A Look at the Options for Khan and Brook
By: Oliver McManus
Amir Khan and Kell Brook have had a long running, well-documented, rivalry with the “super-fight” being touted as “never being closer” on numerous occasions throughout the last five years and, indeed, despite that looking like the truth when Amir Khan and Kell Brook had a, tentative, face-off in the ring following the conclusion of Khan’s comeback in April, the likelihood of the bout taking place in the immediate future has since dwindled.
Here we take a look at the potential options for both Khan and Brook before discussing whether or not a meeting between the two can legitimately lay claim to the title “super-fight” –
On the basis that the pair don’t face each other next then the immediate option being bandied around is Manny Pacquiao with Khan being the front-runner for such a bout, to take place in America, and you get the feeling that, despite his performance against Matthyssse, this would be a matchmaking art-form.
A big fight in America and a big fight in the United Kingdom, we know that Eddie Hearn has been in talks with Pac Man to fight on DAZN so there’s definite potential for the fight and, let’s not forget, that the pair were supposed to fight on April 23rd last year, in the United Arab Emirates, before the bout got called off, supposedly due to a lack of funds.
With a world title to his name, the latest in a seemingly endless conveyor belt, there’s added spice to this bout with, for Khan, arguably the easiest route straight back to a world title and, dare we say it, a legacy defining bout for both boxers with an opportunity for Pacquiao to prove he’s not “over the hill” and Khan getting one MONSTEROUS name on his CV.
Hold up, hold up, let’s not get ahead of ourselves though because the fight with Pacquiao is a fight that Kell Brook wants as well and we’ve seen, over the course of history, that Brook is a guy with absolutely no fear heaving stepped up in weight to face Golovkin before taking on Errol Spence Jr, he lost on both occasions but the performances were stock-raising, nothing to be sniffed at, and he proved his heart and guts.
We know that he has the boxing ability to cause serious problems at the highest level and, indeed, packs some serious power as evident from his, most pertinently, sixth round TKO over Frankie Gavin but, equally, in his two round demolition jobs of Kevin Bizier and Siarhei Rabchanka – admittedly not the greatest quality opposition but you can only deal with what’s in front of you and Kell is consistently convincing.
A fight between Amir Khan or Kell Brook and Manny Pacquiao is, truth be told, one of the only realistic bouts featuring the Filipino that gets me excited and I don’t really care which one of the Brits gets the shot but I want to see one of them in there.
BRING IT ON!
If we turn our attentions to the Sheffield superstar then, on paper, he has more, realistically, winnable options for a world title and that’s not just because he’s able to fight at 147 and 154 – the title holders at super welterweight are have more of an air of vincibility than those at welter.
Jaime Munguia, as heavy and explosive as he is, should be no match for the maturity and experience of Kell Brook and, whilst I confess this all hypothetical, there is then the scope for genuine showdowns with the likes of Jarrett Hurd, Erislandy Lara and Jermell Charlo.
Brook looks a more complete article at super-welterweight, as well, he looks naturally healthier and has significantly more energy, able to fight at a higher tempo and, rather obviously, packs that heavier artillery which enables him to really double-down and get the business done.
That’s not to say he’s not a threat at 147 because he, undoubtedly, is but it just seems to me that it’s about time in his career where he stops squeezing himself down to the lower weight and, indeed, Eddie Hearn has said that it takes him 16 weeks to get there so when all of that is taken into account it seems only logical that he remains at super welter for the long term because, yes, whilst this would probably rule him out of a couple of the bigger fights he would stand a far healthier chance of an extended career with, to his credit, huge clashes to be had with a trio of, simply, sublime Americans.
Amir Khan seems belligerent in adjusting weight, refusing the potential for a 150lb catch-weight fight with his longest rival which is shrewd on his part for maximising his natural advantages but does also allow the doubt in to creep in as to whether the fight will actually happen.
Looking further into the future then and there are plenty of tasty fights – Pacquiao and Brook, aside – that Khan could be involved with and this is where his time in America comes in handy because promoters over there want to have him on their shows, networks want him on TV and he’s very easy to market.
Danny Garcia is a man that Khan has publically said he wants to face, claiming he was “unfocussed” in their original clash back in 2012 – in which Khan was dropped on three occasions as the bout came to a swift conclusion in the fourth round – and it’s a fight that has appeal for both parties with, frankly, Garcia not quite the hot-shot that he formerly was and Khan is a route back into the headlines.
