Boxing needs the best to fight the best at the peak of their powers so that the contest is compelling enough to stimulate the imaginations of the general public and lucrative for the fighters. In the UK, nothing does that better than two evenly matched world class boxers, with high profiles and a score to settle after years of simmering hostility. World class boxers are often filled with pride and ego and nothing massages those better than earning bragging rights as not only being one of the best in the world but also ‘King Of Their Own Backyard’. On top of all of that these matches are brilliantly promoted and given exposure through various forms of media to entice the general public to spend their hard earned money on a boxing pay per view. This all makes it a ludicrously lucrative opportunity from a business sense for all involved, especially the fighters. With all of this in mind, why the hell hasn’t Kell Brook vs Amir Khan already been made yet?
Their sparring sessions as youngsters haven’t been forgotten by either man, both adamant of their superiority being the true version of events. The appearance they shared on Ringside five years ago served as a fantastic platform to promote this genuinely heated rivalry and it was sending “Twitter into meltdown” at the prospect of these two swapping verbal exchanges for physical ones. The bickering and visible agitation on the face of Brook whilst Khan smiles smugly and boasts of being the better man made me want to see them beat the crap out of one another there and then, such was the organic nature of their mutual disdain. The verbal barbs have since continued but the old saying “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt” is frustratingly accurate when trying to provide a summary to this rivalry, quite simply because five years on they are still trading insults out of the ring instead of punches in it.
Since 2012 they have wasted their prime physical years against opponents that they can beat with their eyes closed and hands tied behind their backs. Then more recently going to the other extreme of digging a nice deep grave for themselves by facing concussive punchers that left them a step closer to a lifetime of slurred speech. In a boxing career there are numerous boxes that a fighter will want to tick before they end their relatively short careers. To be a part of a big event. To have the prestige of fighting for a World Title. To settle an old feud. To make a hell of a lot of money. Not all fighters have this special opportunity to tick all these boxes with one fight but Khan and Brook do. A fight against each other won’t just enable them to tick these boxes, it would allow them to gleefully fill them in like an excited 5 year old with a colouring book. The other question is do the people want to see this fight? YES THEY DO but only whilst it’s still deemed a 50-50 fight between world class fighters and not shop worn impressionists of the fighters that they used to be. Special matchups like this one is a unique opportunity which Khan and Brook must seize with haste. Defeat in a dangerous, less rewarding fight against an Errol Spence or Tim Bradley could lead to a sudden halt to their career momentum as an elite level fighter and a fight against each other would certainly then lose much of its lustre.
Progress for the fight stalled due to a disagreement in the purse split. I don’t care about who makes what but as a fan I want to see the fight happen as soon as possible. The marinating for this fight is done and now it’s time for Khan and Brook to get cooking and for one of them to get burnt. Fighters sometimes forget the fact that as a fighter their pride and ego is most satisfyingly boosted in the ring and not during the negotiation process. Now is the time not just to talk a good fight but show us one, whilst they still can and whilst we still care.