Boxing

Calling Amir Khan’s Bluff

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Few thought that the rematch clause built into Amir Khan’s contract for his February 19 bout with Kell Brook would be an issue. After all, Khan had been utterly dominated by his longtime rival and stopped in the sixth round. This years-in-the-making grudge match was about as one-sided as imaginable.

Amir Khan “Stunned from the get-go”

Stunned from the get-go, the Olympic silver medalist and former world champ never had his legs under him and never mounted anything resembling an offensive push. Beaten from pillar to post, the sixth round stoppage was as merciful as it was necessary. The 35-year-old Khan would have to be crazy to want some more of what he got from Brook.

Yet, word has it that Khan is, indeed, talking about exercising his rematch clause.

But why?

Duh. It’s about money.

Kell Brook, who was thought to be done as a main stage fighter, has found his career rejuvenated in the wake of his victory over Khan. A few big-money opportunities have since popped up on his doorstep. One of them is against rising second generation star, Conor Benn.

But if Khan gripes about forcing the rematch with Brook, then Brook would have to either fight Khan again in an absolutely pointless bout with little market value anymore or pay Khan step-aside money to wave his right to a rematch.

Obviously– unless he’s lost his damn mind– Khan is angling for the second option.

“We have been approached to pay Amir Khan’s step-aside money so Conor Benn can fight Kell Brook,” Benn’s promoter Eddie Hearn told iFL TV.

“No thank you, you ain’t gonna fight Kell Brook anyway, so why should we pay you step-aside money?”

Hearn can clearly see a toothless shakedown when he sees one.

“We all know he’s not going to exercise the rematch clause or he might exercise the rematch clause but he’s not going to get in the ring,” the promoter added.

“So what he’s trying to say is ‘I’m going to exercise the rematch clause and I’m going to fight Kell Brook but I won’t if you give me a few quid’ and the answer to that is not on your nelly!”

All of this, of course, is assuming that Conor Benn is really set on fighting Brook and Brook is interested in fighting Benn. But the rumbling from Khan’s side is pretty much a declaration that if his old rival is going to make some bucks, he wants a taste of that money or he plans on messing things up.

So, what can be done about an Amir Khan who plans on using that rematch clause to hold Brook’s future up for ransom?

Call his bluff.

It’s Time to Call Khan’s Bluff

“If he wants another whooping he can have another whooping,” Brook recently told Sky Sports News.

“It was so one-sided, I don’t know what he can say and come back to the table with. If he wants that rematch, I’ll dust them gloves off and do it again.”

But, as Hearn said, Khan doesn’t really want the rematch. It would be a rematch that makes no sense for anyone and one that probably couldn’t be sold to anyone. Khan surely knows this. If Brook called his bluff, Khan would probably take the fight publicly, but drag his feet when it came down to actually setting a date and/or back out at the last minute with a phantom injury if no step-aside money was offered.

Maybe it would be worth losing a few months of Brook’s career to have Khan out of his hair. Then, the 35-year-old Brook could move on to another nest egg bout, one where he wouldn’t have to give Khan a piece via step-aside money.

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Paul Magno has over forty years of experience in and around the sport of boxing and has had his hand in everything, from officiating to training. As a writer, his work has appeared in several online publications, including Yahoo Sports, Fox Sports, FightHype, Max Boxing, Boxing.com, Inside Fights, The Boxing Tribune, The Queensberry Rules, and Premier Boxing Champions. You can reach him at: paulmagno@theboxingtribune.com