendan one of the most highly rated boxing coaches in the world.