Amir Khan has attempted to reignite the discussion of a grudge fight between him and domestic rival Kell Brook, some six years after the showdown could have been staged at its absolute peak.
Khan and Brook’s history dates back many years to when they sparred one another in Olympic training camps. Each fighter has repeatedly claimed that they dominated the other in the gym. When “Special K” rose through the ranks to become a world title contender shortly after “King Khan” himself became a world champion, the feud appeared to be a natural money-spinner.
Unfortunately, even after Brook outpointed Shawn Porter for the IBF welterweight crown and offered the now-former light-welter champ Khan a lucrative route back into world championship main events, the fight did not get over the finish line at its 2015 or 2016 fever pitch, nor has it since. Naturally, the two blame the other for why the bout never materialised. And every now and then, one of them will publicly challenge the other to finally make it happen, even if it is past its sell-by date. This week, it was Khan's turn to attempt to revive the issue. In an interview with the Khaleej Times while in Dubai to support the Rising Stars initiative through WBC Cares and the Amir Khan Foundation, the former junior welterweight champion threw down another challenge.
“He’s always been running his mouth,” Khan said of Brook, who was halted by WBO welterweight king Terence Crawford — a fighter who has also stopped Khan — in his last outing on Nov. 14 in Las Vegas.
"I think it’s about time to put him in his place and shut him up for good.”
Khan hasn’t fought since a fourth-round TKO win over regular featherweight Billy Dib in a Saudi Arabia mismatch on Jul. 12, 2019. Having spent much of his time since then performing ambassadorial work and his new role as President of the WBC’s Middle East branch, he was inevitably asked whether he was considering quietly retiring.
“No, the gloves are still on,” Khan responded. “I’m thinking of fighting probably next year. It’s just this year was a bad year for everyone. I didn’t really want to fight behind closed doors. I just didn’t really feel like I could motivate myself. Hopefully, if it opens up next year, we can make something happen.
“I want to fight again in March or April time.”
Whether or not that planned springtime fight can indeed be a belated Brook face-off remains to be seen. In the year 2021, Brook vs. Khan is regarded as old news, and rightly so. It certainly wouldn’t be the elite encounter for world championships that it could easily have been during the middle of the 2010s.
That being said, if Mike Tyson, Roy Jones Jr., and YouTube stars such as Logan and Jake Paul have proven anything, it’s that casual appeal will trump the critical reception of the purist.
The Brook-Khan rivalry remains talked about in Britain whenever one of the two is part of the conversation. If they did finally put an end to the posturing and put pen to paper on a bout in the U.K. or even out in the Middle East where Khan (and hefty site fees) can often be found these days, it would draw eyes even as a shell of the sporting spectacle it could have been in 2015.