Hunter says Khan should make no weight concessions for Brook fight
By Tim Royner: Trainer Virgil Hunter thinks Amir Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) should not give Kell Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) any kind of weight concessions if the two of them face each other later this year in a Matchroom Sport promoted mega-fight in the UK.
Hunter thinks Khan made a mistake of agreeing to fight at middleweight in his last match against former WBC 160 lb. champion Saul Canelo Alvarez in May 2016. Hunter says Khan had no business being up there in that weight class for a fight with the bigger Canelo, who he wanted to see how much he weighed when fully rehydrated. Hunter thinks Khan should fight Brook at whatever weight class that he’s comfortable with. Hunter doesn’t want to see Khan taking risks with his weight if he’s not comfortable.
For Khan’s next fight against junior middleweight Phil Lo Greco (28-3, 15 KOs), he’s making him come all the way down to 147 for their April 21st fight at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. Khan isn’t giving Lo Greco a catch-weight, and he’s not going to move up to 154 to make it easy on him. Lo Greco has been asking Khan to move up to 154, because he feels it’s going to be hard for him to make 147 after all these years of fighting at junior middleweight.
“It’s challenging for the simple fact that he [Khan] can’t afford to lose a fight either,” trainer Virgil Hunter said to Fighthype about Khan. “Even at 31, he’ll set himself back quite a ways. So, there’s a lot of pressure on him. As far as Kell Brook is concerned, one would assume that would be the finale, and that would be the reason for signing with Matchroom, because immediately it was talked about. So I get the impression that’s the direction that [Eddie] Hearn intends for him to go in.” Hunter said.
It’s widely believed that Khan signed with Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport specifically for him to be put in with Kell Brook for a big money fights. It’s the best and only chance for Khan to get a big payday at is point of his career. Khan already fought the highly popular Canelo Alvarez and lost, and there’s no one else in the sport that he can make a lot of money fighting other than Brook.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. isn’t going to make a comeback just so that he can face Khan. Manny Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum won’t make a fight against Khan. Pacquiao tried to get a fight put together with Khan last year, but his 86-year-old promoter Bob Arum stuck him with one of his Top Rank fighters instead in Jeff Horn. Khan isn’t going to fight middleweight Gennady Golovkin.
The Brook fight is the last chance for Khan to get a big payday before he retires. That’s why he and Brook can’t afford to lose. Brook has a risky fight coming up against the power punching Sergey Rabchenko (29-2, 22 KOs) on March 3 at the Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, England. Before Brook’s recent back to back injury related stoppage losses to Golovkin and Errol Spence, he likely would have been installed as a wide favorite to defeat the 31-year-old Rabchenko, but not anymore. Brook has had to deal with bad eye injuries in his last 2 fights against Spence and GGG. It’s no longer a given that Brook can beat Rabchenko, because he may suffer another busted eye socket and wind up getting stopped.
”The only issue I could see coming up would be the weight,” Hunter said. Whether Khan is still comfortable at 147 makes it relatively easy. Someone is going to have to bend, because he’s been out,” Hunter said about Khan or Brook needing to give in when it comes to which weight class, 147 or 154, the two of them will be competing at later this year in their mega-fight. “It can’t be like the last fight, he was taken out where he shouldn’t been taken,” Hunter said in talking about Khan fighting Canelo Alvarez at middleweight. “So he needs to stay in whatever weight class he’s in, and if he’s not really to go up, then he shouldn’t go up. If he has to, he should, but I think we’ll know that way in advance before the summer,” Hunter said.
I don’t know if Brook is going to be willing to agree to fight Khan at 154. It’ll depend though. Brook might choose to bite the bullet and come down to 147 one last time for the money. Even if Brook does wind up slightly weight drained for the Khan fight, he’ll likely have more than enough to knock him out and beat him with ease.
Brook gave Errol Spence all kinds of problems before suffering an eye injury in round 6. The fight was basically even after 6 rounds. Khan could never do what Brook did against Spence. It would likely be a wipeout. Brook gave Golovkin tons of problems fighting with a bad eye in the first 4 rounds of their fight in September 2016. That was at middleweight though. Brook might lose something in draining down to 147 for a fight against Khan, but not enough to where it would keep him from winning the fight. Brook’s punching power will make him a big time problem for Khan to have to deal with.
“They say he [Kell Brook] was a big welterweight,” Hunter said. “I’ve never seen him up close. I’ve seen him in person. I’ve never seen him up close to see how big of a welterweight he is. Neither one is a champion. There’s always a chance of a catch-weight that would be comfortable for both guys. But as you know, it’s business. I don’t think it would be wise at this point to make any kind of concessions that he doesn’t have to make, and you have to expect the same thing with the Brook team, as far as making concessions,” Hunter said.
If Khan brings in good numbers in terms of ratings on Sky Sports and wins his first 2 fights of his comeback this year, then I think he’ll be in good condition to Brook to agree to come back down to 147 for them to fight. If Khan looks bad in winning his first 2 comeback fights, then I think he’ll have to meet Brook at a catch-weight between 147 and 154.