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Hearn calling for Kell Brook vs. Amir Khan after Rabchenko wipeout

Image: Hearn calling for Kell Brook vs. Amir Khan after Rabchenko wipeout

By Scott Gilfoid: Eddie Hearn was pleased with Kell Brook’s 2nd round knockout win over Sergey Rabchenko on Saturday night, but now he wants to see him face Amir Khan. Hearn remarked after the Brook vs. Rabchenko fight ton night that the Khan-Brook fight “needs to happen.”

Hearn says the boxing public has been waiting 3 to 4 years for the Brook vs. Khan and now he wants to give it to them later this year in 2018. Hearn is talking about June for Brook’s return bout at 154. It won’t be Khan on that date. The Khan vs. Brook fight still needs to be built up. Brook’s win over Rabchenko (29-3, 22 KOs) was a good start, but he needs to beat a better-quality fighter in his next contest to increase the interest from the boxing world in a Khan-Brook fight.

Brook (37-2, 26 KOs) was successful in his comeback fight on Saturday night in crushing the usually tough Rabchenko (29-3, 22 KOs) in the 2nd round in front of his loyal boxing fans at the Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, England. This was Brook’s first fight at 154.

Hearn says Brook will become a 2-division world champion in 2018 by winning a title at junior middleweight. If Hearn is serious about that, then Brook could be fighting for a world title as early as June, since the Khan fight is supposed to be taking place in November or December 2018.

Unfortunately, Hearn is not giving out any clues about which champion a 154 that he’ll be looking to match Brook against in his next fight in June, but WBC champion Jermell Charlo says he’ll fight him. Charlo is ready to throw Brook a bone by giving him a title shot. Hearn should grab that fight with both hands and immediately start talking it up. That’s the best way for Hearn to increase Brook’s popularity and to make his match against Khan much bigger.

With the boxing world watching him tonight on Sky, Hearn had the perfect opportunity to call out Jermell Charlo on Brook’s behalf for his next fight in June. Hearn had the spotlight on him, and he blew it by failing to mention Charlo’s name.

Brook won the vacant WBC Silver junior middleweight title with his big win over Rabchenko. That title should open the door for Brook to face Charlo. There would be less fan interest in seeing Brook fight WBO junior middleweight champion Sadam Ali. He’s a welterweight that moved up and beat an injured Miguel Cotto recently to win the WBO 154lb. belt.

”It is a fight that everyone wants to happen later in 2018, we need to see it. Let’s see Khan win on April 21 first though,” Hearn said to Sky Sports.

Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) fights Phil Lo Greco (28-3, 15 KOs) on April 21 on Sky. Khan needs to win that fight to keep on track for the Brook match-up. If Brook can win a world title at 154, then Khan might be open to fighting him at a catch-weight at 154 rather than having him move all the way down to 147 to fight. Khan is the favorite to beat the 33-year-old Lo Greco. This is not a competitive fight on paper. Lo Greco has been pulled in to fight Khan and his opponent, but he’s not expected to win.

“Everyone wants to see a fight between Kell Brook and Amir Khan, we’ve wanted it for three or four years,” Hearn said.

Khan has to look good against Lo Greco for the Brook fight to interest fans, because right now, he’s coming off of a 2-year layoff and a bad knockout loss. Khan is a guy living off of his accomplishments that took place 8 years ago. He lost his IBF light welterweight title in 2011 to Lamont Peterson, and he’s done nothing since then. The newer boxing fans in the UK have never seen Khan fight. The old timers that remember Khan from his best years as a pro in 2009 and 2010.

Hearn is wrong about him saying that “everyone wants to see” Khan vs. Brook. It’s a fight that the UK boxing fans are interested in. As far as the U.S fans go, Khan vs. Brook is viewed as just another fight. Khan is seen as an over-the-hill fighter with a weak chin by U.S boxing fans. Brook is known as the guy that was beaten by Errol Spence Jr. and Gennady Golovkin. The U.S fans didn’t see tonight’s fight between Brook and Rabchenko.

Brook is not that well known with the casual boxing fans in the States. Even with the UK fans, a lot of the interest in a Brook vs. Khan fight has already died down years ago, as they’re very late in facing each other. The fight had a sell by date, and they passed it long ago. The fight might make some money on Sky Box Office for the 2 fighters, but probably not a whole lot compared to what it could have made had the contest happened years ago.

Hearn says Brook’s career was on the line for the Rabchenko fight tonight, and he’s correct. However, Brook’s career will be on the line once again when he fights next in June. He can’t lose that fight for him to be able to bring in the big bucks for a fight with Khan in December. The fans aren’t going to dismiss a loss for Brook in June just because he beat Rabchenko. That wasn’t a big enough win for Brook. It would be a different story if Brook had defeated a good fighter at 154 like Erislandy Lara, Erickson Lubin, Jarrett Hurd, Julian Williams or Jermell Charlo. He didn’t fight those guys. He fought Rabchenko, an Eastern European fighter with a knockout loss to Tony Harrison and a 12 round split decision defeat against then 38-year-old Anthony Mundine in 2014.

“At 154lbs he is a different animal, we’ve put them all on notice. I believe he will be a two-weight world champion in 2018,” Hearn said.

Brook looked like the same fighter tonight that he was at 147. You can’t say Brook is a better fighter conclusively at 154 based off his win over the 31-year-old Rabchenko, because this is not one of the best fighters at 154. Rabchenko was a guy selected to make Brook look good. If he had fought Jermell Charlo, he probably would have looked as bad as he had in his losses to Golovkin and Spence. In that case, Hearn would be left making excuse for why Brook lost instead of just telling it like it is by saying he isn’t talented enough to beat the beat at 154. Hearn’s job is to make his fighters sound better than they are.

Brook’s win over Rabchenko was a good one, but you must look at the quality of his opponent. Brook is not a different animal at 154. He’s the same fighter. It’s just that he’s now back to what he was doing before at welterweight in taking on weak opposition once again. When Brook was fighting at 147, he was beating the weaker fighters like Jo Jo Dan, Kevin Bizier, Carson Jones, Vyacheslav Senchenko, Alvaro Robles, Frankie Gavin and Hector Saldivia. Brook’s win over Shawn Porter was a fight in which he gamed the system by using nonstop clinching and getting away with it instead of being penalized. When Brook fought a good welterweight that in Errol Spence, he lost to him. If Brook is a different animal at 154 as Hearn maintains, then he should have no problem beating Jermell Charlo, Erislandy Lara or Jarett Hurd. Of course, if Brook isn’t a different animal, then he’ll probably lose to one or all those fighters when/if the time comes for Hearn to match him against one of those guys.

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