By Jake Donovan
Even with Tuesday’s press conference formally announcing Amir Khan’s challenge of unbeaten welterweight titlist Terence Crawford, the Brit is still fielding questions as to why it won’t instead come against longtime domestic rival Kell Brook.
The Crawford-Khan clash will take place April 20 live on ESPN Pay-Per-View, at a yet-to-be-finalized location in the United States. In going this route, Khan (33-4, 20KOs) opted for the more dangerous assignment and in the U.S. as opposed to his native England, which has played host to each of his last two starts.
It would have also proudly served as the backdrop for a long-discussed showdown with Brook, but Khan decided that his desire to face the best trumped what he viewed as nothing more than just another payday.
“I’m delighted to announce a much-anticipated world title fight with Terence Crawford, the current WBO welterweight world champion,” Khan said of the bout being finalized and formally announced. “The decision as to fighting Kell Brook or Crawford has been one of the most difficult decisions of my career to date.
“Clearly, the UK fans want to see Khan vs. Brook, but I could not turn down the opportunity to fight for the WBO title.”
His thinking is that the public appeal for a Brook fight will always be there, as such a showdown will carry a theme of unfinished business more than any surrounding relevance.
“That is not to say that the Brook fight won't happen, as I want that fight to happen as soon as possible,” Khan insists. “Fighting a world champion won't be easy, but this is exactly the challenge I need at this stage of my career.
“I am fully motivated and ready for the best training camp of my life. Crawford is beatable, and I want that WBO title. It's going to be one hell of a fight.”
It will also be the last of a three-fight deal Khan signed with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing more than a year ago. The motivation behind the move—or so suggested at the time—was for Khan to enjoy a clearer path to Brook, who also fights for Matchroom .
Brook went into his Dec. ’18 homecoming versus Michael Zerafa believing that a Khan clash would be next on the list. Any chance of those plans materializing were squashed during fight week, when Khan announced that not only would he not be in attendance in Brook’s Sheffield hometown but that he was mulling a $5 million offer to instead face Crawford.
With the timing of the fight now comes the concern of whether Khan will return to Matchroom, much less ever again entertain an all-Brit showdown with Brook.
“I think it’s still there,” Khan insisted when asked during Tuesday’s press conference in London. “If this fight didn’t come, then I think it would have been the Kell Brook fight.
“I think the Brook fight is still going to be there. It could be after this fight. Who knows. It’s still a fight I’d love to have.”