Khan Vs Brook: Only One Of Them Seems To Really Want It. And It's Not Amir Khan.

by Andy Clarke
24th Apr 2018

It was the comeback we expected from Amir Khan on Saturday night.

In front of a sold-out Echo Arena in Liverpool and live on Sky Sports the former world champion blew Phil Lo Greco away in just 39 seconds.

But without wishing to be too unkind to Lo Greco, who certainly did his share when it came to promoting the fight, if not when the bell actually rang, it was only once the Canadian had been disposed of that the evening's more meaningful confrontation materialised.

Step forward Kell Brook

The Sheffield fighter made an impressive return to the ring himself back in March, despatching former European champion Sergey Rabchenko in a couple of rounds, and found his way into the ring on Saturday almost as soon as referee Victor Loughlin had stepped and waved the bout over.

Brook vs Khan, or Khan vs Brook is a fight that simply has to happen and it should happen soon; it should be the next fight the pair of them take; there's just no need to wait. But wait they probably will.

Brook can scarcely hide his contempt for Khan whenever he's in the Bolton man's company, and it was etched all over his face once again when the two verbally sparred in front of the Sky cameras. Brook wants the fight and he wants it badly; there's nothing the former IBF Welterweight champion would like more than the opportunity to go at it mano a mano with someone he truly seems to despise, so much so that he's even prepared to beat his body down to 147lbs once again to make it happen, something he swore he could never do again following last May's defeat to Errol Spence in the open air of Bramall Lane.

But does Khan want a piece of Brook? The fact that he decided to sign for a three fight dance with Eddie Hearn, a man he previously seemed to regard as the devil, and Brook's long-time promoter, surely suggests he does. Amir made that very point himself but what came next was somewhat confusing. He patronised Kell, something he's made a habit of doing down the years, by accusing him of trading off the more illustrious King Khan name and then accused his rival of running from him before fleeing to the other side of the ring without waiting for a response.

It was a curious dynamic. A boxer's words and actions can be very revealing in the direct aftermath of a fight, even one as brief as Saturday's. They call the boxing ring the four corners of truth for a reason, a man is stripped bare in there, and almost always his actions or words will betray what he's really feeling. And it seemed to me that when it came to Khan, actions spoke louder than words. He said he wanted the fight but before his words had barely settled he'd turned his back and was gone. 

Brook was just left standing there, frustrated at his enemy's refusal to engage in what he would have been hoping would have been a very standard boxing set piece but one that in the end left more questions than answers.

So to break it down:

  • Does Brook want to fight Khan? Yes. There's nothing he wants more. He'd fight him tomorrow in Khan's back garden if the money was right.
  • Does Khan want to fight Brook? Not yet. 
  • Why? Because he's now had just 39 seconds of action in the last two years and has just teamed up with a new trainer in Joe Goossen. He wants more time, and that's understandable.
  • Will he get more time? Yes. But not much. One more fight and then it will have to happen. 
  • Is there a danger the fight will pass its sell-by-date and the British boxing public will cease to care? No. This is the British Mayweather vs Pacquaio and whenever it happens these two warriors will sell out a stadium and generate possibly a million buys on pay per view. Which leads me to the final reason why the fight will happen, regardless of who does or doesn't really want it. Money. It will make too much of it for it not to happen. Boxing, probably more than any other, is a sport in which money talks. It's showbusiness with blood and has a very straightforward relationship with cold, hard cash; quite simply, if a fight will make enough of it, then it will happen.

One more fight each for the pair of them, and not one either could lose, and then they'll get it on. Amir Khan and Kell Brook need each other, whether they both like it or not.

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