Amir Khan v Kell Brook: There is more on the line than just bragging rights

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Contemplating the future is a dangerous game for Amir Khan and Kell Brook.

This is a rivalry built upon the foundations of nearly 20 years of animosity, yet the spoils of war far exceed the typical ‘bragging rights’ that come with grudge matches of this kind. 

‘He’s already got smashed up eye sockets, he’s already been beaten, knocked out, this is the time now where I finish his career off so he never needs to look at boxing again,’ Khan said. 

There is more than just bragging rights on the line when Amir Khan (L) takes on Kell Brook (R)

There is more than just bragging rights on the line when Amir Khan (L) takes on Kell Brook (R)

‘This is going to be a nice pay day for you, Kell Brook, so you get this pay day and walk away, leave the sport happy.’

Brook retorted: ‘It’s a long time coming for me, you’ll see. He gets destroyed, he gets beat like I’ve been telling you for years.

‘He’s never wanted this fight, it’s me that wanted this fight for the fans. He’s always had it his own way, he’s not having it his own way.’

For both men, there can be no hiding from the sobering reality that Saturday night is truly a make-or-break moment. 

Their rivalry spans almost two decades and the outcome could have a devastating impact on the loser's career

Their rivalry spans almost two decades and the outcome could have a devastating impact on the loser’s career

Khan and Brook, both 35, are coming to the end of their careers, both highly unlikely to ever scale the heights of competing at world championship level, and now they have decided to cash in on the seismic payday that has always been on the horizon.

The pair both feel that this payday will be their rival’s last, with there being a real possibility that the loser of Saturday’s contest in Manchester will hang up his gloves for good. 

It is the one, rare point that they can both agree on, but they envision different futures. 

‘It’s unthinkable for me,’ Brook insists. ‘It’s been talked about that much, I’d have to walk with my head down for the rest of my life.

Khan says that his arch rival will enjoy one final payday and will hang up his gloves after

Khan says that his arch rival will enjoy one final payday and will hang up his gloves after

Brook insists that he would not be able to show his face if he suffers defeat to his nemesis

Brook insists that he would not be able to show his face if he suffers defeat to his nemesis

‘He (Khan) knows this as well – there’s a lot of pressure on this fight because of how long it’s been going on, the build-up… this is the best in Britain, this is Khan vs Brook, this is the one. This is bragging rights to the maximum.’ 

For Khan, defeat is out of the question, but in an interview with Sportsmail last month, he admitted that he is contemplating retirement. 

‘I don’t want to go in there and just box him, I want to go in there to hurt him and to put him away,’ Khan said.

‘Defeat? I haven’t thought about it and I don’t want to think about it. I can’t lose the fight.

On his future, Khan added: ‘I don’t know, I’m just going to wait and see. I’m just going to see how this fight goes.

Khan has spoken openly about his boxing future and said that he has contemplated retirement

Khan has spoken openly about his boxing future and said that he has contemplated retirement

‘I’ve always said that I don’t want boxing to retire me. I don’t want to be one of them fighters. I want to retire from boxing. I’m just going to go in there and enjoy it. I really feel while I’m in camp now that I’ve got a few fights left in me, though I don’t know what the wife’s going to think about that, or my kids!’ 

Yet for all the talk of retirement and career-enders, this is boxing – where contractual safety nets have become the norm.

So it is no surprise that Khan and Brook have put pen to paper on a contract which contains a rematch clause, although both men are convinced that the other will not fancy stepping into the ring again after Saturday’s business is settled.

‘I believe there is a rematch clause and I’m not sure that he’ll want to take that rematch clause or not with what I want to do to him in this fight,’ Brook told Sky Sports News. 

‘If Amir Khan wants another beatdown he can have one.’  

The Special One has confirmed that there is a rematch clause, but insists Khan will not want to take it up once he’s finished with him in Manchester

Fighters rarely disclose their future plans to the public on the eve of a major bout, and for Khan and Brook, such is the magnitude of this match-up any lapse in focus risks being duly punished.

Yet there is one boxer waiting in the wings, plotting another major British fight with Saturday night’s victor.

Conor Benn is widely viewed as one of British boxing’s most exciting prospects, with the 25-year-old son of the legendary Nigel Benn making waves in a stacked welterweight division.

His latest victory came against former welterweight title challenger Chris Algieri, and he now has his sights set on a landmark victory over a former champion in either Khan or Brook. 

Up and coming star Conor Benn has also expressed a desire to face the winner of Khan v Brook

Up and coming star Conor Benn has also expressed a desire to face the winner of Khan v Brook

‘2022, get me the winner of Khan-Brook,’ he said late last year, ‘I see them talking about it. I didn’t call out Brook because we’re pals but business is business. Whoever the winner is, I’ll have them.

‘If they don’t want it, we’ll fight [Adrien] Broner in America. If Broner don’t want it, I fancy my chances against [Yordenis] Ugas.’   

Whether it’s Benn, a rematch or retirement, in this most bitter of grudge matches, Amir Khan and Kell Brook will pull out all the stops to ensure that the other does not go out on their terms. 

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