Hearn expects Khan to face Brook next
By Tim Royner: Eddie Hearn says Amir Khan should take the fight Kell Brook for the sake of his country rather than choosing to face WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford next in the United States. Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) is still considering his options for his next bout. While Amir would like to face Brook to finally prove what he’s known for a long time about him being far superior to him in the talent department, he wants to dethrone the unbeaten Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) of his World Boxing Organization 147 pound title first. If Khan wanted the fight with Crawford, he likely would have pulled the trigger quickly on that match-up like he did with the Phil Lo Greco and Samuel Vargas fights.
The Brook fight will always be there for Khan, but not Crawford, who has designs of facing IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. (24-0, 21 KOs) in a unification fight. Crawford will likely lose to Spence when the time comes for them to face each other. Crawford is a good welterweight, and he was considered to be the best when he was at 135 and 140, but he’s moved up a little too far in weight. He’s going to find out that going up in weight seven pounds is a step too far. It’s one thing for Crawford to beat fighters like John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Julius Indongo and Felix Diaz at light welterweight, and a completely different thing to take on a big welterweight like Spence Jr. Khan, 31, wants to get to Crawford before he loses to Spence, because once that happens, there won’t be much need to fight him.
“It’s whether he fights [Terence] Crawford or [Kell] Brook. It can go either way,” Eddie Hearn said to IFL TV. “I think he’s torn. He wants to fight Brook, but he loves the opportunity to fight Crawford in America. If he doesn’t fight Brook, people in this country will say, ‘You ducked Kell Brook.’ If he doesn’t fight Crawford, no one is going to say anything. No one is going to say, ‘You ducked Crawford.’ So I think he should fight Kell Brook.”
Hearn wants Khan to fight Brook (38-2, 26 KOs) right now, not later on after he’s fought Crawford. Hearn doesn’t say it, but it could be that he’s worried that Khan will take another knockout loss if he challenges Crawford, 31, for his WBO title. Another loss for Khan might hurt the pay-per-view sales for a fight against Brook back home in the UK. Many British boxing fans would still likely gladly purchase the Khan-Brook fight under those conditions, but there could be a lot fewer buys than if Khan were to simply take the fight with Brook right now in their next fight in March or April.
Hearn obviously doesn’t want to see the PPV money drop off from the Khan vs. Brook fight, because that’s money that would also help Matchroom Boxing. It’s not just Khan and Brook that will be profiting on their fight. It’s one of those fights that raises all boats. Hearn will do well, Matchroom will do well, and the fighters signed with that stable will do well if they’re lucky enough to wind up on the undercard.
Hearn wants to increase the value of his fighters in his Matchroom promotion, and one way for him to do that is to stick as many as he can on the Khan vs. Brook undercard in 2019. Of course, Hearn can’t do that if Khan chooses to fight Crawford, and winds up getting knocked out by him. A loss for Khan would wipe the smile of Hearn’s face, leaving him grimacing and wondering what he can do to try and get the British boxing fans excited for a Khan-Brook fight afterwards. It’ll be tough for Hearn to rehabilitate Khan’s image if he gets smashed by Crawford.
“My gut feeling now is he’ll fight Kell Brook,” Hearn said in predicting who Khan will face next. “He may look at the Kell Brook fight after [Michael] Zerafa and say, ‘I can beat Kell Brook, and I can stop him.’ I think that’s what Amir believes. Amir believes he’ll knockout Kell Brook, and he really believes that after the last fight. I think it would kill him to lose to Kell Brook. I think they both would have unhappy retirements if they lost that fight. It would leave a horrible taste in your mouth. That’s what makes it such a big fight. The fear of losing to a bloke you can’t stand,” Hearn said.
It helps that Brook has agreed to the weight rehydration clause that Khan wants for the fight. Khan is asking for a 10 pound rehydration limit that will keep Brook from coming in over 157 pounds on the morning of the fight for the second day weigh-in. Brook was reluctant initially to agree to the rehydration limit, but once he realize that he wasn’t going to get the fight with Khan unless he agreed, he finally accepted it. However, Khan still hasn’t committed to the fight despite Brook agreeing to the rehydration limit, but obviously Kell agreeing to it helps remove the last impediment from keeping the fight from taking place. If Khan still doesn’t want to take the fight with Brook right now, then that’s his decision based on him not being ready to make the fight no matter what hoops Kell jumps through to try and make it happen.
This is about what fight Amir Khan takes. There’s more money in the Brook fight than the Crawford fight. It’s the fight his country wants, so give it to them,” Hearn said.
There is more money for Khan and Brook in them facing each other rather than someone else. Brook doesn’t have as many options as Khan does, as he’s a big welterweight, and he’ll have a hard time getting the top fighters in the 147 pound weight class to fight him like Danny Garcia, Shawn Porter, Keith Thurman and Manny Pacquiao. Errol Spence wasn’t afraid to fight Brook, but that’s because he’s a huge welterweight with major punching power. The other top welterweights aren’t as big as Spence, and they know they would have a good chance of losing to Brook if they fought him. The top welterweights aren’t afraid to fight Khan though, considering that he’s been knocked out a number of times, and he’s not someone that is going to rehyrate into the 170s after he makes weight. Brook needs to make the Khan fight happen, due to that being the biggest fight he’s got available right now. Brook has options at 154 if he elects to fight the top guys in that division, but those are tougher fights because he won’t have a size advantage over thoe fighters.