By Charles Brun: Amir Khan says he’s got one or two fights left in him before he retires from the sport. He says he’ll be fighting in September or October, and a match against his long awaited nemesis Kell Brook (38-2, 26 KOs) interests him greatly. Khan still feels he’s at the top of his game at 32-years-old, but he’s thinking of moving on with his life retiring after one or two more fights.
Khan (33-5, 20 KOs) is coming off of a sixth round injury stoppage at the hands of WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford last month on ESPN pay-per-view on April 20 at Madison Square Garden in New York. Khan put in a good effort, but he was injured by a hard blow from Crawford in the sixth round. Khan’s trainer Virgil Hunter chose to pull him out of the fight when he looked like he wasn’t going to be able to shake off the effects of the low blow quickly enough to continue fighting.
Although Khan took heat for letting his trainer stop the fight, it was the smart thing to do under the circumstances. Crawford, 31, was dominating the fight for the most part, and he likely would have finished Khan off in the sixth round if he wasn’t fully recovered from the low blow. Some boxing fans believe that Crawford hit Khan low out of frustration, because he was starting to land shots on him in the last two rounds. It was no longer the one-sided that it had been for Crawford in the the four rounds.
“I still feel I’m better than the guys like Danny Garcia, Lamont Peterson, Keith Thurman, Manny Pacquiao. Those fights could be big still,” Khan said to thenational.ae. “I’m still in the top 10 in the world and I want to fight someone in the top 10 for my next fight. Hopefully that will be in October or November time.”
If Khan is serious about wanting to retire after one or two fights, then he needs to make his next match count by taking on the biggest name that he can. Khan mentions wanting to face former IBF welterweight champion Brook before he retires. However, the timing for that fight isn’t good right now, because Brook has been chasing after Crawford for a fight, and it’s very likely the Nebraska native’s promoters at Top Rank will make that fight next. If Khan fight is going to fight in October or November, then it probably won’t be against Brook. If Brook fights Crawford next, he’ll likely lose. If Khan decides he wants to fight Brook after that, there might be less interest from British boxing fans in seeing the two face each other under those circumstances. Khan vs. Brook won’t interest U.S boxing fans unfortunately. Brook’s recent fights haven’t been shown in the U.S
“Kell Brook still excites me. It’s a fight that’s always there. People say it’s a 50/50 fight, but I believe I would take out Kell Brook in six or seven rounds,” Khan said. “That’s the fight that would be an easy sell. We’re with the same promoter in Eddie Hearn. I would like to take that fight. He’s a great fighter, Kell, he’s done a lot in the game. And that would be a massive fight in the UK. I want to have my next fight in the UK. And if it’s Kell, it’s Kell.”
Khan-Brook will still sell in the UK, but probably not anywhere near where it would have been had the two fought each other years ago when they were both still at the top of their games. It would be good if their promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing could have them both win one fight at least before facing each other, but that’s probably asking too much of them. Brook has been taking heavy criticism from boxing fans for devoting all of 2018 in fighting mediocre opposition in Sergey Rabchenko and Michael Zerafa. Brook can’t continue to fight this level of opposition without further eroding his popularity. Brook is at the point where he absolutely needs to fight someone good, be it Crawford, Khan, Jaime Munguia or Danny Garcia. Brook’s stoppage losses to Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence hurt his popularity, and he made things worse by devoting all of 2018 in taking taking tune-ups. The boxing public would have been fine with Brook taking one tune-up against Rabchenko before getting back in there with elite level opposition, but not taking two tune-ups like he did. It came across to the fans like Brook was just waiting endlessly for the Khan fight so that he could cash out. A lot of boxing fans no longer take Brook seriously as a top level fighter. They view him an over-the-hill guy looking for one last big payday before he walks away from the sport.
Brook will certainly be excited at the news of Khan finally showing interest in facing him. This is a match-up that Kell has been wanting for the last 10 years. He’s finally on the cusp of getting that fight. It’s too bad that it’s so late in the game for both of them. This could have been such a great fight if the two of them had met up back in 2010 or 2011 rather than now. Khan vs. Brook has clearly reached it’s sell by date, and it’s a stale fight that won’t interest a lot of the younger boxing fans, who never got a chance to see these two fighters when they were in their prime. The older hardcore fans obviously remember Khan and Brook, and they know that they never proved themselves against the best. Khan’s best win of his career is arguably his victory over Marcos Maidana in 2010, that was a life and death battle. Brook’s best win of his career was his clinch-filled 12 round majority decision over Shawn Porter in August 2014. That fight was like watching former heavyweight world champion John Ruiz use his old punch-and-grab technique to foil his opponents. It worked for Brook, but it was such a horrible fight to watch.
Khan still has the talent to beat some of the best welterweights in the division, but it’s going to be difficult for him to get those fights given his lack of success lately. Khan has lost two out of his last four fights. He can forget about fighting Spence, and it’s doubtful Keith Thurman or Manny Pacquiao will agree to fight him. Aside from a fight with Brook, Khan’s best bet would be to try and arrange a rematch with Danny Garcia. Khan was knocked out by Garcia in the fourth round in 2012. Now that Garcia has suffered losses to Thurman and Porter, he’s going to need guys that he can compete with and possibly beat. Khan would be an ideal opponent for Danny. Last month, Garcia defeated fringe contender Adrian Granados by a seventh round knockout on April 20th in Carson, California. Khan would be a step up from Granados for Garcia, and he likely would agree to take the fight. Garcia wants to face Thurman, Pacquiao, Porter or Spence, but those fighters have other fights coming up, and they’re not available right now. If Khan is open to facing Garcia, that would be a doable match. A lot of boxing fans in the U.S and the UK would like to see a rematch between Khan and Danny Garcia.