Khan: ‘The Kell Brook fight could come after Crawford’
By Tim Royner: Amir Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) says his April 20th fight against Terence Crawford doesn’t mean he still can’t face Kell Brook in the near future. Khan says his fight with Brook (38-2, 26 KOs) can still happen after he faces the unbeaten Crawford (34-0, 25 KOs) for his World Boxing Organization welterweight title on April 20 on ESPN PPV.
Brook said he would lose interest in a fight with Khan if it doesn’t take place next. However, with the slim options that Brook has for big paydays, he’ll likely still be interested in facing Khan no matter how badly he loses to Crawford on April 20.
Khan says he would have likely fought Brook, 32, if he didn’t take the fight with Crawford, which he feels is the bigger global match-up. Brook is a good opponent domestically for Khan, but not so much as far as worldwide attention. The reason for that is obvious. Brook has fought outside of the UK just twice in his 15-year career against Luis Galarza and Shawn Porter. Few U.S boxing fans paid attention to Brook’s mismatch against Galarza in December 2011 in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Brook has mostly been heard about from worldwide boxing fans in his fights against Gennady Golovkin, Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter.
Brook did not look good in any of those fights. Brook broke down and was halted by GGG and Spence, and in his fight with Porter, he was clinching frequently and not making it entertaining for the boxing American boxing fans, who prefer to see action rather than holding when watching the sport.
“If this fight didn’t come, then I think it would have been the Brook fight,” said Khan to skysports.com. “But I think the Brook fight is still going to be there, and it could be after this fight.”
From Brook’s perspective, it’s not a good deal that Khan is facing a guy that has a very good chance of knocking him out and not just beating him on April 20. Khan losing to Crawford will be bad enough, but if he gets knocked out badly in the process, it’s going to take away a lot from a fight with Brook that would come immediately after in 2019. If you’re Brook, you can’t be happy to see Khan fighting a talented fighter like Crawford. So many things can wrong for Khan in that fight.
If Khan is knocked unconscious like he was in his loss to Saul Canelo Alvarez in 2016, he might need another extended rest from boxing to recover from the stoppage or whatever injuries he sustains in the fight. Khan was out of action for two years after his loss to Canelo. If we see a repeat of that, then Brook will be waiting around for Khan to stop licking his wounds until 2021.
Despite Crawford having now won three division world titles, Khan, a struggling fighter, represents his toughest test of his 11-year career. That kind of tells you a lot about the type of opposition that his promoters at Top Rank Boxing has been matching him with.
Up until now, Crawford’s best three opponents of his career has been a past his prime and much smaller Yuriorkis Gamboa, Ricky Burns and Jose Benavidez Jr. Those are not exactly the murderer’s row of fighters that Crawford has fought. His three division world titles shows how easy it is for fighters to capture world titles when matched against the right guy. The fighters that boxing fans want to see Crawford facing are Errol Spence Jr., Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman, Shawn Porter, Manny Pacquiao and Danny Garcia. Khan is more or less yesterday’s news, a fighter who has done nothing with his career since he lost his IBF/WBA light welterweight titles to Lamont Peterson in 2011. That’s a long time ago. Just losing to Peterson is bad enough. Peterson is a decent fighter, but he’s been exposed by Lucas Matthysse, Danny Garcia, Tim Bradley and Errol Spence. Peterson was just toyed with by Spence last year in January in getting stopped in the 7th round. It was a one-sided mismatch.
“When I got the phone call for this fight, I couldn’t say no to it, because it’s got a world title on the line, an unbeaten fighter,” Khan said about his fight with Crawford. “They had Kell Brook there as well, but for me, this is probably globally a bigger fight.”
Crawford vs. Khan is a bigger fight globally than Khan-Brook, but it doesn’t compare to the excitement that would be generated if Amir took on the likes of Keith Thurman or Errol Spence. Those fights would generate more interest because those are well established welterweights. Crawford is more or less the new kid on the block at 147, having spent most of his career at lightweight and light welterweight. Crawford has only had two fights since moving up to welterweight, and those were against his promoter’s fighters at Top Rank in Jeff Horn and Jose Benavidez Jr. Crawford picked up what some boxing fans call a ‘paper title’ in defeating Horn by a ninth round knockout last summer. Crawford didn’t have to earn his WBO title the hard way by beating Spence, Thurman or Shawn Porter.
The money that Khan was offered to face Crawford, a potential $5 million, is a lot more than what he would likely receive fighting the arguably more popular welterweights Thurman or Spence. What Khan is doing is going for two paydays against Crawford and Brook instead of just one. Khan is assuming that his British boxing fans will still be willing to pay to see him fight Brook later in 2019, even if he’s coming off of a knockout loss to Crawford. Khan is likely expecting a certain amount of boxing fans in the UK to not bother ordering his fight with Brook if he goes into the fight under those circumstances, but enough of them will still be willing to pay to see the Khan-Brook fight for it to make a lot of money for both guys.
At this point, the Khan vs. Brook fight is no longer an interesting fight in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans. Both guys appear to be shot, and not capable of beating the best fighters in their respective divisions, if they were.
Khan taking a fight against Crawford in April will now put pressure on Brook for him to face a good opponent. Kell can’t continue to fight the level of poor opposition that he’s been facing lately for him to keep his popularity. Brook has kind of been forgotten by a lot of boxing fans, and seen as a guy on his way out of the sport due to him facing weak fighters in Sergey Rabchenko and Michael Zerafa. For a fighter to stay at the top of the sport, they need to show that they’re willing to fight the best. We haven’t seen that from Brook. He’s been taking the easy fights, looking like a guy that is priming himself for one big cash out fight to retire on against Khan. Some boxing fans see that as pathetic, and it’s arguably worse than it would be if that fighter stepped it up and fought someone that has a good chance of beating them. Brook has fight offers against Jermell Charlo and Jarrett Hurd that he could take if he were willing to courageous and risk suffering another loss. Unfortunately, if Brook does choose to fight, he’s likely going to face former two division world champion Jessie Vargas next on April 6 on DAZN. Vargas revealed this week that negotiations are underway for a fight between him and Brook for April 6. That’s another weak fight for Brook, as Vargas hasn’t won a fight in two years since his victory over journeyman Aaron Herrera. Brook has come up empty in his last two fights against Adrien Broner and Thomas Dulorme in fighting to 12 round draws in both of those fights.