Hearn: The public wants Khan vs. Brook
By Scott Gilfoid: According to promoter Eddie Hearn, the British boxing public wants to see Amir Khan face Kell Brook, and he says it’s important that he gives them that fight. Hearn just happens to be the promoter for both fighters, so it helps him as well as if he makes this fight. I don’t know if the world wants Khan vs. Brook. The boxing fans outside of the UK want Khan to fight Errol Spence, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia or Terence Crawford. They don’t care about Brook, who clearly isn’t the best fighter at 154. We saw what Spence did to Brook last May in forcing him to quit on one knee when the going got tough. Khan-Brook is little more than a domestic level scrap.
Khan (32-4, 20 KOs) did his part to make the Brook fight a lot bigger by defeating Phil Lo Greco last Saturday night by a 1st round knockout in the first 40 seconds at the Eco Arena in Liverpool, England. Khan looked good for a fighter that has been out of the ring for 2 years.
Hearn is worried that if he doesn’t make the Khan-Brook fight now, the two fighters could get old and then miss their chance to put on this mega-fight. He says Khan and Brook could wind up kicking themselves for not making the fight while they were still young, and the boxing public still interested in seeing them fight each other.
Brook, 31, will be back inside the ring in July, according to Hearn. He doesn’t say who he’ll be facing, but it’s probably going to be another tune-up level bottom ranked contender from the 154 lb. weight class. It won’t be a welterweight, but it might as well be. Brook and Hearn are targeting the Khan for December. As such, Brook should be fighting speedy welterweights instead of junior middleweights. There aren’t too many speedy welterweights for Brook to fight that have anywhere near the same hand speed that Khan possesses, so it might be a waste of time for him to fight someone from the 147lb. weight class.
”I believe the British public wants to see Khan against Brook, and we should deliver what the British public wants,” Hearn said to skysports.com. “I would hate one day for these boys get old, look back and kick themselves for not making that fight.”
Hearn is breaking his own rule of failing to build the Khan-Brook fight properly by having the two fighters get two or three more fights under their belts before he puts them in with each other. After all, Hearn has been pushing for Deontay Wilder to fight Dillian Whyte to try and make the Anthony Joshua fight into a bigger one. It’s unclear whether Hearn would have Wilder jump through another hoop to get the Joshua fight if he dispatched Whyte in the early rounds like many boxing fans suspect he’d do.
It seems like Hearn should stick to that rule by having Khan and Brook wins a few more fights before they try and sell their fight to the British boxing public on Sky Box Office PPV in the UK. I mean, Khan hasn’t won a fight against a solid fighter since his victory over a faded Zab Judah in 2011.
Khan’s victories since then have been largely wins over bottom fringe level guys like Chris Algieri, Carlos Molina, Luis Collazo, Deon Alexander, Julio Diaz and Lo Greco. Khan should have lost the Diaz fight in my opinion, as he was hurt several times, and I counted 8 rounds that he appeared to lose in their fight in April 2013. That was supposed to be a high-level tune-up fight for Khan, unlike his fight against Lo Greco last Saturday night, which was massacre.
“We have to sit down, we have to find a deal, we have to make sure they get well paid,” Hearn said of the Khan vs. Brook fight.
I doubt the Khan and Brook fight will be an easy one for Hearn to make. With Khan’s win over Lo Greco, it might have given him ideas that he can command a big split of the dough for the Brook fight. Khan still sees himself as one of the best fighters in the welterweight division, even though he hasn’t beaten a quality fighter from the weight class in ages.
Likewise, Brook’s recent win over Sergey Rabchecnko last March might give him some ideas that he can ask for a huge purse split for the Khan fight. The fact of the matter is, Brook has lost two out of his last three fights, and he hasn’t beaten a good fighter since his controversial 12 round majority decision win over Shawn Porter in August 2014. Some boxing fans thought Brook deserved a loss against Porter, because he was mostly just holding him all night long and not actually fighting.
If you want to count that as a true win for Brook, then so be it. Brook’s wins since then have come against less than the cream of the crop in Frankie Gavin, Ionut Dan Ion, Kevin Bizier and Rabchenko. If you look at the 147 and 154 lb. weight classes, none of those fighters are ranked in the top 15 today. It’s as if the sanctioning bodies finally got a clue and straightened out their rankings. At the time Brook fought those guys, they were all ranked highly in the top 15. What that tells you is Brook’s only wins in the last four years have come against poor opposition. He’s lost when he’s fought good fighters in Golovkin and Spence.
Showtime boxing analyst Paulie Malignaggi thought the stoppage was a little too quick for the Khan-Lo Greco fight, because the referee halted the fight too fast after the second knockdown. Lo Greco looked like he could continue, but the referee stopped it anyway. The boxing fans at ringside weren’t too happy at the quick stoppage, as many of them booed the way it was halted with Lo Greco looking like he was still cogent.
“I thought it was kind of quick,” Malignaggi said to Fighthype about the stoppage. “I told Phil, you know they’re going to look for any reason to stop the fight, so you’re going to have to [make sure you fight hard]. The fight is in a foreign country. Fighting in a foreign country aside from America is very different. I told Phil if you don’t want to get stopped early, make sure you don’t put yourself in the position where you’re going to get stopped early,” Malignaggi said.
I’m not sure what the referee was thinking when he stopped the Khan-Lo Greco fight. The quick stoppage probably didn’t change the outcome. Lo Greco was going to get knocked out anyway with the way he was fighting. He wasn’t trying to tie Khan up and maul hi on the inside the way he needed to do to tire him out, and to prevent him from continuing to flurry on him. Lo Greco was doing all the wrong things, and it was inevitable that he was going to get knocked out in the 1st round. There was too much time remaining on the clock for him to make it out of the round. If Lo Greco had the ability to time Khan like Danny Garcia, then he could have nailed him with a left hook when he was changing in to unleash his flurries. Khan would have been knocked silly if he’d done that to him.
”When I saw that video [of the Khan vs. Lo Greco stoppage], I said Phil is down, but the referee could have counted, you know? It’s something to keep in mind when you’re traveling,” Malignaggi said.
I thought the same thing. Why in the heck wasn’t the referee conducting a count for Lo Greco. It looked strange the way he immediately pulled the plug on the fight without giving Lo Greco a chance to get up.