Following Kell Brook’s defeat to Errol Spence I went to see the reaction on social media and noticed many Amir Khan fans rejoicing. Many derided the former IBF welterweight champion, labelled him a quitter and claimed this as a victory for Team Khan. In fairness, following Khan’s loss to Canelo Alvarez last May, many Brook fans were in raptures, making fun of the gallant loser and his “unreliable glass chin”. Both sets of fans have exclaimed that their man would fair better in a fight against the other due to the defeats they suffered and hurl unjustifiable insults at fighters that had fallen, despite giving their all in uphill challenges against world class opposition. These fans are simply reprehensible and idiotic. Not understanding the risks that these fighters take in taking on destructively skilled boxer-punchers such as Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence. Though they came up short, these men should be commended for pushing themselves and daring to achieve greatness during an era when boxers are accused of chasing an easy payday rather than legendary status.
The unfortunate result of these losses is the punishment that these two brave boxers have endured, which means that if they were to ever meet in the ring, they would likely do so whilst possessing diminished skills and a repressed hunger for gruelling battle. Perhaps if it had happened at the right time whilst both were fresher, younger and less battle worn, then the contest would have been compelling, exciting and most importantly relevant to the overall future of the welterweight division.
The truth is stubbornness ego and mismanagement are to blame for the loss of a fight that might have captured the imagination and divided a nation. It would have been a magnificently promoted super-event capable of selling out a famous arena or stadium. Particularly if Brook’s IBF title was on the line, there would have been a valuable trinket to play for. The winner would have looked forward to further big events and paydays against the rest of the best and the loser would at the very least have benefited from having a boosted bank balance.
Instead we have Khan, without a fight in over a year and without a victory in 2 years, and Brook suffering two demoralising defeats resulting in two broken eye sockets. I’m sure they could still attract a crowd and make good money but their value as prize fighters have been lowered and rather than vying to be one of the best in the world the contest would be for “the championship of each other.” This might satisfy some of the obnoxious members of each fighters fan base who have long squabbled in championing whichever man they favour, but certainly not for boxing fans that want to see the best, fight the best, whilst still at their best.
Win, lose or draw, every time a fighter is in a taxing fight, it takes something away from them. The sad irony in it all, being that had they fought before the losses to Alvarez, Golovkin and Spence, one of them would have enhanced their legacies in a way that they hoped for from the bouts that they lost. But as it stands, the question of who was the better man will forever be trivial and their legacies will eternally be remembered for their courageous, yet ultimately failing efforts in attempting to achieve greatness against formidable adversaries. In 2017, a year where boxing has thrived, Khan and Brook serve as a reminder that if ego’s and differences can’t be put aside, then opportunities for big paydays, enhanced legacies and growth of the sport can be missed.