Amir Khan vs Kell Brook: Expect a Fight of the Year contender

Both fighters are former world champions and while they are nowhere near their primes, we expect the domestic clash to be a Fight of the Year contender.

In one of boxing's most long-awaited bouts, Amir Khan and Kell Brook will finally get it on when they square off in Manchester on February 19.

Domestic rivals and both former world champions, talk of Khan-Brook has been ongoing for what seems like a sporting eternity. However, now, with both men at the back end of their careers, the fight that seemed like it might never happen will take place at the AO Arena in Manchester next month.

While both men are far removed from their prime at the respective age of 35, the bout remains a potential highlight of the British sporting calendar, with the 20,000 available tickets selling out in a matter of minutes.

Brook is the slight favourite going into the contest and while it is probably a fair assessment, this contest still feels as competitive as it might have done had we seen it at any point over the past decade.

Having suffered knockout losses at the hands of Canelo Alvarez and Terence Crawford in his two previous world title bids, Khan has not won a meaningful fight since his UD win against Chris Algieri back in 2015.

Likewise, Brook stopped in each of his last three world title fights against Gennady GolovkinErrol Spence Jnr and Terence Crawford. He last scored a big win when he retained his IBF strap against the unheralded Kevin Bizier back in 2016.

So, with little elsewhere to go, the fight is finally on. But what can we expect come fight night?

One thing is for sure, despite the passing of time, both men's dislike for each other remains as vibrant as ever and despite their fading star, a hugely exciting occasion should be expected, particularly if last month´s press conference is anything to go by.

What's been said?

Amir Khan

"Genuinely, there's bad blood there. Genuinely we don't like each other, and I think he's very disrespectful. I think it's more just the jealousy he's had all the time; he's a very jealous person, and what I've done in my career, he just (envious) of that, and it's one of them things you want to punch him in the face, and that's what I'm gonna do come Saturday night come February 19."

"I think it all originated from what I've achieved in the sport of boxing. You can find I do a lot of TV shows. I've done a lot of things outside of boxing, but that's only because of what I have achieved in the sport of boxing.

"As a fighter, I've got all the biggest sponsorship deals, billboards, I've done like TV shows and stuff, and they come to me to get the deals because I've done so well in the sport of boxing.

"Kell may not have done as well as I have done in boxing. That's why he's not got them deals on the table. So, yeah, I think that's why he's bitter. He's not that person that he wants to be, you know. He wants to be in my shoes, but obviously, he can't be."

"I am coming levels down, taking this fight. I have fought the best in the world. I've conquered America. To give the British fans this fight, I am coming levels down."

"Levels below? He's in Cuckooland," Brook said. "He needs to go back to believing he's a celebrity. This fight is the icing on the cake. This fight is a grudge match.

"This is what I want. I am sick of people asking me about this fight. I've been in with the pound for pound best in the world. This is an easy fight for me."

"You're getting knocked out. This is my first fight. Forget my legacy. I'm gonna knock you spark out, you'll see, you're getting it. It's easy to talk a big game. Watch what happens. I'm going to knock you out and look over and go, 'I told you so'. Levels below you?! You're nuts."

"You've never acknowledged me. I've heard you say, 'Who is Kell Brook?' I know you know who I am. I can't want to spark you. I am going to retire you."

Where and when?

The bout will headline on Saturday, February 19 at the AO Arena in Manchester in front of a capacity of 20,000 crowd.

What's on the line?

A whole lot of pride, but no titles are on the line for this catchweight contest.

Where can I watch it?

Amir Khan vs Kell Brook will be broadcast live on Sky Sports pay-per-view. In America, no major broadcaster has agreed on a deal to have the rights as of yet.

Tale of the Tape

Amir Khan

Amir Khan

Age: 35

Nickname: King

Residence: Bolton, England

Pre-fight record: 34-5

Stance: Orthodox

Height: 5 ft 10 in

Reach: 71 in

Rounds boxed: 232

KO percentage: 54%

Kell Brook

Kell Brook

Age: 35

Nickname: Special K

Residence: Sheffield, England

Pre-fight record: 39-3

Stance: Orthodox

Height: 5 ft 9 in

Reach: 69.5 in

Rounds boxed: 220

KO percentage: 64%

Where's the value?

With neither Khan nor Brook scoring a significant victory in the past five years, it's hard to make a strong case for either man to emerge victorious. And while Brook is a big favourite, it's hard to justify those odds based on recent years events.

Both have fought a similar number of fights since 2016 (not many) but Brook has arguably suffered more damage in his painful back-to-back stoppage losses against Golovkin and Spence Jnr back in 2016 and 2017.

Of course, it could also be argued that Khan has lost more in terms of speed and punch resistance, having suffered five stoppage losses while he has never looked the same fighter since his brutal stoppage at the hands of Canelo Alvarez in 2016.

Still, with so much vitriol and a genuine rivalry to speak of, an intense scrap has to be expected. Neither man is close to his best, while Brook seemed far removed from top shape during the early December press conference.

Ultimately, this is a tough fight to call. Both remain capable former world champions, but they are nowhere near the level they once were. Both want the win badly.

As such, while a KO seems a distinct possibility, we expect this bout to go long with neither possessing serious power and both offering plenty of heart. Neither will want this defeat on their record, and we can expect an all-out affair with blood and guts on ready display.

In the end, we expect a clear winner, and while Brook remains favourite, it would be foolish to write off a fighter with as much experience and heart as Khan.

Often under-estimated, the Bolton man has shown plenty of courage in his career, and we see no reason for that changing in what is likely to prove the final bout for the loser of this long-awaited showdown.

Prediction: Khan on points


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