In a weekend packed with boxing, the flagship is a UK blockbuster of a fight: Amir Khan vs Kell Brook. This all-Brit rivalry is frankly the biggest matchup that can be made in British boxing — outside of the Heavyweight division. It has been talked about for years and its finally here. The pre-fight press-events have revealed there is a lot of bad blood between these two rivals as they have traded plenty of barbs and insults.
Amir Khan was last at the center of boxing world when he fought Terrence Crawford, on April 20 in 2019.
“I want to be remembered as a great champion, this is the last chapter in my career,” Khan told me at the London press conference announcing that fight.
Yet, that fight ended bizarrely when Khan was unable to continue after being hit with a low blow from Terence Crawford. Many felt Khan had quit in taking the TKO loss.
Kell Brook faired worse in his own fight in November 2020 against Crawford, a fight that was held under COVID-19 protocols.
Brook effectively didn’t have to face a hostile crowd in his fight against Crawford. He started well enough but, started to tire and was knocked out in the fourth round. At least though he can claim to have gone out on his shield.
Crawford was the biggest name Kell’s boxing resume that includes stoppage losses to Gennadiy Golovkin and Errol Spence. In all three fights Kell was competitive but, the damage taken against GGG and Errol Spence may have played into the early night against Crawford.
Conversely with the retirement of Manny Pacquiao, Khan has arguably the best resume in boxing.
Khan’s impressive ring resume includes Marco Antonio Barrera, Marcos Maidana, Lamont Peterson, Zab Judah and Canelo Alvarez. A few of which were victories and some like his knockout loss to Canelo — defeats.
As many have pointed out by now, this fight is like the milk in your fridge–likely past its sell by date. That said, it doesn’t mean it won’t be an intriguing fight. Such “over-the-hill” fights in boxing can go either way.
Floyd Mayweather let Manny Pacquiao get old before facing the boxing senator in their own past its sell-by date 147lb match-up in 2015. The result was a match that was often boring for the casual fight fan. In fact Pacquiao later revealed he had been injured before the fight. Conversely, Muhammad Ali vs. Joe Frazier III produced the “Thrilla in Manila” on October 1, 1975. Ali and Frazier had slipped just enough to make the fight more interesting and dramatic than their previous two encounters. Ali defeated his great rival in that fight with a 14th round stoppage.
In his prime, Khan had pound for pound, the fastest hands of his generation. He was an early starter–as his first-round knockout of Phil Lo Greco and his flash knockdown against Maidana in the first round suggest. Against Maidana, Khan never really went to the body again after dropping him in Round 1. Khan can’t make those kinds of mistakes against Brook.
Brook, it should be pointed out, had early success against Crawford, their mutual opponent. That shouldn’t be surprising. Even against an opponent like Hank Lundy at 140lbs Crawford did poorly in the early rounds as he set-up his KO.
Let Khan find his rhythm and range, however, and Brook might not get back in the fight.
In the build up to this fight, many have pointed out that Brook won a world title in the welterweight division, while Khan hasn’t. Khan’s only loss at welterweight was to Terrence Crawford their mutual opponent. In what maybe a moral booster for Khan, Crawford is now in Khan’s corner. Khan joined Crawford and his trainer Brian McIntyre for this fight. That is just one of many mental advantages Khan has going into this fight and should he win in spectacular fashion, he is a decent “big name” opponent for the other welterwieght champion Errol Spence down the line.
Khan’s big claim to fame however is arguably not who has fought but, arguably who he hasn’t. Khan won a 2014 poll held on Twitter regarding Mayweather’s next opponent. Khan, who had recently beat Maidana was a serious contender. Instead Mayweather took a two-fight series with Maidana that was at times close.
That is not to say that Khan would have beat Mayweather. Yes, Khan has faster hands but, so did Zab Judah. Khan didn’t get that fight. Perhaps then would have been a good time as any to have a Brook-Khan matchup.
We didn’t get it then. But, lets enjoy it now.
This column originally appeared on RoundbyRound Boxing