icon Updated at 09:36 AM EDT, Sun Oct 8, 2017

Hearn: Brook to Return in February; Khan Fight is Still Huge

By Keith Idec

NEW YORK – At this rate, Kell Brook might return to the ring before Errol Spence Jr.

Brook suffered another fractured orbital bone during his 11th-round knockout defeat to Spence on May 27. His recovery is on schedule, however, and his promoter, Eddie Hearn, told BoxingScene.com that Brook likely will make his comeback from another serious surgery some time in February.

Hearn and Dominic Ingle, Brook’s trainer, previously indicated Brook (36-2, 25 KOs) would consider coming back to fight Miguel Cotto in Brook’s first fight at 154 pounds. Puerto Rico’s Cotto (41-5, 33 KOs) is expected to fight for the final time in his 16-year pro career December 2, but Hearn said Brook wouldn’t be ready to return by then.

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“We spoke to Peter about that, actually, but it’s gonna be a bit early for Kell,” Hearn said, referring to HBO Sports’ Peter Nelson. “I think, realistically, he’s gonna come back in February of next year.”

Hearn discussed Brook’s future with BoxingScene.com before a press conference Tuesday in Manhattan to announce Daniel Jacobs’ debut with Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA on November 11 (https://www.boxingscene.com/daniel-jacobs-if-i-sleep-on-luis-arias-hell-ruin-all-my-plans--121072).

With Cotto headed toward retirement, Hearn didn’t hesitate to mention the fight that seemingly makes the most sense for Brook.

“The Amir Khan fight is still a fight of huge note,” Hearn said. “I think it’s time Kell moves to 154. But, you know, we’ll see what happens.”

Hearn and Khan’s representatives negotiated earlier this year for what would be a profitable domestic showdown between two of England’s most marketable boxers. Brook has criticized Khan for being unreasonable and wanting too much of the money, but a Brook-Khan fight would do big business in the United Kingdom.

Khan (31-4, 19 KOs), who unsuccessfully pursued a fight against Manny Pacquiao earlier this year, hasn’t fought since Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez knocked him unconscious in the sixth round of their WBC middleweight title fight in May 2016 in Las Vegas.

Brook has had surgeries to repair orbital fractures after each of his last two fights.

He suffered a broken right eye socket during his fifth-round technical knockout defeat to middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) in September 2016 at O2 Arena in London. He sustained the same injury around his left eye during his loss to Spence (22-0, 19 KOs) four months ago at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, England, Brook’s hometown.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.