Khan looking past Vargas fight towards Brook & Pacquiao
By Scott Gilfoid: Amir Khan can’t seem to keep his mind on the task at hand with his fight this Saturday night against Saul Vargas. Khan has his sights set on a stadium fight against either Manny Pacquiao or Kell Brook. Khan’s fight against Vargas will lead to a big fight against one of those two. It’s up to Khan which of the two that he wants to face.
If Amir wants to fight Kell Brook in December, then that’s a fight that is very doable. To get the Pacquiao fight, it will take some sacrificing on Khan’s part in the money department to get it. Pacquiao is going to make sure that he gets good money for a fight against Khan because he risk will be high and the interested from the fans will be high as well.
There’s a good chance that Brook will beat Khan (32-4, 20 KOs) to the fight against Pacquiao, which would obviously be a big buzz-kill for Amir. Their mutual promoter Eddie Hearn wants Khan to make up his mind in the next two weeks after his fight against Vargas (29-3-2, 14 KOs) if he’s going to fight Brook or not this year.
Hearn wants that if Khan doesn’t fight Brook, he could wind up seeing Kell take the Pacquiao fight from him. I’m not sure that Khan will lose any sleep over losing either of those fights, because the fights that Hearn is making for him right now seem to be making him happy. In Khan’s last fight, he wiped out journeyman Phi Lo Greco in a 1st round knockout last April. Vargas, 29, is on the same level as Lo Greco in terms of talent and hand speed. Unless Khan gets hit with something hard on the chin, he’s going to most likely breeze though the Vargas with without any problems.
Khan vs. Vargas will be taking place at the Arena Birmingham in Birmingham, England. Khan wants a world title shot, but he also wants a big fight against a star fighter. The only big name at 147 right now is Manny Pacquiao, but he’s someone that will be hard for Khan to negotiate with.
Khan, 31, says he doesn’t want to chase anyone any longer at this point in his career. He had tried in the past to get fights against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, but neither of them materialized for him.
”A stadium fight is within touching distance and within the next six months I believe it will happen,” Khan said to skysports.com. “I’m not chasing anyone now, I’m just going to keep ticking over. All that time I spent waiting for Mayweather and Pacquiao and those fights never happened for me, I want to put it in the past.”
If Khan takes it easier for a little while longer in facing fodder opposition, he’s going to have Hearn breathing down his neck pushing him to fight Brook. It’s unclear how long Hearn will let Khan fight soft jobs before he finally loses patience. It’s a different story with Hearn’s number one money fighter Antony Joshua. Hearn isn’t pushing Joshua to fight the talented heavyweights in the division in Luis Ortiz and Deontay Wilder. You can argue there’s a good reason for Hearn not push Joshua to take hose fights, because if he loses them, he’s going to likely bring in less money.
Hearn wants Khan to fight Brook. That’s a fight that should have happened years ago but didn’t. If Hearn doesn’t make the fight between them soon, all interest from the UK boxing public in the fight will evaporate. The U.S fans couldn’t care less whether Khan fights Brook, because it’s one non-relevant fighter facing another non-relevant fighter as far as many of them are concerned. The American fans don’t rate Khan and Brook, so it’s not important to see them fight each other. The U.S fans would be mildly interested in seeing Khan and Brook fight the likes of Terence Crawford, Keith Thurman, Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter and Errol Spence. Brook already fought Spence and he quit in the 11th round when the going got too tough for him.
After all these years, it might be better for Khan to just take easy money fights against beatable opposition like heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua is doing. Joshua isn’t fighting the good fighters in the heavyweight division. His focus seems to be to take the easy fights, and make money on pay-per-view. Khan can do the same thing without losing. But if Khan fights for a world title against one of the champions, there’s a good chance that he’s going to get knocked out and see his career implode on him. It’s a bad time for Khan to be fighting for a world title unless he can face 39-year-old Manny Pacquiao, who is clearly an easy mark due to his size and his advanced age.
What’s hard to believe is his fight with Vargas is his first at 147 since his 12 round unanimous decision victory over Chris Algieri in May 2015. That’s three years. Khan’s fight against former World Boxing Council middleweight champion Saul Canelo Alvarez in May 2016 was at a 155 pound catch-weight. Khan was knocked out in the 6 round in that fight. In his comeback fight last April, Khan fought Lo Greco at a 150 pound catch-weight. Khan should have no problems making the 147 pound limit, but you never know. When a fighter gets used to fight above their weight class, it’s sometimes difficult for them to make that fight after a long time away from the division.
Khan deserves to take it easy right now because of his long 2-year absence from boxing from 2016 to 2018. He’s only had one fight since coming back last April and that was against an awful opponent in Lo Greco in a fight that only lasted one round. Khan still needs to get rounds under his belt before he starts thinking of fighting the better fighters in the welterweight division. Ideally, Khan should take four or five tune-up fights before he thinks of fighting better opposition.
“It definitely makes it more realistic if he [Brook] comes down,” Khan said. “We’re with the same promotional team so it’s easy to make. Get past Vargas and then we will sit down and see where we’re at.”