It’s painfully frustrating as a fan, fighter or promoter when a potential super-fight doesn’t quite materialise, and as we all became aware of yesterday, Brook-Khan appears to be a no-go once again. BNTV received word from Khan’s manager Asif Vali that the fight was off due to a last-minute change in demands from Brook’s management, and ran an exclusive piece online accordingly – but now Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn has had his say.
Hearn spoke to BNTV after a fairly conserved and thoroughly professional Linares-Crolla press conference in Manchester, and immediately addressed the underlying issue in talks – purse splits. According to Vali, talk of Khan wanting a 70-30 split was ‘nonsense’, though as Hearn pointed out, this point is disputed – with both sides maintaining their stance on the issue. He said:
“The split has always been that 50-50 is our perception of how it should be. Do we go less? We don’t really want to, no. Do we go 5% less? I’m sure we can talk about it. Do we go 70-30? Not in a million years. That was apparent in the meeting very quickly. What happened was Asif Vali said if that’s what we think, we should shake hands and end it there. Kell’s dad shook his hand, and said thank you very much.
“If we had to take less, would I consider it? Yes, I would, but I don’t make the decisions. They come with Kell and Terry.”
“There was various discussions of how to make the deal work. 50-50 was a discussion that I’ve had with Asif previously, that again he said ‘No, we don’t agree with that’ to. It doesn’t mean Kell’s dad won’t look at the guarantee as well, but the flavour of the meeting was very ‘I think it should be 50-50’, ‘Not in a million years’. Okay, well if that’s what they think, we’ll leave it there then. That was it.
“We didn’t even get as far as to say ‘Okay, well how about a guarantee?’. I feel like a straight split is always easier. Amir says Kell will make more than he did against Golovkin, but he’ll make more than he did against Canelo when he got knocked out. We lost as well, so they’re both coming off losses, but now’s the perfect time. I do believe that deep down, after the knockout, after the hand surgery – and with stuff in his personal life, that Amir wants an interim bout.”
The meeting Hearn referred to was that which took place between himself, Asif Vali and Terry Brook (Kell’s father and manager) last Friday. This is where negotiations broke down, and as Vali told BNTV, Terry Brook and Eddie Hearn were not in complete agreement over what was the best deal for Kell. Hearn seemed more willing to negotiate below a 50-50 split, though Brook and Vali were worlds apart when it came to figures. Hearn continued:
“I don’t think this fight is dead, but it’s probably dead for May. I’m still talking to Asif Vali. The reason I brought Kell’s dad in was that we got to that stage in the deal, and Terry’s his advisor. So we brought him in to talk through it, but we [Hearn and Vali] were a long way away in terms of perception of what’s fair. I think it should be a 50-50 split. If we had to take less, would I consider it? Yes, I would, but I don’t make the decisions. They come with Kell and Terry.
“If you ask me what I think it should be, it’s 50-50, but I want Kell Brook to take this fight, even if he has to take less. 70-30 is an insult though. Amir is the bigger name, but Kell’s a champion. Kell’s loss was far less devastating than the Canelo loss, but it wasn’t like we were talking 5% – we were talking 20% which would be like being a challenger to Amir’s world title – which he doesn’t have. So again, it’s ongoing, it’s amicable. We’ve been trying to find a model that works, but we just can’t.”
Brook’s IBF title wouldn’t have been on the line had this fight materialised, but his team are now faced with a tough decision – fight Errol Spence Jr at 147, or be stripped. Brook personally wants to take the fight and keep his title, but as Hearn revealed to BNTV, the pair are in disagreement with just two weeks until purse bids are ordered.
“I don’t think he should fight at welterweight,” He said. “That’s the problem. I’ve seen what he’s had to do to make welterweight time and time again. When he’s moved up to 160, it was too much weight, but it was a joy to watch him train. 154 is an absolutely perfect weight for Kell. The Khan fight’s different, because he wants it that bad. That’s a sacrifice he’ll make, but I don’t see why he should deplete himself and be a lesser fighter, and be in elite fights where he’s going to be at a disadvantage.
“We’ve got to think carefully. We’ve got two weeks until purse bids, so we have to make our mind up quickly.”
“He says ‘I’m not giving up my title’, but I’ll say ‘You’re not as good at 147 as you are at 154, so why would you do that?’. He doesn’t want to give it up because he’s worked for it, but let’s just think smart for a minute. He wants to fight Errol Spence, but me, the trainer, even the nutritionist… We know he can make 147, but when you’re a much better fighter at 154, why would you do that?
“It’s mainly because people on Twitter are telling him not to pull out of the Spence fight, and calling him a coward. So what’re you gonna do? Make a mistake? Say you’ll do it, and get three weeks out thinking ‘I’m struggling with the weight’? We’ve got to think carefully. We’ve got two weeks until purse bids, so we have to make our mind up quickly.”
Amir Khan’s representatives will now be meeting with Al Haymon in the coming days to discuss their next move – which will be at 147lbs. As for Brook, Hearn finished by saying the chances currently stand at 50-50 as to whether he’ll vacate in the next two weeks before purse bids are ordered.