Kell Brook vs. Amir Khan: A Breakdown Ahead of the Potential Summer Fight
Don’t count your chickens just yet, but the signs are promising that Kell Brook and Amir Khan may finally meet in the ring in 2016.
Eddie Hearn, Brook’s promoter, has been in contact with Khan’s team—and the carrot of a summer showdown in London has been well and truly dangled.
In an interview with John Dennen of Boxing News, Hearn said: "We’re talking, I’ve sent through the figures for a proposed bout June 4 at Wembley [Stadium] and I think it will happen. They know how much money is in the pot. Tell me what you want."
In the same story, Hearn confirmed Brook would have to defend his IBF welterweight title against mandatory challenger Kevin Bizier in February.
But while the contracts are yet to be signed, it is hard not to get carried away by the prospect of a summer showdown between two of Britain's best boxers.
Having previously analysed the all-British clash between super bantamweights Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton, it is time to do the same for Brook-Khan.
Here, Bleacher Report takes a look at the career paths of the pair, as well as assessing their strengths and weaknesses.
Kell Brook: The Story so Far
Record: 35-0 (24 KOs)
Patience paid off for Kell Brook when he became a world champion in his 33rd professional fight.
The Special One claimed the IBF title with a majority points win over American Shawn Porter in California in August 2014.
It hasn’t all been plain sailing since, though. Well, not out of the ring.
A relaxing holiday to Tenerife after the Porter fight nearly cost Brook not just his blossoming boxing career, but potentially his life.
A late-night drinking session ended with the fighter being stabbed in his left leg. He needed two hours of surgery and 32 staples to repair the damage, as he told Riath Al-Samarrai of the Daily Mail.
He would later recall the event in an interview with Ben Burrows of the Mirror: "I remember scrambling about, trying to get out. I was just thinking: 'I need to get out.' I could see death."
Thankfully, Brook made a full recovery. He has returned to the ring to make two defences of his belt, beating Jo Jo Dan and Frankie Gavin in the first half of 2015.
His biggest scare in the ring came against Carson Jones back in 2012, as conditioning issues meant he had to cling on for a majority-decision win on the scorecards.
However, the wake-up call was heard, loud and clear. Brook dominated Jones in a rematch just over a year later, stopping the American in Round 8.
A former British champion at 147 pounds who boasts a solid knockout ratio of 69 per cent, the 29-year-old is the brightest star currently shining in the famous Ingle Gym in Sheffield, England.
Kell Brook: Most Recent Fight
Brook had been scheduled to face Diego Gabriel Chaves in October 2015. However, a rib injury suffered in sparring ruled the champion out of making a third defence of his IBF title.
With the Chaves fight never happening, Brook's last appearance in the ring came in May 2015.
Frankie Gavin wasn’t quite the domestic foe Brook had hoped to face, but the champion made sure he didn’t overlook his opponent.
A southpaw from Birmingham, England, Gavin—who became England’s first-ever world amateur champion in 2007 before turning pro—had been handed an unexpected chance at becoming a world champion.
Despite a clash of styles, Brook found a way to get the job done inside the distance.
Gavin was overwhelmed in Round 6, referee Steve Gray stepping in as the challenger was rolling against the ropes in serious trouble.
Brook said after the victory, per Riath Al-Samarrai of the MailOnline: "There's many more things to come from me. My adrenaline wasn't running—I wasn't excited by this. I want bigger fights."
Kell Brook: Strengths and Weaknesses
Kell Brook is a big, strong welterweight.
Shawn Porter tried and failed to overpower him, though Brook is more than just a physical brute who overpowers opponents.
As you would expect of a fighter trained by the Ingle family, he has solid boxing skills. The eclectic mix of fighters in the gym has also taught him how to deal with all different styles of opponent.
Brook also has a solid chin, too. Karl David is the only opponent to have sent him to the canvas in the paid ranks, and that knockdown came back in his 14th fight.
However, what has been pivotal in his rise to world level is a greater focus on conditioning.
The scare against Carson Jones in 2012 taught him that he could not rely on natural ability alone. Since then, he has made sure not to cut corners in his preparation.
Dominic Ingle, his trainer, told Bleacher Report in June 2015: "Kell’s the type of fighter, much like Naseem Hamed was, who tends to train for the threat."
Khan is the type of threat that should make sure Brook leaves no stone unturned in camp.
