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."
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba, Ronaldo and Jose´s biggest bust-ups|
|Mourinho sacked: Blanc, Solskjaer - the men who could steady the United ship short-term|
|Mourinho sacked: The football world reacts|
|Mourinho sacked: What former United stars said after Liverpool loss|
|Mourinho sacked: Where next for the axed Manchester United boss?|
|UEFA to investigate alleged racist incidents at Vidi-Chelsea|
|Australia unchanged for rest of India series|
|Mourinho sacked: Pogba´s tweet a dig at departing Man United boss?|
|Newton left frustrated by shoulder injury as Panthers lose again|
|Mourinho sacked: Pochettino & Zidane lead potential Man Utd replacements|
|Mourinho sacked: Neville urges Man United to go for Pochettino|
|Boylen pleased to see Bulls react to red rag in Thunder fracas|
|Icardi and Inter ´very far´ apart in contract negotiations|
|Mourinho leaves Manchester United|
|Curry humbled by latest milestone|
|Robertson: ´Unbelievable´ Alisson will bounce back from error|
|Curry scores 15,000th regular-season point in Warriors win|
|Rams star Gurley ´day-to-day´ with knee inflammation|
|Saints poised to clinch NFC top seed after topping Panthers|
|Mathews, Mendis centuries frustrate New Zealand|
|Kohli: Relentless Australia deserved victory|
|Relief for Paine and Australia after ending Test drought|
|Australia level series with dominant win over India|
|Libertadores holders River learn group as CONMEBOL boss calls for end to violence|
|Chargers RB Gordon planning to return against Ravens|
|Kobe Bryant visit motivated Browns´ Jabrill Peppers|
|De Bruyne: Fatigue not behind injury woes|
|´That´s not my concern´ - Broncos coach Joseph on job security|
|Lowry on Leonard´s free agency: I just want him to be happy|
|Yankees give Sabathia $500K bonus despite ejection|
|Ronaldo confirmed Juventus interest in January – Mendes|
|Lakers guard Rondo to begin rehab stint in G League|
|Saiz to leave Leeds United for Getafe|
|Whyte thinks Joshua rematch is ´only a matter of time´|
|Greenwood stars as Man United end Chelsea´s FA Youth Cup dominance|
|Panthers tight end Olsen expects ´full recovery´ after surgery|
|Derby County 0 Nottingham Forest 0: Lampard´s men fourth after tense stalemate|
|Clermont lose former All Black Toeava for six months|
|MLS unveils revamped playoff format for 2019 season|
|Ferrari to celebrate Schumacher´s 50th birthday with museum exhibition|
|Rabiot set for PSG exit after cancelling contract talks|
|Pepe departs financially troubled Besiktas|
|Philadelphia Flyers fire coach Dave Hakstol|
|Eagles to start Foles v Texans|
|PSG matches against Montpellier and Dijon rearranged|
|Martial agent clouds long-term future after United trigger extension|
|Zverev to make major final in 2019, predicts Ferrero|
|Canelo, Crawford, Lomachenko and the other pound-for-pound contenders|
|Barcelona boss Valverde admits to Lyon uncertainty|
|Club World Cup: Maverick Quintero gets another chance on the big stage|
|Henderson to miss majority of Ireland´s Six Nations campaign|
|Gentner to play on despite father´s death|
|Just good banter – Australia and India not concerned by Paine-Kohli exchange|
|Titans CB Logan Ryan out for season with broken leg|
|Suns send Trevor Ariza to Wizards for Kelly Oubre, Austin Rivers|
|Mourinho charge for ´improper´ language dismissed|
|Are the Knicks for sale? Depends on the offer, says Dolan|
|Klopp´s Liverpool are vulnerable – Neuer|
|Warrington: Frampton not an elite fighter|
|I want to finish the job off - Yates confirms Giro d´Italia focus in 2019|
|Atletico confirm Filipe Luis hamstring injury|
|Best backs Schmidt to lead Lions in 2021|
|Barcelona´s Vermaelen out for a month with calf injury|
|India lose Shaw for Australia tour as defeat looms in Perth|
|We didn´t have much luck - Nedved dismayed by Atletico tie|
|Manchester City must control Schalke, Begiristain warns|
|Ibrahimovic hints at LA Galaxy stay|
|Latham fills his boots in Wellington with record-breaking knock|
|I´m not thinking ´thank God it´s Bayern´ – Klopp|
|Luis Garcia and Steve McManaman confident of Liverpool progress|