Kell Brook prefers Khan fight over world title shot
By Scott Gilfoid: Kell ‘Special K’ Brook will be fighting on March 3 in the 154lb. weight class against slugger Sergey Rabchenko in what is a new beginning for the 31-year-old former IBF welterweight champion.
Brook initially said that he was moving up to junior middleweight in pursuit of world titles. However, it looks like Brook has changed his mind about his main purpose of fighting at 154. Brook was asked by The Star which would he rather have: a title shot against one of the world champions at 154 or a fight with Amir Khan. Brook said he would take the Khan fight.
“I think I have to say, right now, it would be Khan. That would be the more exciting of the two,” Brook said to thestar.co.uk. “Also, it’s probably easier winning a world title than it is to get him to sign a contract!”
I never thought for a second that Brook would want anything to do with the world champions at 154. When Brook moved up to junior middleweight, I saw this as just a place for him to make weight easier while trying to get welterweights like Amir Khan to fight him. Sure enough, that looks to be the case. Brook is fighting a junior middleweight in 31-year-old Rabchenko (29-2, 22 KOs) on March 3 at the Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, England. Rabchenko is not one of the talented junior middleweights like Jarrett Hurd, Jermell Charlo, Erislandy Lara and Erickson Lubin. Those 4 guys are easily the best fighters in the junior middleweight division by far. I don’t see Brook ever going anywhere near any of those guys.
Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) is arguably a shot fighter at 31-years-old. He’s been out of the ring for 2 years since his horrible 6th round knockout loss to Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on May 7th, 2016. Khan has suffered 3 really bad knockouts in his 13-year pro career, and it’s risky for him to fight anyone with even moderate. Khan is making a comeback on April 21 against second tier fighter Phil Lo Greco (28-3, 15 KOs) at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. Khan signed a multi-fight contract with Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport a couple of months ago. The signing made it clear that Khan will be fighting Brook by the end of the year as long as both fighters win their fights leading up to their mega-fight.
Brook will likely be a big favorite to defeat Khan when the time comes for that fight to be made. It’s important that Khan and Brook fight each other now, as they’re looking like they’re shot fighters. Brook has suffered bad injuries in his last 2 fights against Errol Spence Jr. and Gennady Golovkin. What makes the injuries so troubling is the fact that they occurred to his left eye in the GGG fight, and then the right eye for the Spence fight. If Brook suffers a third eye injury, you have to assume that his career would be over at that point. It might be too risky for Brook to continue his boxing career at that point.
Brook is probably going to make it a point of using his fight with Rabchenko to help create attention to his potential fight with Khan at the end of the year. If Brook beats Rabchenko, you can expect him to start calling Khan out moments after the fight by telling all the boxing media that he’s ready for Amir. The boxing fans will then possibly get excited about the Khan-Brook fight. In theory, that’s how it will play out. I don’t think there’s going to be as much interest in the Khan vs. Brook fight than there would have been had the fight took place 4 years ago when both guys were doing a lot better with their careers. In 2014, Brook beat Shawn Porter by a close 12 round majority decision to win the IBF welterweight title. Brook held onto the title through 3 successful defenses before losing to Spence by an 11th round knockout on May 27th last year at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England.
Some boxing fans will purchase the Khan-Brook fight on Sky Box Office just to see Khan get knocked out. Khan is one of those polarizing figures like Floyd Mayweather Jr. that has fans that tune in to watch him fight just hoping to see him do the chicken dance once more after he gets clipped with a big shot. Khan was knocked out so badly by Canelo Alvarez that he didn’t stagger. He just went straight down on the canvas after getting hit with a big right hand that he never saw coming.
It might be better if Eddie Hearn waits until 2019 before he puts together the Brook-Khan fight, because both guys need more than 1 fight to get rust out from their long period of inactivity. Brook has been out of action since May, and he needs to show the boxing fan that he can get through a fight without getting injured. With the way Brook’s eyes keep breaking down, it’s hard to picture him being able to get through a fight without suffering a busted eye socket.
Rabchenko might have a little too much power and size for Brook. This fight could be a lot tougher than Brook thinks it’ll be. Brook has been having problems taking big shots for a long time, and now he’s fighting a guy with big power at 154. Brook might find out that he made the wrong choice by selecting Rabchenko to fight instead of a soft opponent.