Khan vs Brook: Big Fight Preview & Prediction
It always seemed like it would never happen. As hopes were briefly raised at different times, they were always and seemingly definitively extinguished. But somehow, by hook or by crook, Amir Khan and Kell Brook will finally share a ring this Saturday night in Manchester.
There is no disguising the fact that it has come more than a few years too late. It has little of the importance or relevance it once had. Win, lose or draw both fighters could, and almost certainly should, walk away for good on the back of what has been called, with some degree of accuracy, their pension fight.
Khan and Brook are faded fighters, their once sublime skills are now eroded beyond repair. Who wins in Manchester, will tell us who has the most left, not who is or was the better fighter. Who wins or how good the fight is still doesn’t change the fact it is the fight that got away.
But nevertheless, it is still Khan vs Brook. The interest is still high, the hate between the pair is real. Nobody in the sold-out Manchester Arena will care one little bit that the fight is a watered-down version of what it could have been. And the fighters will still send everyone home happy that their financial investment was a worthwhile one.
But there are concerns that the fight is a dangerous one for both fighters. When the fight finally got signed, sealed and delivered in December, I wrote:
‘The equality in decline will make for a decent enough fight, it will likely be a good watch albeit an uncomfortable one. The hope is that whatever they are being paid, they won’t pay a higher price further down the line. It could be that kind of fight. They are now at the stage where every punch absorbed counts.’
It does seem like a fight that should carry some kind of health warning no matter how entertaining the fight is. It could have consequences in later life, and this observer would prefer it if Khan and Brook were happily sat in the boxing retirement home. Neither has anything left to prove. Or maybe give.
If the fight does somehow go long it will highlight plenty in regards to how far they have slipped. But the fight is far more likely to be explosive and short. I don’t see it going beyond the halfway point. The judges, maybe thankfully on recent evidence, are unlikely to be needed to complete a full shift.
Both seem confident of victory, but anyone trying to pick a winner can’t really do so with any real confidence. It is one of those fights where nobody knows exactly what will happen until the first bell goes.
Neither has any recent form of any note, there are no wins of any significance in recent times, the only real measuring stick is how they both performed against Terence Crawford. But even in their respective performances against Crawford, we can’t draw a definitive viewpoint on the outcome on Saturday night.
Khan hasn’t graced a boxing ring since 2019, last time out against Billy Dib was a piece of business Floyd Mayweather would have been proud of. Brook was last out in November 2020, solving the daily Wordle puzzle would be easier than trying to work out what if anything, each fighter has left.
Despite being a world champion the career of Brook never really hit the heights it should have. The Sheffield fighter never got the big fight, at the right time and at the right weight, he always craved. Khan always seemed to overshadow him in many ways. Brook kept chasing Khan, his rival always seemed just around another corner.
But Khan has also been guilty of chasing pavements, fights with Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao always looked a case of wishful thinking no matter how close they were to being signed.
Khan has always been undervalued, a fighter who never got the plaudits his achievements deserved. A fighter remembered for his defeats more than his wins. And often harshly critiqued for never facing Brook when it was a proper meaningful trade fight.
The war of words between the pair never really stopped. Both blaming the other why they never fought when they were at their physical peaks. Brook, especially is still carrying the mental scars of his perceived avoidance.
Brook has always been desperate for the fight, but with the stipulated weight limit and the rehydration clause that nobody seems to want to openly acknowledge, has he conceded too much in his desperation to get the fight on?
The struggles in boiling his body down to welterweight, or somewhere near as is the case here, has always taken something away from Brook in the latter part of his career. And at 35 and coming off a long lay-off, Brook could be a seriously depleted fighter. Did that play a part in his sudden capitulation against Crawford? The way he folded was worrying, but maybe, also the reason why Khan finally put his signature on a contract.
Khan has made reference to the chin of Brook, and he clearly plans on testing it early. But the ‘whiskers’ of Khan are very much of the delicate nature. It does have the look of a fight that could end early. With all the hate, emotion all combined in a red hot atmosphere, a feeling out process looks remote.
Brook has asked Khan repeatedly why now, and maybe that is a telling sign. Did Khan see enough in the way the Sheffield fighter lost to Crawford to convince the time is now? But is Khan now out of options, is Brook the only fighter out there that gives him the type of payday he wants? The reason they are now finally fighting is probably a combination of the two.
The reports from inside both camps are good, they won’t be able to turn back the clock, but Khan and Brook seem in a good enough place to give what they have left.
Brook is the slight betting favourite, but his chances probably hinge on how well he can make the weight. If it has taken too much out of his body, Khan almost certainly wins.
Khan does his best work early, and I see him coming out fast trying to catch his rival cold and blow him away quickly. Brook can’t match Khan for speed, the early stages of the fight will be where his fight could end before it starts. The opening segments will be where he will face the most peril. Make no mistake, the mind games of Khan have been for a reason. Khan will hope he will be facing an opponent who is too emotional, and one who fights with anger and without thought.
I also think Khan is clinging to the hope Brook is shot beyond repair, and is he paying too much attention to how Brook lost to Crawford.
Brook took that fight with Crawford without Dominic Ingle, who didn’t think Brook had enough time to fully prepare. With Ingle back in the fold, and Brook apparently living the life, the gamble may well backfire spectacularly for Khan. When Khan had his own chance with Crawford he was never in the fight, and low blow or not, he gave the impression of a fighter looking for a way out. Is Khan more of a celebrity now, if the going gets tough against Brook, does he still have the desire to dig deep the way he once did? I have my doubts.
It will probably come down to the strength of the chin and Brook has always been the more durable of the two, and if the body isn’t too depleted, I see him riding out the early storm to find the punches to stop Khan sometime before the 6th round.
Phone Credit: Lawrence Lustig/Boxxer