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Brook/Khan: Another Hatton/Witter?

The entire country wants to see this fight, but will it ever happen?


By Aaron Cooper

Boxing in Great Britain is hot, white hot in fact. Over the last six years the emergence of Matchroom as one of the world’s premier boxing promotions, and the ascension of a certain unified heavyweight champion of the world has led to packed out arenas and broken pay per view records left right and centre. Add this to the fact that Frank Warren is undergoing something of a resurgence with his promotion and the fact he will soon have his own pay-per-view network means we are in for some really interesting times ahead.

But whilst these shores have seen foreign talent like Wladimir Klitschko, Gennady Golovkin, Nonito Donaire and Errol Spence Jr grace boxing rings nationwide. Let’s be honest, there is nothing that gets our hearts racing like a good old-fashioned domestic dust-up if it’s on the world stage even better. Going back through the years we’ve seen some fantastic rivalries turn into fight nights that are forever etched in our memories. Think Froch/Groves in Manchester and London, Benn/Eubank and more recently Haye/Bellew which is set for the second stanza in just a few weeks’ time.

But, for all the wonder that a rivalry produces there is one thing I can’t stand. A war of words that never translates into pugilistic showmanship. After all, for all of the talking and sharp comments we never did see Ricky Hatton fight Junior Witter. Fast forward a decade and we have yet another boxing cold war on our hands, and it saddens me to think that we might not ever see a fight we should have all been treated to.

Sheffield’s Kell Brook and Manchester’s Amir Khan have been on a collision course for years. Both men have had their successes in the ring, although the glittering stages and elite names on the resume would have to swing firmly in Khan’s favour. Equally, they have both tasted bitter defeat, both men should be commended and not criticised for their decisions to move up in weight to challenge two of the best boxers in the world in Gennady Golovkin and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. But the jump up proved a step too far and both men are now trying to revive careers that have hit a bump in the road.

I like many of you rubbed my hands together when I saw Amir Khan sign with Matchroom. My first thoughts were “Brilliant, the Brook fight will happen”. However, my hopes of seeing two of Britain’s best fighters squaring off mano a mano were given a bit of a thump over the weekend. The fight the public wants nay demands to see is no closer to being done than ever.

Some of you may not know that the two teams sat down to talk business in the middle of last year, during Khan’s hiatus from the ring. But it was the Sheffield man’s representatives that walked away from a fight. A paltry thirty percent was the sum Khan’s advisers thought Brook was worth. Brook’s representatives claiming a fifty/fifty split was much more appropriate, and I tend to agree. For all of Khan’s success in the ring, that was a long time ago and he can’t cling to past glories forever. For in his absence at the world championship table, Brook went onto claim world honours in one of the most competitive divisions in the sport.

It has to be said that it is Brook that seems more keen on the fight. For all the bravado in the ring on Saturday night, the fight still seems some way off. The weight is not in contention. Brook has said he will melt down to 147 .. even if he has to cut his own legs off apparently. But instead of pushing promoter, Eddie Hearn for a fight with his rival, Khan instead is talking about fighting Adrian Broner. Brook too has options being highly ranked in the super-welterweight division, and could be in line for a shot against Jermell Charlo. But, he seems to favour beating up Khan over the pursuit of a world title at a second weight, and why not? Outside of Fury/Joshua, Khan/Brook is the biggest fight in British boxing.

A little less conversation and little more action please gentleman. Great Britain was robbed of Hatton/Witter. Don’t let history repeat itself.