Yorkshire vs Lancashire. Kell Brook vs Amir Khan. Will we ever see it?

Photo Credit: Lawrence Lustig

Umar Ahmed

For years, boxing fans have demanded for the two welterweights to settle their differences in the ring, but until now, those fans have been let down countless times. Talks of the fight have picked up once again. In mid-December, Khan sent out a bold tweet to Brook, which has led to mass interest in the fight once again. The pair have exchanged harsh words on national TV before, as well as on twitter, but the fight has always fallen through. We have to bear in mind that we have been at this stage before, and so there’s no guarantee of it happening.

However, with Khan reaching the end of his career, and with him talking up the fight more than ever before, this may be his last opportunity for a massive payday in the UK, and in essence, he may use the fight as a cash out of boxing. I could spend all day talking about the rivalry between the two, and their history, but assuming this does get made, let’s look at the two boxers and breakdown the fight itself.

In terms of big name victories, pedigree and experience, Khan is miles ahead. We don’t know whether this maybe a factor in the fight, but the names Khan has beaten proves he’s a world class operator. His best performance to date for me was against Devon Alexander. Going into the fight, many picked the American to win. However, in a near punch perfect performance, Khan won by unanimous decision, and straight after the victory, talks of the Mayweather fight we’re becoming serious, and with good reason. Khan has beaten a long list of credible opponents, his biggest scalps along with Alexander being, Maidana, Algieri, Barrera, Collazo, Malignaggi and Molina. This is a huge contrast to Brook, who’s only win of note so far is against Shawn Porter, where he beat the American via a majority decision. Fight fans felt that this was not an easy task for Brook going into the fight especially with him being the away fighter, and Brook gained a degree of respect across the States, which he may have lacked before the win against Porter. However, some feel unsure about putting Brook in the elite bracket just yet due to only having one credible victory. Since losing his belt, it’s fair to say Shawn Porter hasn’t done much. So even Brook’s best win may not be an outstanding one and his next best win is arguably Carson Jones, which speaks for itself I think. Therefore, I believe it is difficult to put Brook in Britain’s top five pound for pound fighters, not down to a lack of ability and potential, but due to a lack of high class wins against proven opponents.

Anyway back to Khan, for all the positives in his career in terms of beating a handful of quality opponents and his prolific hand-speed, his downfall has certainly been his infamous ‘glass jaw’ chin which has led to him being stopped three times in his career, which accounts for 75% of his losses. His failures have come against Lamont Peterson (which was the only time he has lost on a decision basis), Breidis Prescott, Danny Garcia and Canelo Alvarez. In his most recent fight against Canelo, he was comfortably winning on the scorecards, but it wasn’t a surprise when he was stopped by Canelo, which ended up being one of the most brutal knockouts of 2016. When Khan fought Garcia we saw a case where timing beats speed, where he walked onto a strong left hook from Garcia in round 3 which dropped Khan, and in the fourth Garcia finished him off and the referee stopped the fight. Brook can draw confidence from Garcia’s win over Khan, as it showed it only takes one clean shot to land on Khan even after getting bossed and the whole fight spins on its head. Brook and Garcia are very similar style wise, but Garcia packs more power in his shots so it will probably go longer with Brook, where I can see Brook stopping Khan very late on. Against Golovkin, Brook did better than expected but it was clear he was getting hurt by ‘Triple G’ throughout and again it was inevitable he’d get stopped and to make matters worse he even broke his eye socket. However, he has to be given massive credit for not hitting the canvas as he went up in weight facing the biggest puncher in the division. So we know it is going to take a lot for Khan to stop him, so I’d rule that outcome out, considering Brook has a very good chin.

If Khan faces the winner of Garcia and Thurman, or Pacquaio, I think he loses all those fights. Garcia already has his number and his developed since that win over Khan. I think the Thurman fight is the worst possible fight for Khan at 147 pounds – we all know how bad his chin is and Thurman’s punching power and the way he loads up on his shots would be all wrong stylistically for Khan. I think he’s get stopped by Thurman, no doubt, and the same can be said for the Pacquaio fight. Should he take the Brook fight, by no means will it be easy, but easier than Thurman, Garcia or Pacquaio in my opinion. Brook has a mandatory in Errol Spence to defend his IBF title against, so this could affect when, and if the Khan fight takes place. We are still unsure if Brook is going to face his mandatory or vacate his title.

Even though the fight may have been better to see last year as Brook and Khan may be both affected after their defeats to Golovkin and Canelo, especially Brook due to the punishment he incurred, there are still a few reasons why I want to see the fight. Fisrtly, the build-up would be excellent and would go down as one of the biggest domestic clashes ever. From Kell and Amir’s points of view, the fight would be beneficial for them as they have the chance to take the biggest payday while they can as both are big names in the states especially after Brook just fought Golovkin, and it will do loads of PPV buys in the UK. A title on the line is not necessary to generate interest, the fight sells out Old Trafford or the Ethiad regardless. My prediction is that Brook stops him rounds 8-10, with Khan being up on all scorecards. Khan will definitely be winning the fight, as his hand-speed will be too quick for Kell and he’s a far superior boxer in and out of range. However, if Brook can’t stop him, he’s bang in trouble, and as he’s not stopped anyone of note during his career, and because there’s no way he is outboxing Khan over 12 rounds, it makes the fight an interesting one. If Khan can keep his chin down and minimise the number of shots he takes, he’s in with a big shout. However, if Breidis Prescott can stop Khan, then of course Brook has a good chance of doing so too. Brook has shown he has power and good crack as he shook Golovkin up a couple of times, but Golovkin leaves himself open anyways and at 147 pounds I think that’s the best chance Khan has against Brook. For me, it is a close fight, where Brook is a slight favourite going into it due to being a more well-rounded boxer overall, and the fact that Khan’s chin has been exposed several times even when he’s in complete control of a fight.

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