Khan says he won’t respect Brook if he vacates title to avoid Spence
By Scott Gilfoid: Amir Khan says he heard that Kell Brook is thinking of vacating his IBF welterweight title to avoid fighting his mandatory challenger Errol Spence Jr. (21-0, 18 KOs), who the International Boxing Federation is saying that he needs to fight next. Khan says he doesn’t respect a fighter who vacates their titles to avoid a difficult mandatory challenger.
Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) hasn’t vacated his IBF 147lb title yet, but it’s quite possible he will do just that. One reason for Brook giving up his IBF title potentially is the big money fight that has just over the horizon with Khan.
Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn is in negotiations with Khan’s manager Al Haymon for a mega-fight this year. It could take place in a stadium in the UK. That’s where Khan, 30, ants the fight to be staged. While Khan is talking of wanting to take a tune-up fight in April, Brook is faced with a potentially dangerous fight against Spence.
If Brook loses to Spence, which would seem likely, it could have negative ramifications for a fight against Khan. Will Khan still want to face Brook if he gets whipped by Spence? Will the British boxing public want to pay to see Brook and Khan fight each other if Brook gets knocked out by Spence? You have to remember that this would be Brook’s second straight knockout loss. He was stopped in his last fight by middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin last September.
Brook had excuses for that loss that the boxing public was sympathetic to with him losing to the best fighter in the middleweight division, and suffering an eye injury in the fight. If Brook gets beaten by Spence, the excuses probably aren’t going to work this time. Yeah, Brook can say he was injured again, but I don’t know if another injury excuse will work for him. It worked last time, but when it becomes chronic, then the boxing fans will start to suspect that the fighter can’t admit when he’s been whipped.
Khan said to Fighthype.com this about him not respecting Brook if he vacates his IBF title to avoid Spence:
“I think it can happen,” said Khan about a fight against Kell Brook. “It’s all about the negotiations, making sure we get the right deal. I heard that Kell Brook’s giving up his IBF title. I don’t respect a fighter that gives up his title. If someone’s going to give up their title that they won, then what’s the point in being in the sport? He’s the one guy giving up his title. That’s really sad to see. You still hold on to your title regardless of who is in front of you. You win a world title and then you give it up because you don’t want to fight the opposition or the mandatory, whoever it is. [Marcos] Maidana was my mandatory and Zab Judah. Even [Danny] Garcia was, and Lamont Peterson. I always fight my mandatories. The thing is, this is Kell Brook’s first mandatory he’s going to face, and he’s talking about pulling out. Why? How can you respect a fighter who pulls out of his mandatory fight?” said Khan.
Khan isn’t saying whether he’ll still be interested in fighting Brook if he gets blasted into oblivion by the talented 26-year-old Spence. As long as Khan is good with Brook coming into their fight with a second straight knockout loss, then I think Brook should go ahead and get it over with and fight Spence. At least he can say he was willing to down with the ship rather than jumping overboard to avoid Spence. It’s better for Brook that he fights to the bitter end as the WBA 147lb champion rather than vacating his IBF title at the first sign of danger. Khan obviously isn’t aware of the fact that Brook has twice fought his IBF mandatory challengers since picking up the IBF belt in 2014 after beating Shawn Porter.
Brook beat ionut “Jo Jo” Dan and Kevin Bizier, and both were his IBF mandatory challengers. It sad news that the IBF picked those guys as their No.1 contenders with their organization, because you can argue that they’re not even worthy of being ranked in the top 15, period. Brook did fight them and he dispatched both over-matched guys with ease. Brook also defeated Frankie Gavin, a fighter that was in the same promotional company as him with Matchroom Sport. Spence is a lot better than Dan and Bizier in my view and in the view of a lot of boxing fans.
Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn is going to be giving him recommendations about whether he should keep his IBF title or not. Hearn might see it being the smarter move to steer around Spence in order to avoid another TKO loss, and to make sure that Brook gets the Khan payday. The money that Brook makes against Spence is going to be considerably less than what he’ll receive against Khan. It would be a business move for Brook to vacate his IBF title in order to avoid Spence.
Hearn could explain it to the British boxing public, and some fans might be sympathetic to Brook for giving up his strap. Obviously, Khan won’t, but he can always tell Brook that a fight against him is conditional on him facing Spence to prove that he’s ducking him, and to prove he’s not a paper champion. Right now, you can argue that Brook is a paper champion, because he’s faced mediocre opposition in defending his IBF title. Yeah, Brook fought Golovkin last September, but that fight was at middleweight. Brook’s defense of his IBF titles have come against Gavin, Dan and Bizier.
“I’m a better fighter, a much more skillful fighter,” said Khan to skysports.com about Brook. “I’ve been in with better opposition than Kell. I think Golovkin is the only ‘A’ fighter he has fought. With me, I’ve been in with the likes of [Marcos] Maidana, Danny Garcia, Zab Judah – I’ve fought the best names in boxing. I think it’s time now where I shut Kell Brook up, and his team, and I settle the score to show who the No 1, and the best fighter in the UK, is,” said Khan.