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Hearn says Brook wants Crawford or Khan next

Amir Khan Kell Brook

By Charles Brun: Kell Brook has set his sights on a mega-fight against either WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford or Amir Khan for his next fight, according to his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. Brook (38-2, 26 KOs) will NOT be fighting on the undercard of IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr. on June 1.

Brook wants to focus on getting either the title shot against the unbeaten Crawford (35-0, 26 KOs) or a mega-fight with Khan (33-5, 20 KOs), which would be a stadium level fight in the UK if Hearn can put it together.

”He’s not fighting June 1st,” Hearn said to about the 33-year-old Brook. “He just wants to jump into a mega fight now. He wants the Terence Crawford fight; we’ll see if the Amir Khan fight can ever materialise. It’s still a big fight, it’s still a fight people want to see.”

Brook’s chances of getting his dream fight against Khan are higher than ever now. Khan said recently that he could be retiring after a couple of fights, and he says he’s interested in fighting Brook. It remains to be seen. WBA ‘regular’ welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao doesn’t an opponent yet for his next fight. Pacquiao vs. Khan would still interest a lot of boxing fans in the U.S and worldwide. You can imagine that if Pacquiao’s management offer the fight to Khan, he’ll grab it with both hands rather than take the Brook fight. Brook doesn’t have a world title, as he’s backed off completely from fighting world level opposition since losing his IBF welterweight strap to Errol Spence Jr. in May 2017. That loss took a lot out of Brook, both physically and mentally. Since that fight, Brook has fought just twice, beating lower level fighters Michael Zerafa and Sergey Rabchenko. Brook has been criticized by him saying that he was going to take over the 154 pound weight class when he moved up in weight. That didn’t happen obviously.

Brook moved up to junior middleweight alright, but his only two fights in the last two years have come against lower fringe level fighters Rabchenko and Zerafa. What Brook has mostly been doing is waiting on the Khan fight, and not competing. It’s as if Brook has intentionally frozen his own career waiting and hoping for the Khan. If there was no possibility at all for a fight against Khan, Brook likely would have been fighting all this time against world class. Instead, Brook took two tune-up fight against lesser fighter, thinking that the Khan fight would happen in 2018 or early 2019. When it didn’t happen, Brook had nothing to show for both of those years. He’s crippled his own career waiting on a Khan fight that’s never happened, and it may never happen.

Khan, 32, was stopped in the sixth round in his last fight by Crawford on April 20 in a pay-per-view fight on ESPN at Madison Square Garden in New York. Crawford ended the fight with a low blow. Some boxing fans think Khan quit. Whether he did or not will never be known. What’s clear is Khan was getting dominated throughout the fight, and appeared to be on his way to being knocked out when his trainer Virgil Hunter pulled him out of the fight after Crawford hit him with a hard low blow. Some fans think Crawford hit Khan intentionally out of frustration because he was starting to have flashes of success in the fifth and sixth rounds after being outclassed in rounds one through four.

If Crawford fouls his future opponents when they start doing well against him, then one can make a connection with those incidents an with how the Khan fight ended. It’s going to be a different story for Crawford at 147 than it was at 140 when he was mostly being matched against lesser opposition like John Molina Jr., Viktor Postol, Felix Diaz, Thomas Dulorme, Hank Lundy, Dierry Jean and Raymundo Beltran. None of those guys elite level 140-pound fighters.

Hearn doesn’t know what Khan will decide to do for his next fight. Hearn says there’s still interest in a fight between Khan and Brook, but not as much as there was a year ago. He thinks it’s still a fight that will attract interest in the UK, but he’s not certain whether it’ll happen or not. The basic problem is, Khan still has options for good paydays in the U.S against ACTIVE fighters like Danny Garcia, Pacquiao and even Keith Thurman. The difference between those guys and Brook is they’re active with their careers. Brook has stopped fighting against world class opposition while waiting on match against Khan that may never happen. It’s kind of sad really. If it was Hearn that told Brook to freeze his career for the last two years while waiting on a Khan fight, then that was a major mistake. Brook and Hearn should have known by now that Khan isn’t interested in that fight. He wants to take on other guys that are better known in the U.S.

The average American boxing fan only knows Brook from his stoppage loss to Spence, and his controversial, clinch-filled 12 round majority decision victory over Shawn Porter in 2014. Brook isn’t a well known guy in the United States. Since that’s where Khan fights mostly, it’s natural that he would focus on facing fighters that the American public are more familiar with like Crawford, Spence, Thurman, Porter, Danny Garcia and Pacquiao. Even a fight between Khan and Adrien Broner would be an interesting one right now. The U.S would likely prefer seeing Khan fight Broner than they would in him fighting Brook. That’s not a knock on Brook. Broner is more active than Brook, and he’s from the U.S. For all intents and purposes, Brook is invisible as a fighter due to his decision to stop fighting world class opposition.

“Khan didn’t really take a lot of damage in the Crawford fight, so we’ll have to see,” Hearn said.

Hearn is right about Khan not taking a lot of damage in the Crawford fight. However, Khan’s popularity, such as it is, likely did take a hit from his performance against Crawford. Both guys came out of that fight not looking good in the eyes of the fans. Crawford won the fight, but it looked to some boxing fans like he resorted to fouling when he got frustrated at Khan not caving in the way he wanted him to. The timing for a fight between Khan and Brook isn’t good right now. To make that fight big, both fighters need to get a couple of wins under their belts. If Brook isn’t certain that a fight with Crawford can get made, then he needs to fight June 1 on the undercard of Joshua-Ruiz at MSG in New York.

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