Amir Khan: The Story so Far
Record: 31-3 (19 KOs)
It seems like a lifetime ago when Amir Khan burst onto the British sporting conscience with his performances at the 2004 Olympic Games.
Aged just 17, the boxer from Bolton, England, reached the lightweight final before losing to Mario Kindelan.
He would avenge the defeat the following year, beating the veteran Cuban in his final bout as an amateur.
Khan's early progress in the paid ranks was rapid. He reeled off 18 straight victories, becoming the Commonwealth lightweight champion in the process.
However, Breidis Prescott emphatically halted that winning run. The Colombian knocked Khan out inside a round, exposing defensive deficiencies in a ruthless manner.
Khan rebuilt his reputation quickly, taking the WBA super lightweight title from Andriy Kotelnik in 2009.
Wins over Paulie Malignaggi, Marcos Maidana (after an absolute thriller in Las Vegas) and Zab Judah grew his reputation in the United States.
Yet back-to-back defeats to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia undid all the hard work, particularly as the latter managed to TKO Khan in Round 4 and take away his WBA belt.
Since that stoppage loss in 2012, Khan has reeled off five successive wins. He has also been frustrated in his relentless pursuit of the division's biggest names: Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
His career needs a defining night. Gareth A Davies wrote in the Telegraph: "It will be a make-or-break year for the 29-year-old, and the big fight being planned against Kell Brook could well define his future."
Amir Khan: Most Recent Fight
Amir Khan spent more time talking—and working with his charity foundation—than fighting in 2015.
His solitary outing during the calendar year came against Chris Algieri at the Barclays Center in New York.
For a fourth successive bout Khan went the distance. He was the unanimous winner on points—two judges scored it 117-11 in his favour, while the other had it 115-113.
However, the performance failed to match the dominant display he had produced against Devon Alexander at the end of 2014.
Gareth A Davies of the Telegraph noted in his report of the Khan-Algieri fight: "As ever with Khan, the jury is out. He failed to make the noise in a fight he was expected to win, and win in style, flummoxed by Algieri’s game plan of coming forward bullishly all night."
If Khan had hoped to use the outing as an audition for a clash with Floyd Mayweather Jr., he failed to show enough to get the role.
Money toyed with the Englishman before announcing he would instead face Andre Berto in his 49th and final outing before retirement.
Khan quickly switched his attention to former gym mate Manny Pacquiao, yet once again he was only led down a garden path. The Filipino has announced he will have a third bout with Timothy Bradley before hanging up his gloves.
Amir Khan: Strengths and Weaknesses
Amir Khan has fast hands. Very fast hands. Speed is his main weapon.
The 29-year-old’s ability to unleash rapid combinations has been a key to his success as both an amateur and a pro.
His trainer, Virgil Hunter, is a big believer in Khan, per Jeff Powell of the MailOnline: "With his ability, speed and intelligence Amir is ready to dominate the welterweight division. I’m in this to help him achieve that. To set the bar that high for him."
The major concern many point to with Khan is his ability to take a punch. His critics still point to the knockout defeat against Breidis Prescott to show that he has a weak chin.
However, that was way back in 2008. Since that loss, the Brit has come through enough tough moments—just watch Round 10 against Marcos Maidana to prove Khan can absorb a big shot.
What is concerning, though, is the amount of punches Khan ends up getting hit with. Too often he wants to stand and trade in a show of courage, rather than use his superior skills to win from long range.
There are legitimate questions to be asked about his power. Khan has recorded 19 knockouts, but his last four bouts have all gone the distance.
Does he hit hard enough at welterweight to wobble the best in the division?
Brook vs. Khan: Early Prediction
As should be the case with big fights, Kell Brook against Amir Khan is a tough one to call.
Brook has the size, but Khan brings the speed. Pick your poison and there's your likely winner.
If the bout were to go the distance, Khan would be the favourite to win on points. His ability to produce punches in bunches always impresses judges, as shown last year against Chris Algieri.
Brook, though, would not worry too much about giving away a few rounds. His best hope of victory would be by stoppage, and that would mean taking a few to get in close and do damage.
If Khan cannot hit hard enough to keep his opponent at bay, Brook—ranked top of the welterweights by The Ring magazine—could wear him down in the second half of the bout.
It's a pick 'em fight that would leave the winner in a strong position in a packed division.
Of course, if it's a really good fight at Wembley Stadium, the best option would be to book the venue out again and have a rematch later in the year.
Who do you think will win the Brook-Khan showdown? Give is your opinion by using the comments section.