Prior to Kell Brook’s defeat to Errol Spence Jr. at Brammall Lane, an all-UK clash with Amir Khan had been a highly sellable commodity for both parties.
As ‘The Special One’ prepared for his toughest fight since Shawn Porter, Khan was ringside to witness whether his greatest rival could fend off the challenge of the most promising up and comer in the division.
It turned out to be a coronation night for Spence, as predicted by the bookmakers pre-fight, although none could have foreseen the manner of the ending.
Brook was forced to take a knee and be counted out due to fear of possibly going blind from eye damage. It was the second successive fight an eye socket had been busted and question marks are now being asked about whether Brook can even continue fighting.
The all-clear following surgery to mend the problem, which also happened in the opposite eye against Gennady Golovkin, is not really in question, the big debate is whether the damage done may reoccur against another big puncher down the line.
That kind of uncertainty would ideally see Brook go up against someone not known for heavy hitting, and that’s where Khan should come into play providing a fight can still become a reality.
If promoter Eddie Hearn can seal the deal, Brook could be in for a career-best payday in a pay-per-view encounter that would see the Yorkshireman start the match-up as the solid puncher of the two.
This advantage would be the best thing all round for Brook’s continued facial recovery, despite the fact many see a move to 154 as the best option. Heading up in weight would bring more dangers for Brook, who is a something of a career crossroads following those damaging back-to-back defeats.
Interest was at an all-time high for Brook v Khan prior to the latter being completely wiped out by Canelo Alvarez in May 2016, which has now been followed by those crushing and hurtful losses for the ex-welterweight champion.
Hearn’s powers of persuasion and the might of Sky Box Office behind the event will no doubt raise the profile of the contest, but for many, the appeal of Brook v Khan has diminished significantly.
It’s my belief Khan should get Al Haymon’s blessing to sign a two-fight UK agreement with Hearn and fight in a co-featured show alongside Brook before both then meet at Wembley in 2018.
With Anthony Joshua consistently eyeing stadium fights since his breakthrough against Wladimir Klitschko, the pressure would be off Brook and Khan should they perhaps feature in separate bouts on any rematch undercard in November or December before sharing the spotlight with the heavyweight king again the following summer.
It’s not usually Hearn’s style to have two massive headline fights on the same card at a stadium, but Brook v Khan would certainly be a welcome addition to any of Joshua’s upcoming title defences.
Other than that, fans may be forced to wait a little longer for Brook v Khan unless Hearn decides to settle on an Arena venue in meantime.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay