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Khan thinks Brook isn’t serious about wanting fight

Amir Khan, Kell Brook boxing photo and news image

By Scott Gilfoid: Amir Khan thinks former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook is playing a trick on the boxing public in making them think he wants to fight him, but in reality he doesn’t. Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) points to the way Brook, 32, has been dragging his feet in their negotiations recently, as well as the low level of his opposition, as signs that he’s just kidding the public about the two of them facing each other.

Khan says he’ll move on and fight for a world title if Brook doesn’t speed up negotiations and sign. Khan has received a $5 million offer to challenge World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) on March 23 on ESPN pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden in New York. Khan can make a good some good money facing Crawford first followed by Kell. That’s not how Khan wants it though. He would prefer to fight Brook now, since that’s the whole reason he signed with his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom. Khan signed with Eddie to make the fight with Brook. little did Khan know that Brook would be resistant to the 10 lb rehydration clause that he wanted him to agree to. The rehydration shouldn’t have been a big deal for Brook, being that he had to deal with during his three years as the IBF welterweight champion from 2014 to 2017. The IBF has a 10 lb rehydration rule for their champions, who have to weigh-in a second time on the morning of their fights. Brook never had any problems with making weight. He complained after his 11th round stoppage loss to Errol Spence Jr. last year in May 2017 that it was hard for him to make the weight for the welterweight division. As such, Brook moved up to 154 to campaign as a junior middleweight. However, since moving up to 154, Brook hasn’t taken on the lions in the junior middleweight diision like many boxing fans thought he would do. Rather than face the talents at 154, Brook has taken on soft opponents in Sergey Rabchenko and now Michael Zerafa, and devoted the entire 2018 year against lower level opposition.

Brook has been resisting Khan’s request of 10 pound rehydration limit for their fight, and saying it’s not needed due to no world titles being on the line for the fight. The much lighter Khan wants to make sure that Brook doesn’t balloon up in weight after they weigh-in the day before their fight. One way of doing that is having a 10 lb rehydration limit with a secondary weigh-in on the morning of the fight. Not surprisingly, Brook wants no part of the secondary weigh-in, as it would keep him from rehydrating immediately into the 170s, and enjoy a potential 15 lb weight advantage over Khan on the night of the fight. Brook is a HUGE welterweight, weighing arguably as much middleweight Gennady Golovkin after he rehyrates for his fights in the division. Why Brook prefers to fight at welterweight rather than at middleweight is pretty to see. He didn’t handle Golovkin’s power shots well when he fought someone his own size in 2016. Brook suffered a broken eye socket in the early going, and ended up being stopped on his feet in the 5th round when stopped throwing punches. Brook was clowning in the final moments of the 5th, but not throwing punches. This forced Brook’s trainer Dominic Ingle to throw in the towel in order to save him from the indignity of being knocked out by GGG.

“He’s fooling the public,” said Khan to “If he wanted to fight me, he could have proved it in a different way by beating some decent opponents and saying ‘I’m ready for you’.”

Brook, 32, will be taking a tune-up opponent this Saturday night in Michael Zerafa (25-2, 14 KOs) on December 8 on Sky Sports at the Sheffield Arena in Sheffield, England. Khan hasn’t said whether he’ll be at ringside for the fight, but it’s believed that he will.

Here’s Brook’s reaction with the BBC Sport to the news of Khan potentially signing for a fight against WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford on March 23:

“It looks like he has run off again. I am going to go after the big names in America and the fights all the fans want. I don’t need him at all. I will be hunting these guys [welterweights] and the weight above,” Brook said.

Obviously, Brook has to be more than a little bothered at Khan moving in the direction of a world title fight against Crawford. But if Brook wants to make sure that Khan doesn’t squirm away, he can improve his chances of getting the fight with him by agreeing to the 10 lb rehydration limit that he’s asking for. If Brook is going to be stubborn about it and refuse to agree to the rehyration limit, then he can try and melt down to 147 to fight the lions at welterweight like Shawn Porter, Errol Spence Jr., Keith Thurman, Crawford, Danny Garcia and Manny Pacquiao. It’s unlikely that Brook will beat any of those fighters, but he can certainly try. If Brook loses to one or more of those guys, he’s going to hurt his earning potential for a fight against Khan when that match does eventually take place.

On the Brook vs Zerafa undercard this Saturday, 2016 Olympian Josh Kelly (8-0, 6 KOs) will be fighting a 10 round match against former WBA ‘regular’ welterweight champion David Avanesyan (23-3-1, 11 KOs). Hearn is saying that this is a step up for the 24-year-old Kelly, but it’s not much of one unfortunately. The 30-year-old Avanesyan has lost 2 out of his last 3 fights in defeats against Lamont Peterson and Egidijus Kavaliauskas. Avaneysan was knocked out in the 6th round by Kavaliauskas last February on a Top Rank boxing card on ESPN. The logical question is why didn’t Hearn line Kelly up with a fight against Peterson or Kavaliauskas rather than the guy that they beat in Avanesyan? It’s kind of an odd move on Hearn’s part to match Kelly against a fighter that has a 1-2 record in his last three fights.

Kelly recently said that he wants to avenge his loss to 2016 Olympic gold medalist Daniyar Yeleussinov, who trounced him in the competition that year. Yeleussinov (5-0, 3 KOs) is looking sensational since turning pro earlier this year, and he’s signed with Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing stable, which makes it an easy thing for Kelly and him to face each other. While has been doing a lot of talking about Kelly’s career and saying that he’s on his way to winning a world title at 147, he’s been relatively quiet about the career of the 27-year-old southpaw Yeleussinov. It’s interesting that Hearn isn’t hyping the arguably far more talented Yeleussinov, who comes from Kazakshtan, and is looking sensational. Kelly says he wants a rematch with Yeleussinov, but it’s unlikely that’s going to happen. Hearn wants to turn Kelly into a star in the UK, but if he lets Yeleussinov fight him again, it could go badly for Josh. Hearn is a smart promoter, and he obviously knows the limitations of his fighters, so he probably won’t let Yeleussinov get anywhere near the homegrown Kelly.

“I’m down for the rematch with Daniyar Yeleussinov,” said Kelly. “He beat me in the Olympics but as a professional I’ve made the transition much better than he has. When’s the right time to meet? When does it make sense? Those questions are to play out but we’re definitely on a collision course. I’ll enjoy that one in particular, there’s unfinished business,” Kelly said.

From this writer’s perspective, Yeleussinov looks like the far better pro than Kelly. Nothing has changed since the two of them were amateurs in the 2016 Olympics. Two years have passed by since their bout, but Yeleussinov still looks like the far better fighter than Kelly. It’s unclear why Kelly would think that anything would change in such a short period. Given the way that Yeleussinov beat Kelly in such a one-sided manner, it would take a ton of improvement for him to catch up and surpass the Kazakhstan fighter in the talent department. Kelly hasn’t shown that improvement. As a pro, Kelly has wins over former junior middleweight champion Carlos Molina, Kris George and Walter Fabian Castillo. There’s no one on Kelly’s resume that jumps out at you. A win over Avanesyan this Saturday won’t do much for Kelly. Hearn needs to step him up against a live body at 147 like Jeff Horn, Jamal James, Thomas Dulorme, Devon Alexander, Andre Berto, Luis Collazo, Bakhtiyar Eyubov, Fabian Maidana or Karman Lejarraga. Those are good fringe level contenders in the welterweight division. Kelly needs to be fighting them in order to improve and show that he has the talent to challenge for a world title some day.

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