Kell Brook considering retirement at end of 2018
Byn Tim Royner: Kell Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) says 2018 might be the last year for him in boxing, and he wants Amir Khan to agree to fight him before he steps away from the sport. Brook could get his wish for him to face Khan by the end of 2018.
Khan announced big news earlier today that he has signed with Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport. Hearn believes that he can make the Khan-Brook fight at some point in 2018.
It appears that both Khan and Brook are now a bit over-the-hill at this point. Brook’s last 2 fights have seen him lose by knockout to Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence Jr. What is more worrisome though is the eye injuries that Brook suffered in both fights. Brook has a fight coming up on March 3 against power puncher Sergey Rabchenko (29-2, 22 KOs), and this could be it for him if he gets knocked out or if he suffers another eye injury. You would have to think that Brook would retire on the spot if he loses to Rabchenko, as it would be his third straight defeat. What little interest there is from the British boxing public for the long overdue Khan-Brook fight would be finished at that point? Hearn could try and still sell the Khan vs. Brook fight to the public on Sky Box Office PPV, but the fans probably wouldn’t have any interest in buying it unless the price was steeply discounted to reflect Brook’s recent string of losses.
”I don’t want to be talking this nonsense with Khan, him saying he wants it next year or whenever. It’s got to happen pretty soon or I am done,” said Brook to skysports.com. “We need to agree on a fight this year because I don’t know if I will be boxing into next year, if I am honest,” said Brook.
It would have been smart for the 31-year-old Brook to have taken a proper tune-up level opponent for his March 3 fight instead of choosing to face the big hitter Rabchenko. Brook’s decision to face Rabchenko is almost as if he wants to have his career end. To be certain, the 31-year-old Rabchenko is far from being the best fighter at 154. He’s been beaten by Tony Harrison and Anthony Mundine. Harrison stopped Rabchenko in the 9th round in their fight in July 2016. Harrison, 6’1”, is taller and a bigger puncher than Brook. It was still a difficult fight for Harrison. Rabchenko landed some big shots in that fight. Brook could have problems against Harrison, and wind up losing the fight.
Khan is going to take a tune-up fight on April 21. After that, he could face Brook in his second fight, accord to Hearn. It’ll depend on what Khan wants. Hearn will very likely give Khan a nudge to take the fight with Brook in his 2nd fight of his 3-fight contract with Matchroom Sport. It would be too risky for Khan to put the Brook fight off until the end of the year. Brook could lose to someone else or Khan could get beaten, especially with him talking about wanting to face Keith Thurman, Errol Spence Jr., Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson and Briedis Prescott. Any one of those guys could deal Khan a defeat. If Khan was still in the zenith of his boxing career and not coming off of a knockout loss and a 2-year layoff, then he would stand a better chance against those fighters. That’s not the situation that the 31-year-old Khan is in. Khan is on the downward slope of his career, whether he wants to acknowledge it or not. Khan was knocked out by Saul Canelo Alvarez in his last fight in May 2016. Before that, Khan had a devil of a time beating Chris Algieri in May 2015. Khan was out of the ring for 12 months before he fought Canelo. It was a foolish move on Khan’s part to fight Canelo after being out of the ring for 1 year.
“I really do mean it. I am not getting any younger,” said Brook. ”I want a great year this year, no messing around, no play-time, I want big fights under my belt.”
Brook’s problem is he’s not well suited for the 154 lb. division. His best weight class was the welterweight division. Brook has now moved up to a division where the guys are bigger than him, and stronger. There are no popular fighters that Brook can face at 154 that will bring him a big payday. All the popular fighters are either in the weight class below Brook at 147 or above him at 160. In Brook’s knockout loss to IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin in September 2016, Kell learned a bitter lesson that it’s not safe for him to fight guys from the 160 lb. division. If Brook sticks around the junior middleweight division long enough to fight Jermell Charlo, Jarrett Hurd and Erislandy Lara, he may find out that it’s not safe for him to fight those guys either. Brook should use the 154 lb. division as a percent for him to lure welterweights up to 150 for catch-weight fights in the same way Canelo used catch-weights to fight smaller guys when he was fighting at junior middleweight.
Knowing Khan, he’ll likely make Brook wait until the end of 2018 before he finally faces him. Khan will face a decent fighter like Adrien Broner for his April 21 fight if the he can get that bout negotiated. If Khan wins that fight, he’ll probably opt to fight for a world title in his second fight against either Keith Thurman or Errol Spence. Brook will almost surely be the last fight for Khan in 2018. The bad news about that is Brook could get Khan coming off of a knockout loss rather than a victory. Khan coming into the Brook fight under a dark cloud of another KO loss, it’ll mean fewer PPV buys for the Khan-Brook fight.
Brook says he might be sitting ringside for Khan’s April 21 fight in Liverpool, England. That makes sense for Brook to be there. It’ll help increase interest in their fight for later in the year.