Khan wants Kell Brook fight over World title shot at 147
By Scott Gilfoid: Amir Khan put a smile on the face of his promoter Eddie Hearn by saying that he prefers to face fellow Matchroom Boxing stable fighter Kell Brook rather than fighting for a world title at welterweight.
Khan (32-4, 20 KOs) believes that a fight against the 31-year-old former IBF welterweight champion Brook (37-2, 26 KOs) would fill the 80,000 seat Wembley Stadium in London, UK. Khan is saying he wants to “maximize” his career, which some would argue is code for he wants to maximize his earnings.
Khan blasted out Phil Lo Greco in 40 seconds of the 1st round last Saturday night in a horrendous mismatch at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England. It’s not that the fight ended up a mismatch. The fight was always expected to have a one-sided outcome in Khan’s favor the moment the match was signed. Lo Greco hasn’t been active, and he’s lost every fight he’s ever had against world class opposition. Khan knocked Lo Greco down twice in the 1st round before referee Victor Loughlin hurriedly stopped the fight. There’s a lot to say about the way the contest was stopped. It looked WAY premature in the eyes of a lot of people. Lo Greco was never given a chance to get up. The referee stopped the fight with Lo Greco not looking that worse off. Immediately after the fight was halted, Lo Greco sprang to his feet and walked over to his corner as if he were fine.
Obviously, a fight against a non-champion like Brook with 2 defeats in his last 3 fights would mean less in terms of sporting accomplishments than Khan winning a world title against world champions Errol Spence Jr. or Keith Thurman. In football terms, Khan is basically saying that he wants to play a team with a 1-2 record rather than a Super Bowl team. Brook is a good fighter, but the reality is he’s NOT a world champion and he was recently stopped by Spence and Gennady Golovkin in consecutive fights. Brook came back from those two loses to beat fringe contender Sergey Rabchenko last March in stopping him in the 2nd round, but this wasn’t one of the talented fighters at 154.
With Hearn doing the match-making, Brook fought the equivalent of Phil Lo Greco in taking on Rabchenko, and the results were predicable. Hearn’s card last Saturday night at the Echo Arena were filled with similar one-sided mismatches with the A-side fighters wiping out their over-matched opposition. Khan knocked out the hapless Phil Lo Greco (28-4, 15 KOs) in the 1st round, and other A-side fighters had their way as well with Sam Eggington destroying Achilles Szabo in 2 rounds, Anthony Fowler beating Ryan Toms in a 2nd round TKO, Conor Benn blasting out Chris Truman in 4 rounds, and it just goes on and on.
“I would rather look for those stadium fights instead of the world titles because I have won world titles in my career. I want to leave that legacy behind and fill out a stadium,” Khan said to Sky Sports News. ”It would be amazing to fill out a stadium and get someone like Kell Brook.”
So, there it is. Khan would rather fight in front of a stadium against Brook rather than fighting for a world title. When Hearn was asked about what Khan should do next at the post-fight press conference last Saturday night following his 1-round annihilation of 33-year-old Lo Greco, he immediately brought up Kell Brook’s name and started talking up a fight between him and Amir.
Hearn obviously knows there’s a HUGE difference between Khan fighting bottom feeder level opposition like Lo Greco and him battling Errol Spence Jr. or Keith Thurman. Those guys wouldn’t be so easily bowled over the way Lo Greco was. They would weather the storm in the 1st round against Khan and take him to the deeper waters and start testing his chin. As far as I can tell, the painfully slow Lo Greco didn’t land a shot last night. Lo Greco looked totally lost inside the ring against Khan. The fight hand bad match-making written all over it. Hearn put Khan in a showcase fight [read: dreadful mismatch], and casual boxing fans, who have no clue about what kind of fighter Lo Greco is, are now on the Khan bandwagon, thinking he’s improved in his two years out of the ring, and believing he can beat the world champions Spence and Thurman.
To minimize risk and maximize earnings, Hearn needs to make the Khan-Brook fight next before one of them gets beaten. Khan and Brook’s recent mismatches have planted ideas into their heads, making them think they can beat the best fighters in their respective divisions. We’ve heard Brook talking boldly about Jermell Charlo, and Khan saying he thinks he can beat Spence. If Hearn were to green light either of those fights, I think the end result would be bad for his two Matchoom Boxing stable fighters. Brook and Khan are good fighters, but they’re not THE best in their divisions.
Khan says he wants Brook to come down to 147 to fight him. If Brook agrees to that, he could be weakened enough for Khan to gain an edge and possibly beat him. I still don’t think Khan has it in him to beat a weight drained Brook. The problem with that idea is Brook wouldn’t be knocked out in the 1st round like the dreadfully bad Lo Greco was last Saturday night, and he would stick around long enough to bounce uppercuts, left hooks and right hands off the chin of Khan. With Khan’s stamina problems, which weren’t exposed last night due to the shortness of the match with Lo Greco, Brook would wear him down and likely knock him out by the 7th or 8th or possibly much earlier.
“An 80,000 stadium would fill out for a fight between myself and Kell Brook,” Khan said. “I think a Kell Brook fight has to happen at 147Ibs. It is where I belong. I am 31 at the peak of my career and it is time to maximize everything.”
I’m really not surprised that Khan is saying that Brook, 31, will need to come down to 147 if he wants to fight him. Khan is the A-side in the equation just as Saul Canelo Alvarez is the A-side against middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin. If Brook wants the fight with Khan, he’s probably going to have to agree to melt down to 147. That’s just one hurdle that Brook will need to leap over for him to get a stadium fight with Khan. The purse split is going to be the major issue. If Khan insists on a huge split in his favor like we’re seeing with the Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder fight, then there’s no way the match will get made. Heck, Joshua and Hearn aren’t even offering Wilder a split. He’s just being given a flat fee over, which some boxing fans believe equates to just 12.5 percent of the revenue. If Khan takes that approach to negotiating a fight with Brook, that mega-bout won’t get made in a million years. Brook isn’t going to agree to a trifle for a fight with Khan if he can’t share in the loot from the fight.
Personally, I think it’s still too early to make the Khan vs. Brook fight. Khan’s fight last night against Lo Greco was his first in two years. Khan needs to get at least two more wins under his belt to really maximize the dough against Brook. Hearn always talks about wanting guys like Deontay Wilder to build up his name by fighting his Matchroom stable guys like Dillian Whyte so that he can build up a fight with Joshua. Hearn needs to do the same thing with Khan and Brook. Khan should fight a couple of more times, preferably against contenders at 147 or 154.
Brook needs a couple of wins as well, because he’s lost 2 out of his last 3 fights, and his last opponent Rabchenko looked horrible. I’d like to see Brook fight a couple of good welterweights like Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia to get warmed up for Khan. Those fights would show whether Brook is 100 percent after his back to back TKO defeats to Golovkin and Spence. Brook arguably quit in both of those contests when the going got tough. If not those guys, Brook should fight Erickson Lubin and Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams to get for the Khan fight. If Brook can beat those fine fighters from the 154 lb. weight class, he would get a lot of boxing fans in the UK excited about him. Those fans would be more likely interested in purchasing a fight between him and Khan on Sky Box Office. Right now, Khan vs. Brook looks like a money grab by both fighters, because they’re coming off wipe-out wins over woeful opposition. Brook destroyed the slow as molasses Rabchenko in 2 rounds, whereas Khan crushed the equally slow Lo Greco in 1 round. In my opinion, Hearn put Khan and Brook in with a couple of stiffs to make them look good so that the casual boxing fans in the UK would be more eager to purchase a fight between them.