Kell Brook has opened up on the depression he suffered after losing his last two fights against Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence Jr, saying the defeats left him at "rock bottom".
The Sheffield fighter put up a valiant effort after stepping up two classes to fight fearsome Kazakh Golovkin in September 2016 at middleweight, before Brook's corner pulled their man out when he sustained a broken eye socket.
Incredibly, Brook endured another broken eye socket when he lost his IBF world welterweight title to the classy Spence at Bramall Lane – the home of his beloved Sheffield United – on his last outing in May, forcing him to call the fight in the 11th round.
Brook was unbeaten before those bouts and the 31-year-old has spoken of how he turned to alcohol and struggled to get out of bed having been left deflated by claims he had quit.
"I was really that low. I didn't want to go on. People don't know that. I hit rock bottom around Christmas," Brook, who returns to the ring to face Sergey Rabchenko at light-middleweight next month, told The Guardian.
"I remember sitting on my own, thinking: 'No one loves me. What have I done to myself? What have I done to the people that do love me?' I was at home and my missus and kids were out. I thought, 'I've let people down who really love me.'
"It was very bad. I was thinking of retiring. Things weren't great at home. I was a lost soul – the lowest I've ever been.
"I was going out, drinking a lot. When I was drinking I was thinking I was having a good time. But it came back twice as bad, the depression. It was just a vicious circle – drinking, not caring about myself – and it gave me a bad low."
On those who accused him of quitting against Spence, he said: "It cuts so deep. I've boxed all my life, and there's no quit in me, but I couldn't see.
"I was seriously injured. And when you've got children? When the surgeon said one more big shot from Golovkin and you'd be blind? You still don't want to stop, but Spence knew I was a wounded animal."
Brook, who said that his defeat to Spence felt like his first loss due to the step up in weight to face Golovkin, went into detail about the pain caused by his eye injuries.
"At first you can't really feel the pain with the adrenaline," he said. "It's more the noise your eye makes. It's like a crab claw popping – you can really hear it.
"I went like this with my glove [pawing his face] to try to put the eye back in place because it drops and puffs out. And when I breathe I can feel the air coming in and out of my eye."
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