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It’s been a long, winding collision course that has taken the best part of a decade, but Amir Khan and Kell Brook look set to finally meet inside a boxing ring.
We didn’t expect to get here.
Broken promises, failed negotiations and peacocking from both sides saw this rivalry continually swept under the carpet of British boxing, but 2022 is the year that this is seemingly all put aside.
BOXXER – promoted by Ben Shalom – have stepped in alongside Sky Sports to bring us this catchweight contest (no heavier than 149 lbs) and British boxing fans are ready to hold their breath on February 19.
Despite Amir Khan forcing Kell Brook to weigh-in under a catchweight of 149 lbs – two pounds over the welterweight limit – the Sheffield fighter’s advantages are hard to ignore.
Brook has only lost to the very best: Gennady Golovkin, Errol Spence Jr and Terence Crawford, and a committed camp should get him into a position to hit hard enough to trouble the chin of Khan.
Khan has been stopped in four of his five losses and it wouldn’t be a shock to see this one end before the final bell.
Brook seems to take this grudge more seriously than Khan, with the Bolton fighter more interested in taking advantage of a sizeable payday.
We think there’s still power in the chocolate brownies of the “Special One” and a stoppage win – at 5/4 with bet365 – can put a full stop on this British rivalry.
At 35, Amir Khan will be under no illusions at what stage of his career he is currently at.
The former light-welterweight world champion has won just one fight since the start of 2019, choosing this moment to “cash-out” against his old foe, Kell Brook.
But Khan’s career shouldn’t be lambasted.
“King” has mixed it with the best across multiple weight classes, registering notable wins over Marcos Maidana, Zab Judah and Paulie Malignaggi, whilst tasting defeat at the hands of superstars such as Canelo Alvarez, Terence Crawford and Danny Garcia.
His chin has been criticised throughout his 17-year pro career but his heart, never.
Khan’s last outing came in the summer of 2019 as he stopped Billy Dib via fourth round TKO, but Brook will once again be a step up.
Kell Brook’s career hasn’t quite gone to plan since beating Shawn Porter for the IBF welterweight title in 2014.
The Winkobank Gym fighter batted off boring mandatories for the years that followed, before deciding to leap up to middleweight to fight the monster-puncher Gennady Golovkin.
As was expected, Brook suffered a stoppage loss to the Kazakh fighter, suffering a broken orbital bone in the process.
His comeback fight – losing his IBF title – ended in similarly painful fashion at the hands of Errol Spence Jr, and since that fight in the summer of 2017, Brook has only beaten a trio of C/D-level fighters at best.
Brook’s last outing ended in a bruising KO loss to Terence Crawford in Las Vegas – Crawford a shared opponent of both Khan and Brook.
And this isn’t even a case of over marination until the taste was just right.
Khan v Brook has been left at the back of the fridge for the best part of a decade, as both men sought greatness down different avenues across a multitude of weight classes.
It’s not rocket science.
Albeit several years down the line from Amir Khan and Kell Brook’s career peaks, their slow declines over the last five years has been fairly consistent with one another.
You could easily argue that this is the closest we’ve been to a true 50/50 fight between the pair — especially considering the agreed catch-weight of 149 lbs — if not at a championship level with gold trinkets and future opportunities on the line.
It’s a fight that’s easy to criticise considering the long wait, but even in 2022, Khan v Brook will still grab plenty of attention in the United Kingdom, if not the world.
We’re heading to the Manchester Arena for Khan-Brook, an arena that has had the privilege of hosting a number of huge fight nights.
Former world champions Mike Tyson, Naseem Hamed, David Haye, Joe Calzaghe, Carl Frampton, Carl Froch and George Groves have all fought here, with Ricky Hatton and Anthony Crolla making the arena their second home for large periods in the 2000s.
21,000 can squeeze into the Manchester Arena and there’s unlikely to be a spare seat as the first bell chimes.
Amir Khan is a smooth operator – if he can jump on top of Brook early, getting into a rhythm of combinations, then everyone of Brook’s 36 years may become evident.
But whether Khan can keep this pace up for 36 minutes without getting tagged is where question lies.
These lads don’t like each other, so if there is a chance to trade it’s hard to see either turning down this opportunity of machismo, but that will play into the hands of the Sheffield man.
Brook can still bang and will have the weight advantage on the night – after all, power is the last thing a fighter loses.
But durability goes quicker as the years tick by and both men are prone to getting hurt.