By Tim Royner: British promoter Eddie Hearn isn’t happy to learn that Amir Khan is thinking of putting the lucrative Kell Brook fight on hold while he moves forward to potentially challenge WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford for a $5 million payday on March 23 on ESPN PPV.
This is not the news that Matchroom Boxing promoter Hearn wanted to hear, as he signed Khan (33-4, 20 KOs) earlier this year with the goal of matching him against Brook for a huge PPV bash in the UK. Both fighters are long in the tooth, no considered the best in their divisions, and just looking for the best fights.
“Amir seems to think the Brook fight is always there,” Hearn said to skysports.com. “It’s not. This is now or never, this is the last chance. Let’s give the British public what they want. If Amir can beat Kell Brook, he could fight Crawford after for more money than he’s going to get now.”
The way that Hearn is painting the Khan-Brook fight as them giving the British Boxing public what they want makes him look like he’s doing a great thing by pushing to make the fight happen between those two. That’s not what this is about. This would be a money fight for Hearn in having Khan and Brook fight each other. It doesn’t just help those two. It clearly will help Hearn’s Matchroom company as well financially, and there will be a lot of fighters in his stable that will get a massive amount of publicity fighting on the undercard. That in turn will make them more valuable to his promotion.
It’s a win-win for Hearn and Matchroom if he can put the Khan vs. Brook fight together. It’s not the bigger fight in terms of a true sporting event. Crawford vs. Khan is the bigger sporting event due to Terence being the WBO champion. Kell is just a contender at 147 and 154, andthere’s a good chance that he never wins another world title for the remainder of his career. There aren’t any weak champions for Brook to take advantage of now, and he won;t be able to clinch his way to a victory over Shawn Porter
Hearn is obviously using the old the sky is falling routine in trying to create a sense of urgency with the Khan vs. Brook fight needing to be made right now. It would certainly be in Khan’s best interest to fight Brook now before he suffers another knockout loss. That makes sense. Hearn has to realize that Brook isn’t going to be able to continue to take dreadfully bad opposition like he’s presently doing in fighting Sergey Rabchenko and Michael Zerafa forever. If Brook fights a third consecutive poor opponent, he’s going to be hurting his own career with his race to the bottom style of match-making.
Brook will need to fight a live body after he beats Zerafa on Saturday night. The problem with Brook fighting someone good is he would have a high chance of getting beaten again. Hearn doesn’t want Brook or Khan to lose, and then wind up ruining the money that can be made from the British Boxing public from their fight. The UK fans are the only ones that care to see Khan and Brook fight. The U.S casual and hardcore Boxing fans don’t want to see what would be in effect an old timers fight between shot welterweights.
The problem with Hearn’s recommendation of Khan fighting Crawford after he faces Brook is the fight won’t be there for him if he loses to Kell. Crawford’s promoters at Top Rank likely won’t be interested in giving Khan $5 million to have him fight Terence on ESPN PPV. There won’t be enough interest from the American Boxing fans in a Crawford-Khan fight if Khan is coming off a loss to Brook, especially if it’s a KO loss like many fans think it’ll be.
“I believe the British public deserve this fight,” Hearn said about Khan vs. Brook.
It’s got to be burning Hearn up that Khan is so close to the money fight against Brook, which would help Matchroom, but he’s now talking about wanting to fight Crawford. Hearn doesn’t promoter Crawford, so he’s naturally not pleased with Khan showing interest in taking that fight. Hearn wants an in house fight between his two Matchroom fighters Khan ad Brook. Hearn wouldn’t have to share the promotion if he matches Khan and Brook against each other. If Khan fights Crawford, then it’s a shared promotion with the fight being televised likely on ESPN and DAZN.
“I’m not having too much to do with that side, because I don’t want that fight,” Hearn said. I want the fight that’s going to create the legacy in this country, and that’s Brook against Khan.”
Khan vs. Brook won’t be creating a legacy in the UK. Hearn is going overboard in magnifying the importance of the Khan-Brook fight. It’s just a simple fight between two fading former UK stars. Khan and Brook never became stars worldwide the way some fighters do. They were basically domestic stars. Any legacy that is created from the Khan vs. Brook fight will be a domestic level one.
It seems pretty clear that Hearn is going to drag his feet when it comes to the Khan vs. Crawford negotiations. That’s too bad. It looks like Top Rank will need to take the lead in the negotiations if Hearn is being passive-aggressive. Khan needs someone that will work with him to get the fights that he wants. If that’s Crawford right now, then Hearn should be helping him make that happen. The question is would Hearn being saying the same kind of thing if this was Anthony Joshua telling him that he wants to face someone that he doesn’t want him to fight? If Joshua all of a sudden says he must face Deontay Wilder next, would Hearn respond with, ‘I’m not having too much to do with that side, because I don’t want that fight.’? I don’t think Hearn would say that to Joshua, because he would potentially burning a bridge with his biggest star.