Amir Khan’s frustrating time treading water is almost over following yet another let-down at the hands of a current pound for pound star.
Now 29 years old, and having originally stated his intention to retire at 28, Khan has fought just three times in the past 32 months as the Olympic silver medallist waited around to be chosen by either Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao.
By just doing enough to stay in contention with victories over Luis Collazo, Devon Alexander and Chris Algieri, Khan was eyeing a massive paycheck before possibly stepping away from boxing, but has now been left on the shelf by the sport’s biggest names.
The Mayweather ship sailed by in September when the undefeated legend announced his retirement, which left only Pacquiao as the only viable option to secure a legacy triumph for Khan.
Defeats to Breidis Prescott, Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia have meant Khan will always have question marks against his ability at the very top level and the Bolton man needs at least two defining nights before he can even begin to contemplate hanging up his gloves satisfied.
One of those is a mammoth UK battle with Kell Brook at Wembley Stadium, a carrot that has been dangled by promoter Eddie Hearn for over two years now, but something Khan has seemingly tried to avoid until now.
Hanging on for match-ups against aging stars like Mayweather and Pacquiao, whose power has diminished over time – made perfect sense for Khan, who must now come out of the shadows and accepts Brook’s challenge.
Although the fight seems a close one on paper, Brook’s brunt force makes him the favourite for many and may see Khan contemplating a fourth career loss should the bout go ahead this summer.
Alternatively, Khan could choose a rematch with Peterson or an encounter with super lightweight world title holder Adrien Broner, but will they earn him the adulation he craves? Definitely not.
All the promise shown by a flashy 17 year-old at the 2004 Olympics may not be fulfilled unless Khan steps up to plate to oppose Brook and then finds a way to inflict a first defeat on the Hearn-styled ‘Special One’.
A win would lift Khan into the upper echelons of the 147 pound division and into the realm of potentially being the best 147 pounder out there, especially if he could follow it up against the likes of Keith Thurman, Terence Crawford, Errol Spence or indeed by avenging his Garcia loss.
However his team look at the options open to their man, there is no bigger fight out there financially than Brook, which will be equalling rewarding to Khan’s place in British boxing history once the dust settles on his career.