The last time Eddie Hearn tried to finally put Amir Khan vs Kell Brook together, he wound up sorely disappointed. He watched as, after he carefully set up the bout for 2019, Khan instead opted to end a three-fight Matchroom Boxing deal by taking a WBO welterweight title shot against Terence Crawford, leaving Brook sidelined for over a year.
Khan had a debacle of a night against Crawford, out-classed and quitting in the sixth round, which he made worse in public opinion by fervently denying he’d “quit.” It was a disaster for ESPN pay-per-view, too; there was interest in the fight for sure, just not “actually paying for it” interest. Khan was last seen in a lousy mismatch win over former featherweight titlist Billy Dib in the summer of 2019 in Saudi Arabia, and has been pretty quiet since.
Brook sat out all of 2018 before returning in early 2020 to beat Mark Deluca in a tune-up fight, then took his own shot at Crawford in November, where he was knocked silly in the fourth round.
Brook is now 34, he turns 35 in May. Khan just turned 34 in December. There is no question that both fighters are past their primes, their peak days a memory. Each of them still has some ability, mind you, these guys are still better than the vast majority of fighters in boxing, but they’re not serious threats anymore, either at 147 or 154.
So even though the best time to make Khan vs Brook has come and gone, is there still value in the fight?
“I text Kell and spoke to Amir, we will catch up. For novelty? It is still a competitive, intriguing fight. It’s not on the immediate radar but if we sit down and it works out? I’d like to see it.”
The “For novelty?” part reads as somewhat passive-aggressive, at least to me; given we’re in a world where YouTube “influencers” are fighting washed-up basketball players and old farts are making big money to pretend to fight, calling Khan-Brook “novelty” is maybe a little harsh. But I do get what Hearn means.
And really, I agree with him that there’s still some intrigue in the matchup. No, it’s not what it was going to be. And if all you’re interested in with the sport of boxing is the best fighting the best, then it’s not for you. But man, that leaves you with very little boxing to watch, huh?
Khan (34-5, 21 KO) and Brook (39-3, 27 KO) have a years-long grudge that still simmers. It would be a fight for pride and to settle a beef, and my guess is it would still sell pretty well in the United Kingdom; maybe later in the year if they’re able to get fans into venues again, and even on pay-per-view in the UK. This fight remains a relatively easy sell. It wouldn’t be a mega blockbuster like Fury-Joshua would/will be, but it could easily make a solid profit. These are still arguably the two best British welterweights in boxing, and they’re certainly the two with the most name value.
As an American “outsider,” you can still count me as interested. I don’t mind fights like this, and frankly I think there’s a lot more value in matching these two against one another at this stage of their careers than there is in serving them up to a top prospect as a scalp, or watching either of them stay busy with another easy fight or two and putting them back in with a top name.
If they’re going to fight again — and both of them most likely will — the fight to make is with each other. It’s overdue, but it’s not dead. Ricky Hatton vs Junior Witter in 2010 still would have had some intrigue and decent interest, and so would Khan-Brook in 2021.