Still special: Spirited Golovkin defeat will prove to be Brook's breakthrough moment
The South Yorkshireman may have lost his unbeaten record but, like Frank Bruno in 1989, he now has the attention of the American media and casual boxing fans alike...
When looking at Britain’s best boxers of the 21st century, it is easy to pinpoint the fights that propelled each of them into the public’s consciousness.
Ricky Hatton’s upset of light welterweight champion Kosta Tszyu in 2005 made him a global star, and perhaps the most beloved English fighter of the past 20 years.
David Haye enjoyed all the fame and opportunities that come with being a one-time heavyweight champion after beating Nikolai Valuev in 2009.
And when Carl Froch knocked out Lucian Bute in 2012 he managed to add a new chapter to his fading career, becoming a pay-per-view draw and setting up a series of lucrative bouts.
For Kell Brook, that moment came on Saturday night at the O2.
Yes, the South Yorkshireman was stopped in the fifth round by Gennady Golovkin, but his stock has undoubtedly risen after such a spirited and skilful performance.
Brook’s closest comparison in that respect is perhaps with Frank Bruno.
The Englishman entered his 1989 heavyweight title bout with Mike Tyson as a huge underdog, and was beaten soundly.
He left with plenty of credit, though, after his left hook in the second round hurt the then-undefeated American for the first time in his professional career.
Even in defeat, Bruno emerged from that fight a far more recognisable name, and the same is true of Brook.
He has now gained the attention of the American media – HBO are reportedly lining him up to be one of their marquee names – as well as the UK’s more casual boxing fans.
Golovkin’s size and power are so clear to see that even newcomers to boxing could see that Brook was obviously fighting a monster at the wrong weight.
And crucially – unlike Amir Khan in his brief venture up to middleweight – he was pulled out before he could suffer the kind of brutal knockout that might derail a fighter’s career.
The ending of Brook’s fight won’t appear on endless YouTube compilations like that of Khan against Canelo Alvarez earlier this year.
It will be remembered as a courageous effort, stopped at least partly due to a broken eye socket, against a fighter that others have vacated titles in order to avoid facing.
Now, then, the IBF welterweight champion has plenty of options available to him.
Having insisted that he will never drop back down to the 147lb limit, his next fight will likely be at light middleweight.
Saul Alvarez and Liam Smith – who fight for the WBO’s 154lb title on Saturday – have been suggested as possible opponents, and Brook has already said he would love to fight the winner of that bout.
The Mexican is clearly the bigger draw of the two. Touted as the future face of boxing, the 26-year-old’s win over Khan has given him quite some pedigree in the UK.
Smith isn’t the same kind of global star, but he is still a current world champion and would provide a decent first test for Brook at light middleweight.
Then, of course, there is Khan.
Brook’s long-time rival remains a huge name domestically, even after suffering four defeats in his 35-fight career.
For years the Olympic silver medallist has claimed that Brook is not at his level but, considering the latter’s new international profile, it now makes perfect sense.
A meeting of the two – which would easily sell out Wembley Stadium – could eclipse Froch’s second fight against George Groves as the most anticipated of the past 10 years.
Whether Brook will actually be able to finally coax Khan into the ring remains to be seen.
What is clear, though, is that the man so often criticised for a lack of big names on his CV will now have his pick of boxing’s best.