By Trevor Mcintyre: Amir ‘King’ Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) says he could face former IBF welterweight champion Kell ‘Special’ One’ Brook (38-2, 26 KOs) in March or April, and that he sees himself winning the fight. Khan told Berkeley Assets that he would have stopped Brook, 32, in the 6th round had it been himself the ring on December 8 rather than fringe junior middleweight contender Michael Zerafa (25-3, 14 KOs).
Brook looked sluggish in laboring to an unimpressive 12 round unanimous decision win over the 26-year-old Zerafa in their World Boxing Association 154 lb title eliminator fight.
The WBA surprisingly made the Brook-Zerafa fight a title eliminator at junior middleweight. It was supposed to be a just a tune-up fight for Brook, but the WBA saw the match-up as a good enough one for their organization to make it a title eliminator. Brook is now the mandatory for WBA Super World junior middleweight champion Jarrett Hurd. Few boxing fans believe Brook will ever take that fight though, especially given how bad he looked in beating Zerafa.
“I think having that long layoff like he he had can harm your body,” Khan said to Berkeley Assets about Kell Brook. “Plus, a lot of people have said outside the gym, he hasn’t lived a professional life.”
Brook has missed a lot of action due to the two eye injuries he suffered in his fights against Errol Spence Jr. and Gennady Golovkin in 2016 an 2017. Brook suffered broken eye sockets in both fights. Brook’s latest layoff of nine months following his 2nd round knockout win over Sergey Rabchenko on March 3 is more his and his promoter Eddie Hearn’s fault. Brook should have been back inside the ring within four months of his wipe-out win over Rabchenko. There was zero reason for Brook to sit out of the ring for 9 months after his win over Rabchenko. Brook was supposed to have fought last summer against junior middleweight contender Brandon Cook on the undercard of Dillian Whyte vs. Joseph Parker, but he suffered an ankle injury and had to pull out. Cook ended up being destroyed by 21-year-old World Boxing Organization junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia in three rounds on September 15. That shows you the kind of opponent that Hearn was looking to match against Brook for his canceled fight last Summer. When Brook did finally did come back, he was matched against a weaker fighter in Zerafa instead of a strong contender in the mold of Julian ‘J-Rock’ Williams.
Khan, 31, has very little room to talk when discussing Brook’s long layoff. Khan was out of the ring for two years after his 6th round knockout loss to Saul Canelo Alvarez in May 2016. Khan made a comeback in 2018, and he’s since beaten Phil Lo Greco and Samuel Vargas. Lo Greco is a gatekeeper level fighter, and Vargas is a fringe contender.
“Look, we have the same promoter. we’ve talked,” Khan said. “We have the same promoter in Eddie Hearn, so hopefully that fight can happen in March or April.”
Khan and Brook’s promoter Eddie Hearn is willing to do anything to facilitate making the fight in the first quarter of 2019. Hearn has worked both sides of the fence to try and get his two prima donnas to agree to the fight. The major break through in the negotiations came this past week with Brook agreeing to the 10 lb rehydration clause that Khan wants for the fight. Brook has already agreed to the 147 pound weigh-in limit. If the fight doesn’t happen now, it’ll be due Khan not wanting it. It’s important that Brook takes the fight, as he’s not likely solid enough to beat the best fighters in the 154 lb weight class. Brook’s fragile eye sockets would make him vulnerable against the hard punchers at junior middleweight like Hurd, Jaime Munguia and Jermell Charlo. It looks like Brook realizes that he’s not cut out for the junior middleweight division, which is why he’s talking so much about wanting to fight the elite in the welterweight division. Khan doesn’t fit the category of being elite at 147, but he’s still a popular fighter i the UK if not the rest of the world.
“If that had been me inside the same ring with him that night, I probably would have stopped him in the 6 rounds,” Khan said. “But if the fight is happening in March or April, I definitely will get the win.”
Brook had a lot of issues in beating Zerafa by the scores 118-110, 119-108 and 117-111. The scores don’t accurately reflect the issues Zerafa presented for Brook. Zerafa was connecting with a lot of 1-2 combinations in the championship rounds against a tired-looking Brook, and there was a little bit of concern whether Brook would be able to hold on to get the victory or not. Brook broke down in the 11th round against Errol Spence Jr. last year in quitting on one knee to get out of the fight. Zerafa didn’t possess the power of Spence, but he was hitting hard enough to give Brook something to think about.
The rehydration clause that Khan wants has some boxing fans looking down on him, but he had a bad experience in his brutal knockout loss to Canelo Alvarez. You can understand why Khan would want to do anything possible to avoid that from happening again. The 10 pound weight clause that Khan is insisting on is one way for him to make the fight with Brook fairer. If Brook rehydrates to 175 lbs on the night, Khan could find himself outweighed by 20 lbs, and he would have no chance of winning with that kind of disadvantage. Khan will probably come into the fight in the mid-150s against a much heavier Brook. Even with the 10 lb rehydration clause in effect, Brook will still likely be at 170 lbs when he steps foot inside the ring. The only way Khan is going to be able to deal with a fighter that size is if he boxes Brook in the early rounds, and then goes for the knockout late in the fight when Kell wears down. Brook wants the fight so badly that he would likely jump through any hoops to get it. The money is going to be so good for Brook that it would be worth it putting himself at a disadvantage for just this one fight. If things workout well for Brook, he’ll get a rematch with Khan, and he’ll be able to double his retirement money.