Amir Khan close to agreeing to Terence Crawford fight
By Chris Williams: Tired of waiting endlessly for Kell Brook to agree to the 10 lb rehydration clause, Amir ‘King’ Khan is close to signing to a reported $5 million contract for a fight against unbeaten World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford for March 23 at Madison Square Garden in New York, according to the Daily Mail.
Khan-Crawford needs to be done within 10 days for it to take place, according to the Daily Mail. It’s unknown why there’s such strict time limit for the negotiations to be completed, but it’s possible that Khan wants to make a move on the Brook fight immediately after his fight this Saturday night against Michael Zerafa. If the Khan vs. Crawford negotiations drag on too long, it would mess up Khan’s chances of putting together the Brook fight quickly.
Although some boxing fans are already saying that Khan is ducking Kell Brook, but they probably don’t realize how much money Khan will get by fighting Crawford. Besides the $5 million for Khan, there’s the pay-per-view upside he would be getting in a fight on ESPN+. Khan could walk away with a nice payday, and then turnaround and face Brook and make $20 million. It’s a smart move on Khan’s part to take the Crawford fight, and then follow that with a match against Brook. Khan’s British boxing fans will forgive him a lot more than American fans if he loses to Brook first and then tries to fight Crawford on ESPN+ PPV.
Crawford was supposed to be fighting 37-year-old former WBA welterweight champion Luis Collazo on March 23 on ESPN, but the fight never got made. It’s unclear what happened to keep the contest from getting done, but it could turn out well for Crawford. A fight against Khan is a much bigger deal for Crawford than a match against Collazo. Crawford has been waiting his entire 10-year pro career for a fight against one of the best fighters in boxing, and he finally is on the verge of getting one. Khan is not considered a top five welterweight, but his popularity is arguably above the arguably more talented fighters in the 147 lb weight division like Errol Spence Jr., Shawn Porter, Danny Garcia and Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman. Khan is very popular in the UK, but not so much in the U.S where he’s been exposed in losses to Saul Canelo Alvarez, Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson. Khan’s only loss on his record that took place outside of the U.S is his 1st round KO defeat at the hands of Briedis Prescott in 2008 in Manchester, England.
Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) feels that the mega-fight against the foot-dragging Kell Brook (37-2, 26 KOs) will always be there for him no matter what, but the fight with Crawford. Khan wants to fatten his legacy by fighting one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in 31-year-old Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) in order to capture the WBO 147 lb title, unseat a pound-for-pound star, and make a name for himself in the welterweight division. Although Khan has been fighting at welterweight for the last five years since 2013, he’s done next to nothing in that weight class aside from beating shop worn Luis Collazo, Devon Alexander, Chris Algieri and Samuel Vargas. Those are all B-level fighters, and not championship level guys at 147. Beating Crawford would make Khan a world champion at welterweight, and prove to a lot of fans that he’s one of the best fighters in the world in that weight class.
If there was big money offered to Khan for him to fight arguably more popular fighters than Crawford like Spence and Keith Thurman, he would likely jump at the chance to fight one of those two. Khan wants to make the most money he can with his career, and a fight against Crawford seems to be the ideal fight for him right now. Khan moved up to middleweight in 2016 for a fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez, and it turned to be a disaster for him in getting knocked cold in the 6th round. It was a good payday though for Khan. Boxing fans see Khan getting stopped by Crawford as well, but probably won’t be nearly as bad a knockout as the Canelo fight.
It would be bad news for Brook if Khan does face Crawford next. Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn might end up crying big crocodile tears if Khan faces Crawford instead of Brook. Hearn gave a speech this past week, saying that Khan and Brook owe it to the British boxing public for them to finally face each other. Hearn’s comment seemed to be a shot across the bow to the two fighters that they need to agree to get their fight done, but unfortunately it doesn’t appear that Khan is too worried about it.
As mentioned already, Khan believes the fight with Brook is always going to be there for him, but a world title shot against Crawford won’t. Who knows how long Crawford can hold onto his World Boxing Organization title. He wants to fight IBF welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr. in a unification fight, but most fans see that fight as a case of a giant locomotive [Spence] running over a small train in Crawford. Spence is just too big for Crawford, who hasn’t looked great since moving up to 147 last summer in his two fights in the division against Jose Benavidez Jr. and Jeff Horn.
Brook is fighting this Saturday night, December 8 against junior middleweight Michael Zerafa (25-2, 14 KOs) at the Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, England. Brook says it could be his final fight in Sheffield, as he plans on going after the big names starting with Khan. However, it now looks like Brook’s dream of fighting Khan in 2019 may not happen. The fight will still likely happen though, considering that Khan says he wants to fight Brook in the future, but not now.
It’s a wise move for Khan to take the Crawford fight, given that he can make a lot of money, and a loss wouldn’t hurt his chances of still getting a big money fight against Brook later on down the road. Losing to Crawford won’t be nearly as bad for Khan as it would be if he continued to fight lesser fighters like we’ve seen him doing in his last two fights against Samuel Vargas and Phil Lo Greco. Khan was dropped in the 2nd round by Vargas last September in Birmingham, and he looked troubled through much of the fight before winning an unimpressive 12 round unanimous decision. More than anything, the Khan-Vargas fight showed that Khan can’t be counted on to beat even fringe contenders in the welterweight division without the potential of him being knocked out.
Unlike Khan-Brook, Khan is about the same height and weight as Crawford. Both guys come into their fights in the mid-150s, and stand 5’8″. Brook is a guy that rehydrates to the 170s, and he would have a monstrous weight advantage over Khan. Crawford vs. Khan would be a fight between two guys that weight about the same amount.
Errol Spence Jr. is viewed as the #1 fighter at welterweight, but he’s probably too big for Khan to fight. facing Spence would be a nightmare for Khan. Further, Spence (24-0, 21 KOs) is already signed for a fight against lightweight champion Mikey Garcia (39-0, 30 KOs) on March 16 at the AT&T Stadium, Arlington. Moreover, the money Khan can make fighting Crawford is likely more than what he would get fighting Spence. Crawford’s promoters at Top Rank have deep pockets, and they have a long-term deal with ESPN, which means there will be a lot of casual boxing fans that will hear about the Crawford vs. Khan fight. It could turn either of these two fighters into stars in the U.S. Khan isn’t a star in the U.S despite being a very good fighter. Crawford is a big name in Omaha, Nebraska, but not elsewhere in the U.S.