British stars Amir Khan and Kell Brook both had a tough time of things back in 2017 (Happy New Year!) – Brook being beaten by Errol Spence in losing his IBF welterweight title and then being sent to hospital (again, with a broken eye socket) and Khan, though not fighting at all, taking something of a hammering from factions of the press due to the events in his personal life and because of his Australian adventure in the jungle (reality TV strikes again!).
But both former champions, household names over here both, look to make a fresh start in 2018. Brook will fight again in March, up at 154 pounds, while Khan plans to box a tune-up, also in March, and both men will be boxing at home before their UK fans. So, which former champ has the best shot of removing the word former before former champ and ruling again?
In truth it looks a pretty stiff task for both fighters. Khan is now 31 years or age, Brook is the same age, and both men have suffered some nasty defeats quite recently: Brook being busted up and stopped by Gennady Golovkin in a brave but ultimately foolish middleweight title challenge and then being battered (late on in the fight) by Spence. Khan has of course not been in a ring since being brutally KO’d by Canelo Alvarez in a brave but foolhardy challenge of his own at a weight too high.
Brook, 36-2(25) says he will be stronger and more powerful up at 154, while retaining his speed. Maybe this will be the case but will his orbital bones be able to hold up when he’s hit and hit hard? Looking at the current champions at 154 – Sadam Ali, Erislandy Lara, Jermell Charlo and Jarrett Hurd – it would perhaps take a brave fan to bet on Brook defeating either one.
Khan, 31-4(19) faces an even tougher task down at welterweight, where the talent is really quite something – Keith Thurman, Spence and Jeff Horn all currently holding a major title. Horn could possibly be a fighter Khan could bamboozle with his speed and win a decision against, but Horn has other commitments, in either a defence against Terence Crawford or that rematch with Manny Pacquiao (or possibly even a move up in weight himself).
It’s somewhat possible Khan could find himself boxing for a vacant belt, but even here it would be a tough job for him to win it – defeat Crawford? Really? And Khan, as good as he is, or was, would be a distinct underdog against either Thurman or Spence.
Both Khan and Brook have real fighting heart and their coming back when financially set proves it, but it’s going to be one hard road back to a major belt. Maybe these two should just do as they should have done years ago, and fight each other, at a catch-weight, and give the British fans a big stadium fight this summer.
If both men can come through their upcoming return bout, that is.