By William Hill
Last Updated: 18th May 2018
An Amir Khan versus Kell Brook superfight would go down as one of the most scintillating all-British bouts in recent history. Who, for instance, can forget Amir Khan’s love of his hometown, Bolton? He has previously fought with the Bolton Wanderers logo, while Kell Brook loves nothing more than to make the most of his spare time by cheering on his beloved Blades at Bramall Lane.
Khan vs Brook superfight – the road to redemption
With the two fighters’ connections to football, and the fact that they’re from opposite sides of the Pennines, a Khan versus Brook superfight would have a ‘derby’ feel to it. So too would it represent an opportunity for one man to erase all-too-recent memories of underachievement and humiliation. In September 2016, Brook was stopped by Golovkin in a crucial unification match. Then, only last May, Brook lost his IBF Welterweight title to Errol Spence Jr at – of all places – Bramall Lane, via knockout.
Brook’s road to redemption began on March 3rd when he won the vacant WBC silver super welterweight title via a knockout of Sergey Rabchenko. Khan, meanwhile, also rang in his thirties with a defeat and a title loss. It came via knockout against Saul Alvarez in May 2016, costing the Bolton boy his WBC middleweight title. The abrupt nature of that defeat came as a shock, with Khan having gone unbeaten for nearly four years by that point.
The question of when exactly Khan and Brook could face off depends on the mutual mindset of the fighters. As of March 2018, it’s one of several potential fights — any superfight would occur in the autumn of 2018 at the earliest. By all accounts, both men want it to happen, but there’s a mutual belief that it needs to happen before the end of 2018 to be anything better than a glorified exhibition. Ultimately, a very quick turnaround will be needed, but the fight does not explicitly need too much hype. Both men have enjoyed stellar careers, representing their gyms and (later) Britain with pride and professionalism.
Although a Khan versus Brook superfight would not lack drama, it should still be appreciated that Khan and Brook are both psychologically damaged by their recent defeats, but most experts are predicting a close victory for Brook. Two consecutive defeats involving title losses is a harrowing experience for any boxer, and can often prove to be the catalyst towards dreaded ‘journeymanship’. Falling for a third time in four bouts would almost certainly be the point of no return for Brook, and as the classic line in Creed goes, ‘time is the only undefeated opponent’.
At only 31, Brook is in danger of becoming the next high-profile tomato can, but so too is Khan when his period of absence from the ring is taken into account. Nobody can be certain as to just how rusty Khan will be, but Brook’s punching power at super-welterweight level could make it a short night if Khan lacks the stamina required to mix it with the man from Sheffield. In its own right, the weight class of the fight is also an important element. At welterweight level, however, Khan would be favoured much more deeply.
Brook – the case for
Though Brook could face Khan on the back of two defeats in three fights, few people would say that there’s any shame in losing to Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence Jr. The latter is set to rule the welterweight division until the end of this decade at the very least. Khan, on the other hand, suffered a particularly nasty knockout at Alvarez’ hands two years ago, and while Brook has struggled with injury in recent years, he’s the default favourite.
Brook’s mobility would have to be increased in advance of any fight with Khan, and in simply maintaining the more scientific aspects of his training plan, he maximises his chances of beating Khan. His relatively long reach for a welterweight, and his ability to ‘dominate’ the ring space have been the base elements of his successes to date.
Having gone through tough periods, neither fighter will want to be conservative from the off. Yet, in this for-now hypothetical fight, Brook would need to pick his opportunities well in the first quarter of the fight to get some vital points on the board.
Hope for Khan?
Whether or not this ‘potential’ fight could move to the welterweight market, Khan would always be up against it in a match with Brook, but he still has remnants of the speed that made him one of the most dynamic fighters on the planet back in his heyday. That itself could be enough to surprise Brook, but the man from Sheffield is smart enough to read the match and avoid being caught by surprise.
The man that could find himself representing the red rose of Lancashire, against a Yorkshireman hungering for redemption, could also be saved from humiliation by his variety. Although the speed with which he could alternate head and body shots is not what it once was, he still remains a very unpredictable fighter. Additionally, his natural instinct is to throw combinations as opposed to going for a single-punch kill.
While going the distance against Brook would be more than doable for Khan, his defence remains a weakness. If improperly addressed ahead of any fight against Brook, that defence (or lack thereof) could be his undoing, and make it less of a fight and more of a formality. Movement and power have always been areas for development where Khan’s concerned, but this may or may not be an issue, depending on the weight at which Khan versus Brook would be fought.
It would be thoroughly disrespectful to predict a quickfire defeat for Khan, and though Brook holds all the cards, all it could take is for Khan to unload an opportunistic combination. Despite being outclassed in successive fights, Brook still has the stamina and brain to force Khan to over-fight, enabling him to pick Khan to pieces in the later rounds.
In conclusion, a tenth-round knockout victory for Brook would be William Hill’s pick for this one.