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In defense of Amir Khan

Lee Skavydis

Lee has written for Ringnews24 for over 7 years and he helps run the site on a daily basis. He has been a fan of the sport of boxing for around twenty five years. He enjoys traveling to watch fights in-particular trips to Las Vegas for big fight nights.

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The possibility of an Amir Khan vs Kell Brook fight has been up in the air since 2011 when Brook and promoter Eddie Hearn voiced their demand for it. At the press conference for Froch vs Ward, Hearn said that he would refuse to entertain the fight unless a deal of 50/50 was agreed upon.

Fast forward to 2015, the paths of the Bolton former champion and the current IBF champion from Sheffield are still to cross. Brook rested the IBF welterweight title from Shawn Porter in August, 2014 and has since made two rather easy defenses, stopping Jo Jo Dan and Frankie Gavin earlier this year. After the stoppage of Gavin, Hearn claimed that Khan was scared of Brook. In fairness, Khan also turned down a title eliminator against Tim Bradley, a rather baffling decision considering that he is not really known for avoiding opposition.

But is Eddie Hearn right? Probably not entirely.

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As far as the 50/50 offer demand in 2011 goes, Khan was the IBF and WBA champion that year, coming through Zab Judah and beating Marcos Maidana near the end of 2010 in what was the fight of that year. Brook faced Lovemore N’Dou and Rafal Jackiewicz. While they were no pushovers, it is hard to understand the logic behind Hearn’s offer. Much more recently Khan has been quite vocal in wanting to face pound for pound boxer, Floyd Mayweather Jr. Let us not forget that Kell Brook is still unproven in the US while Khan has spent a decent share of his time fighting there building his reputation. Admittedly, his style can cause some confusion. When he faced Devon Alexander he looked like a fighter who was more intent on focusing on his skills than in his speed and power. He shut Alexander down to win a unanimous decision. In his last fight against Chris Algieri, flashes of the old Amir Khan showed as he went to war with the former Manny Pacquiao opponent, winning comfortably on points but had to come through a few jolts.

Keith Thurman’s name has been mentioned by Khan as a possible opponent in the future. Facing and beating the likes of Keith would boost his stock considerably. Facing Kell Brook in the UK would be a step back for him due to Brook’s name not being yet globally recognisable. In boxing there is always somebody blaming the other for a fight not being signed. It is part and parcel of the sport. We saw and heard it all before Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao finally met one another in the ring a couple of months back.

Regarding the scope of the fight itself, is it powerful enough to sell huge numbers right now? Khan has never been a huge seller, on PPV or at the gate, and Brook has not proved he can do big numbers outside of fighting at the Motorpoint arena in Sheffield. Yet it has been stated by Hearn that the fight can sell all 80,000 seats at Wembley! Maybe it would but the majority of the seats would have to be occupied by the “average observer.”

What is most likely the bottom line is that Amir Khan, Kell Brook and Eddie Hearn have different priorities. Fear is not a factor. Boxing is also a business and one needs to take each step intelligently and sensibly. It will probably be some time yet before Brook and Khan get in the ring together unless the likes of a Thurman fight fall through and Khan has no other choice.

Until then, let’s hope that Kell Brook finally makes a valuable defense and Amir Khan fights somebody who isn’t washed up and is a current major player.

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