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Hatton: Khan vs. Brook is 50-50 fight

Amir Khan Kell Brook Ricky Hatton

By Scott Gilfoid: Ricky Hatton says he thinks the Amir ‘King’ Khan vs. Kell ‘Special K’ Brook fight is a 50-50 affair that could go either way. Hatton, a retired former 2 division world belt holder, sees Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) and Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) in the same position with their deflated careers that appear to be going nowhere fast.

Both fighters are 31-years-old and coming off knockout losses. Khan’s knockout was much worse in getting knocked out cold by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in May 2016. Brook suffered an eye injury in his 11th round TKO loss to welterweight Errol Spence Jr. in May 2017. That was Brook’s second straight fight in which he suffered an injury, but the injuries occurred to separate eyes.

“It’s one of those exciting fights, it’s like a 50-50 one, you toss a coin because they’re both that similar and are at similar stages of their career,” the 39-year-old Hatton said to Sky Sports News. “It would be a defining fight for both, the loser then retires and the winner moves onto bigger and better things.”

It’s too bad Khan waited so long to finally get around to fighting Brook. Now they’re both at the end of their careers. Brook is talking retirement within a year, and Khan will likely be in the same position soon after he suffers another devastating knockout loss. Khan will probably get through his next fight without getting knocked out, but if he’s put in with a halfway decent puncher in his second fight of his comeback, then he’ll surely get stopped.

Hatton is wrong on both comments. This is not a career defining fight for Khan and Brook. They’ve both fought better opposition. This is about money and that’s all it is. Brook isn’t the best welterweight, and he’s clearly past his prime. Brook isn’t better than Khan’s last opponent Canelo Alvarez, and he might not even be better than Danny Garcia. Khan isn’t Brook’s best opponent. Brook has fought better fighters than Khan in his fights with Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin, Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter. Khan would lose to all 3 of those guys by knockout. Khan vs. Brook is not a 50-50 fight. Brook must be seen as a clear favorite to beat Khan. The only way Khan wins this fight is if Brook suffers another broken eye socket. Even when both fighters were in their prime, you would have to favor Brook by a wide margin to deal Khan a one-sided loss if he didn’t know him out.

Khan signed with Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport recently, and he’ll be fighting journeyman Phil Lo Greco (28-3, 15 KOs) in a catch-weight fight at 150 pounds on April 21 on Sky Sports Live at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. Hearn is building up the Brook-Khan fight by having each fighter face beatable competition. Brook will be fighting next month against Sergey Rabchenko (29-2, 22 KOs) on March 3 on Sky at the Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, UK.

“When I look at Amir, he’s had three bad knockouts and sometimes you worry can you come back from three of them. It’s hard enough to come back from one horrendous knockout but he’s had three,” Hatton said.

The 3 knockouts Hatton is talking about for Khan is his stoppage losses to Briedis Prescott in 2008, Danny Garcia in 2012 and Canelo Alvarez in 2016. The good news is each of those knockouts had 4 years that separated them. If Khan holds to that pattern, then he shouldn’t be knocked out again until 2020. Unfortunately, that’s obviously not the reason why Khan went 4 years between knockout losses. Perhaps the true reason why it took Khan 4 years to get knocked out in those 2-time periods is because he wasn’t facing big punchers.

Khan did beat Marcos Maidana by a 12 round unanimous decision in December 2010 without getting knocked out, but that was a very strange fight. Maidana had Khan on the verge of being knocked out in the 10th round of that fight. For some unknown reason, the referee Joe Cortez kept pulling Maidana off Khan while he was trying to finish him after he had him out on his feet in round 10. Going into the fight, Cortez had a reputation for breaking fighters when they would work on the inside.

Some boxing fans thought Khan’s promoters at Golden Boy Promotions were happy to have Cortez working the fight, because they felt that he would make sure that there was very little inside fighting from Maidana. Whatever the case, Cortez continually got in between of Maidana and Khan in the 10th round when the British fighter was badly hurt. Earlier in the fight, Cortez penalized Maidana for throwing an elbow when he pulled him off Khan when he was working him over on the inside. Maidana looked like he didn’t want to be stopped from fighting in close, so he jerked his arm away from Cortez when he tried to separate him from Khan. It wasn’t an elbow thrown at Khan. It looked more like Maidana wanted Cortez to let go of him and let him work on the inside. I think Khan would have been knocked out by Maidana easily if there had been a different referee working that fight that didn’t get in the way of him finishing the badly hurt Khan off in the 10th.

Hatton is no stranger to suffering his knockout losses. Hatton was brutally knocked out by MManny Pacquiao in 2009. Hatton was also stopped in the 10th round by Floyd Mayweather Jr. in December 2007, and in the 9th round by Vyacheslav Senchenko in November 2012. It’s understandable that Hatton would be worried about Khan with him having been knocked out 3 times badly during his career. However, at least Khan will get a good payday in the Brook fight. If Khan gets knocked out, the big money he makes from the fight might make the knockout not quite as bad. It’s golden parachute type of fight for Khan. A lot of boxing fans think Khan is only making a comeback due to him wanting to get that last big payday against Brook before he sails off into the sunset of retirement.

Brook might not make it to the Khan fight if he gets knocked out by Rabchenko. That fight is a risky one for Brook, because Rabchenko can punch and he’s coming from 2 fights in which he’s suffered broken eye sockets to Spence and Golovkin. If there’s a weakness in Brooks’ eye sockets, Rabchenko is the kind of puncher that can bring that out. Another broken eye socket for Brook will likely finish him for the remainder of 2018.

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