It’s a rivalry that has been more than a decade in the making.
Kell Brook and Amir Khan have been two of the best welterweights on the planet for much of that time, but the two British champions have – for a variety of reasons – never found the right time or place to lock horns in the ring.
But they’ll have to wait no longer. Terms have been agreed for a February 19 bout in Manchester, England, and finally, fight fans will learn which of these two warring warriors is the best.
The bookmakers have Brook down as a warm favorite with boxing betting odds of -175, but following a trio of losses in which he took brutal punishment, there will be those favoring Khan at +138.
Amir Khan and Kell Brook will finally settle the biggest rivalry in British boxing ?— Sky Sports (@SkySports) November 29, 2021
What most boxing predictions this weekend will agree on when the fight rolls around in 2022 is that this is a very even contest between two highly skilled fighters, both of whom have been on the receiving end of some devastating losses that have ultimately led to a hiatus from the ring.
Brook was last seen being handed a punishing lesson by WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford in November 2020, while Khan has been out of the ring since July 2019.
The naysayers will be asking ‘why now’? It’s so often the case in boxing that money talks, and in the autumn of their careers – indeed, you suspect Khan in particular probably thought he had retired from the sport – the lure of one final payday, with the Manchester Arena likely to be packed to the rafters for this encounter, was just too hard to resist.
But, like many others before them including notably Floyd Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao, it comes at least five years too late to be a fight of any relevance or consequence.
Tale of the Tape
In their prime, this would have been the epitome of a 50/50 contest, but time away from the ring can significantly reduce skillsets and speed of hand and thought. By the time fight, night rolls around, Khan wouldn’t have fought a serious opponent in nearly three years – hence Brook’s favoritism with the betting market.
The Sheffield man has had such a tough time of it in the ring, you do wonder how deep he can dig one more time. He was hurt badly by Gennady Golovkin, suffering a broken eye socket and being beaten so fiercely that his cornerman Dominic Ingle threw in the towel for the first time in the fighter’s career.
Less than a year later, Brook was tackling the silky-smooth Errol Spence Jr, and once again issues with his eye flared – the Brit even taking a knee mid-fight because his vision was so impaired.
A couple of easy wins against low-grade opponents restored confidence thereafter, before a step up in class against Crawford – that ended with Brook flat on his back in the fourth round, his career at the elite level over.
Khan has since busied himself by appearing on reality TV shows, and while he too has suffered his fair share of heavy defeats in the ring he will probably enter the bout with Brook fresher and in better physical condition. He is the epitome of a likely underdog.
Ten years ago, this would have been a British super-fight for the ages. Now, it’s a sad and cautionary tale of how fighting men struggle to find purpose once the gloves are hung up.