Monday, 02 January 2017 03:55

Khan vs Brook: Why relinquishing the title makes sense

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Will IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook (36-1, 25 KOs) give up his strap without a fight?

It's certainly possible.

Brook's team is angling for an all-U.K. high-stakes super showdown with Amir Khan (31-4, 19 KOs)  but one fighter stands in the way - Errol Spence (21-0, 18 KOs).

Spence is the IBF's mandatory opponent and the Khan vs Brook superfight could be in jeopardy if the latter faces Spence first.


Simply put, Errol Spence might be the best welterweight in the world but is still a somewhat unknown commodity to fight fans who aren't hardcore junkies.

Consequently, it makes more sense for Brook to face Khan first due to the risk vs reward factor. Given Brook and Khan both hail from the United Kingdom and are staunch rivals, Khan vs Brook in the UK would generate far more interest and income than Brook vs Spence.

Of course, Khan took timeout to poke at his rival for even considering giving up his belt.

"I heard that Kell Brook is giving up his IBF title," Amir recently told

"I don't respect a fighter that gives up his title. If someone's going to give up their title that they won, what's the point in being in the sport? I'd rather get beat [for my title], I respect that."

Problem: If Brook faces Spence before fighting Khan and loses, he will have dropped two straight bouts and his stock would subsequently dip heading into a potential Khan match.

At this moment, Brook's loss to middleweight champ Gennady Golovkin hasn't hurt Kell much because he vaulted two weight divisions to face a menacing opponent who was naturally bigger.

Brook is still unbeaten as a welterweight and is still considered by some the division's best; champion or not.

Should Brook relinquish his title, it would in no way suggest he or his team is scared of Errol Spence. But boxing is a business is risk vs reward sometimes plays a big role.

If Brook faces Spence next, he risks leaving a lot of money on the table.


Lee Cleveland

Lee is Managing Editor of, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.

A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.

Lee created to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.