Having made a blistering return against, admittedly over-matched, Phil Lo Greco, Amir Khan didn’t prove anything new over the course of those forty seconds but he did show that he’s not lost any of his killer instinct, the ability to pounce on a subject as soon as a weakness is shown, and, boy oh boy, does he still have that hand speed.
So, we move until the bigger question on the horizon, is Amir Khan vs Kell Brook or, for that matter, Kell Brook vs Amir Khan still a) relevant and b) a mega-fight?
Let’s deal with “a” first and, to be brief, yes it is still relevant and it will continue to be relevant for as long as the two protagonists continue to target each other and whilst their still active in the sport because, make no mistake, there will always be an appetite to see the two of them square off in the ring purely because of the history, the deep rooted nature of this rivalry, and everyone wants to know, who ACTUALLY is the best?
Is it still a mega-fight? Well that depends who you are, it is certainly a big encounter and would be made even bigger if one of them were to capture a world title before such a showdown, it’s a stadium fight but it’s a fight that would have been way, way bigger in 2014. People will watch, of course they will, but the excitement won’t be as red-hot as it once was and it will almost be more of a sigh of relief if it were to happen as opposed to a never-ending crescendo of excitement.
Is it relevant in terms of the world scene? Well that’s a separate question and that particular relevance has been like a ticking time bomb over the past five years and there’s a nagging suspicion, from me, that we won’t see this bout until after there is any serious consequence. I could be wrong, mind.
I hope I am.
Anthony Joshua’s Wish List
Anthony Joshua’s Wish List
By: Jordan Seward
After a dominant performance against Dominic Breazeale (17-1-15KO) in his first defence of the IBF crown, Anthony Joshua (17-0-17KO) is looking for a sterner test in his next outing.
The IBF titlist has been mandated to face unbeaten New Zealander Joseph Parker (19-0-16KO), before a November deadline, but has hinted at the possibility of a voluntary defence first.
Joshua, 26, attained the IBF world heavyweight title with a 2nd round knockout of ‘Prince’ Charles Martin back in April at the O2 Arena.
The knockout specialist has been touted as the next big thing in boxing but so far, in his professional career he is yet to be tested.
Arguably, the biggest test to date was when Joshua met bitter rival Dillian Whyte in December last year, but now he is eager to show his credentials against stronger opposition.
Bermaine Stiverne (25-2-1-21KO) has been lined up as a next ideal opponent for the IBF king. Stiverne, has openly admitted to being interested in taking the fight and has started a camp for a potential fight with Joshua.
The former WBC world champion was outlined as a good opponent by the Joshua camp for his durability. The American took heavy hitting Deontay Wilder the full distance in January last year, despite eventually losing by unanimous decision.
Stiverne suffered from severe dehydration throughout the fight with Wilder which seemed to effect his performance. ‘B. WARE’ has hit back at claims that he is just durable and has insisted he still has aspirations on becoming a two-time world champion.
The 37-year-old has not been in the ring since his unanimous decision victory over Derric Rossy in November last year. Nonetheless, if a fight between the pair materialises it is believed Stiverne would present the biggest challenge of Joshua’s professional career.
Another potential opponent for Joshua is Eric Molina (25-3-19KO). Molina, like Stiverne was beaten by Wilder in his first defence of the WBC title. The current IBF inter-continental heavyweight champion was seen as an easy first defence for Wilder, but managed to take the fight 9 rounds before being knocked out.
Wilder was heavily criticised for his performance against Molina, but the victory has since looked better after ‘The Drummer Boy’ defeated Polish heavyweight Tomasz Adamek. Molina was in the running to be Joshua’s first defence of the IBF title and remains a possible option.
Kubrat Pulev’s (23-1-0-12KO) name is also on the list of potential opponents. The Bulgarian recently strolled to victory against England’s Dereck Chisora to claim the vacant European heavyweight title.
Although there is no one of real significance that Pulev has got the better of, aside from Tony Thompson, the only blemish on his record is a defeat to Wladimir Klitschko which came back in 2014.
It’s not clear who will become Joshua’s next opponent, but out of the contenders on his wish list Bermane Stiverne has emerged as the most likely. Whoever it is, Stiverne, Pulev or Molina, they would all be a step up in class from Breazeale and give Joshua his first real test.