- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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It comes as little surprise, but Amir Khan has passed on a showdown with welterweight titlist Kell Brook, which Brook promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing hoped to stage June 13 at London’s famed Wembley Stadium.
It would have been a massive fight -- and still might be if and when they ever meet. But it just won’t be next, unfortunately.
After Brook (34-0, 23 KOs) smashed Jo Jo Dan in a sensational performance in a fourth-round knockout victory on Saturday to retain his belt for the first time, he and Hearn called out Khan. The timing seemed right because Brook is unencumbered by a mandatory defense, Khan has nothing officially lined up and both would make giant paydays. Alas, Khan (30-3, 19 KOs) said he going in another direction.
“My team spoke to Eddie 2 weeks ago and he knew June 13th is a no,” Khan wrote on Twitter. “And they still called me out #Pathetic. This can be the biggest fight UK has ever seen and you wanna do it all in 2 months? and after beating Jo Jo?”
Khan went on to say of Brook that the fight would be even bigger if Brook beat a top-name opponent such as Juan Manuel Marquez, Marcos Maidana, Brandon Rios “or even” Devon Alexander, the former titleholder whom Khan shut out in a masterful performance in December.
“They [are] doing a very good job making the public believe I don’t want the fight,” Khan said. “Trust me I do! Keep building the hype cause winner takes all! I’m done, already given my word to a fighter, will be announcing my next fight very soon.”
There is rampant speculation that Khan’s return will come against former junior welterweight titlist Chris Algieri on May 30.
Brook won't wait on Khan. He came out of the Dan fight healthy and is anxious to fight again quickly.
“I said before the fight that I have kept the fans waiting too long -- I don’t want that to happen again,” said Brook, who won the title in August but was sidelined until last weekend after suffering a serious stab wound in his left leg. “The buzz from the fans when I was walking out was amazing, and the roar each time I knocked him down made me feel like a giant.
“I have told Eddie Hearn to get me out as soon as possible and I want to fight twice before the end of the summer, starting at the end of May.”
Hearn told ESPN.com on Wednesday that Brook may be added to a May 30 card he is promoting in London. It is headlined by lightweight titlist Jorge Linares against mandatory challenger Kevin Mitchell with featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich defending against Lee Selby and top heavyweight prospect Anthony Joshua, the 2012 British Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist, facing Kevin Johnson.
HBO and Showtime are both interested in buying American rights to that show and Brook’s possible addition would make even more of a quality card.
“The plan now is to build on the momentum of Saturday,” Hearn said of his plans for Brook. “It was a wonderful night -- a packed-out arena, and our broadcast partners [Showtime in the United States and Sky Sports in the U.K.] loved it. Originally, we were planning Kell’s next fight for July, but he is itching to fight again and we could bring him back as early as May. It’s been a frustrating period for him, but there is no stopping Kell now and we want to get him back in action as soon as possible.”
Amir Khan has passed on a showdown with welterweight titlist Kell Brook.