Khan vs. Brook possible for Dec. 1, 8 or 15 at Principality Stadium in Cardiff
By Trevor McIntyre: Promoter Eddie Hearn has set aside the following dates in December for a possible Amir Khan vs. Kell brook fight: 1st, 8th and 15th. Hearn still isn’t certain yet whether Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) will face Brook (37-2, 26 KOs) in December or Pacquiao.
The only thing Hearn can say is the Brook fight will be easier to put together for Khan than a fight against the 39-year-old Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs), who will want more money. Hearn says he needs to have the fight with Pacquiao put together in the next couple of weeks for a Pacquiao-Khan fight to be doable for December. Hearn believes that if it were up to Khan, he would sit out of the ring until February or March before fighting again, but Pacquiao wants to fight in December so there’s not an option to wait.
Khan defeated Samuel Vargas (29-4-2, 14 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision last Saturday night at the Arena Birmingham. The performance by Khan wasn’t one of his better ones in his career, and he received massive criticism from boxing fans and the media. Hearn was quick to deflect criticism of Khan, saying that this was his true comeback fight after being out of the ring for over two years. Hearn doesn’t count Khan’s 1st round knockout win over Phil Lo Greco last April as a comeback fight because the match ended in 29 seconds.
“I’m hoping to meet with Amir tomorrow to talk to him about his next fight,” Hearn said to IFL TV. “Kell Brook, Manny Pacquiao and a couple of other options as well, and we’ll see which direction he wants to go in,” Hearn said. “You can’t really use the Lo Greco fight as a comeback fight, because it was 29 seconds. That [Samuel Vargas] was his first fight back after his defeat against Saul Canelo Alvarez. He’d been out for two years and it was a great performance. He’s capable of winning world titles.”
The performance by Khan showed that he needs more tune-up fights before he’s fully back to the level he was at before, but he’s not interested in taking anymore warm-up fights. Khan wants either Pacquiao or Brook next. Khan thinks Brook will wait for him to face Pacquiao, but Hearn isn’t certain he can put that fight together. Satisfying the purse demands for Khan and Pacquiao might not be doable right now. Pacquiao is no longer a huge star like he used to be, and it is unclear how much fan interest there would be in the UK between Khan and an aging fighter that will be turning 40 in December.
”Amir, if he had his preference, he’d fight Manny Pacquiao,” Hearn said. ”He’s always wanted to fight him. He’s a big global star, but it’s not an easy fight to make. The Kell Brook [vs. Khan] fight is actually very easy to make for the first time ever. I think a deal can get put together. Both guys will never be [completely] happy with the deal, but I think it’s a deal that can get put together where Kell will say, ‘I’ll take the deal. I can’t turn that down,” Hearn said.
Hearn will need to be a little more giving in the negotiations to put together a fight between Khan and Pacquiao. This isn’t a situation where Hearn has the A-side fighter like he does with IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua. Pacquiao is an old and faded fighter at this point in his career, but he’s still more popular than Khan is. If Hearn isn’t willing to acknowledge that Pacquiao requires a bigger purse than Khan, then the fight won’t get made. I’m not sure that Hearn will lose any sleep over the Khan vs. Pacquiao fight not getting put together, because the Plan-B is Brook. That’s one of Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing fighters, so it works out better for him if Khan faces Brook. It’s not Hearn’s dream for
Khan or Brook to fight Pacquiao. It’s Khan and Brook who wish to fight Pacquiao. If it doesn’t happen, then Hearn can still match Khan and Brook together and make loads of money off their fight. If there’s still enough in a second and third Khan-Brook fight, then Hearn can keep putting them in with each other. Eventually a Pacquiao-Khan or a Pacquiao-Brook fight can get made in the future, as long as the Filipino star doesn’t price himself out.
”I think the Pacquiao fight will take place early December, and the Kell Brook fight can get put together a little later in December,” Hearn said. ”In an ideal world, I think Amir would wait until February or March to fight, but Pacquiao wants to fight in December. If it’s Brook, maybe it waits until February or March. If it’s Pacquiao, I think it happens in December. If it’s going to happen in December, you’ve got two to three weeks [to put it together]” Hearn said.
Pacquiao isn’t going to wait though, and if Hearn doesn’t match Khan or Brook against him before the end of the year, he might permanently ruin their chances of fighting him. With Pacquiao, he could lose in his next fight if he faces someone a little too good. At this point, Pacquiao is at the Jeff Horn level at welterweight, and that means he’d vulnerable to getting beaten by most if not all of the top welterweights in the division. If Pacquiao faces someone like Shawn Porter, Danny Grarcia, Keith Thurman or Errol Spence, he’ll be looking at another loss. That makes it doubly important that Hearn match Khan or Brook against Pacquiao while he still can.
”Millennium Stadium, that’s the 1st, the 8th and the 15th, Kell at Millennium Stadium,” Hearn said when asked where he plans on staging the Khan vs. Brook fight.
Joshua has fought twice at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. He brought in huge crowds. Khan vs. Brook or Pacquiao might not do as well though. Those are older fighters that are no longer viewed as top level guys at 147. Brook could potentially be a top fighter at welterweight if he was still fighting in the division and if he could make weight without draining himself.
“Yeah,” Hearn said when asked if Brook is still interested in facing Pacquiao. ”He’ll want less [than Pacquiao].”