|Amir Khan vs Kell Brook||Odds|
|Where||AO Arena, Manchester, England|
|When||Saturday, Feb 19, 5pm ET|
One of British boxing’s fiercest rivalries could be concluded this Saturday as Amir Khan and Kell Brook finally settle their score inside the ring.
Arriving at this point has been no mean feat. For the best part of the previous decade, it has felt as inevitable a match-up as it has a logical business move, but a combination of pride, financial demands, and differing trajectories resulted in a protracted - and at times infuriating - saga that not even skilled mediators were able to drag to a signed contract.
However, with both men now in their mid-thirties, and with the high stakes of world titles well behind them, the draw of a highly lucrative cash-out at the tail end of two glittering careers was impossible to ignore.
Brook the favourite
In a contest that’s been priced up by the layers numerous times over the years, it’s Brook (39-3, 27 KOs) who will start as the slight favorite. Although touching -120 with some firms in the UK, it’s more common to see a quote of around -150 on the Sheffield man, which implies a win probability of 60%. For context, during just one previous period of negotiation for this fight, way back in April 2015 when it was tabbed to fill the 90,000-capacity Wembley Stadium, it was Khan (34-5, 21 KOs) who was once favored around the -225 (69% implied chance) mark.
Now though, in February 2022, Khan - a former unified world champion at 140lb - is listed at around a +125 shot, or a 44% chance, with the draw anywhere between +1600 and +2200 (4% to 6%) depending on your choice of book. Drawing formlines for the two here is problematic: Khan is the only man coming into Saturday off the back of a win, but few will put much stock into a stoppage of Billy Dib - a blown-up featherweight - two-and-a-half years ago, and with no bouts since.
Brook - despite spending all of 2021 on the sidelines seemingly in a state of semi-retirement - has been more active, having fought twice since Khan last stepped through the ropes. His last outing, however, was a crushing one, with a heavy fourth-round defeat to Terence Crawford - the same man who also dispatched of Khan without much fuss inside six - leaving many wondering whether we’d seen the last of ‘The Special One’.
Both men are vulnerable
Indeed, weaved together with the enduring personal grudge, it’s both men’s vulnerabilities that make Khan-Brook such an intriguing prospect. Khan’s fragility has been a topic of discussion for virtually his entire professional career, and 80% of his losses coming inside the distance tells the story. Since stepping up to world level, Khan has been stopped three times, with none of those contests going further than the halfway point, with the fight waved off by the fourth, sixth, and fourth rounds. Going by this short trend, then, and noting his opponent’s much-vaunted power and signature right hand, a Brook KO to come anywhere inside the first six rounds at +400 (20% implied chance) could hold appeal for those looking for a more substantial price on the favorite. A Brook stoppage at any time is quoted at +138 (42%) and will no doubt be a popular bet this weekend.
Conversely, 100% of Brook’s three defeats have been early, albeit to exceptionally gifted opponents: Gennady Golovkin (TKO5), Errol Spence (KO11), and the aforementioned Crawford (TKO4), with serious eye injuries sustained along the way. Khan, never known as a concussive puncher, saw his knockouts largely dry up as he stepped up in weight, with only 33% of his wins at 147lb or above end inside the scheduled duration. A Khan stoppage here is priced at +400 (20%), with a decision win - statistically the likelier route to victory for him at the higher weights - available at +375 (21%). A decision for Brook - rumored to be struggling to make the 149lb catchweight, despite a heavy financial penalty for every pound he were to miss it by - is given a 19% chance by the oddsmakers, or a price of +425.
Interesting prop bets
A marquee event like this - at least on one side of the Atlantic - typically inspires some novelty props, and this is no exception. Brook, for example, is +8000 to win inside the first minute of the first round. Both fighters to be knocked down - a scenario not too difficult to envisage should a firefight break out - is +350 (22%). Fancy both fighters to get knocked down and the fight to still go the distance? That’s available at +1200 (8%), as are a host of inventive markets that may enhance the entertainment even further.
The pick for a more considered play, though, is a cautious one. Khan’s track record demonstrates him as being an almost unique entertaining fighter - brilliant one second, on unsteady legs the next - but should he successfully manage to walk the tightrope for 12 rounds here, the decision angle, while turning the viewing experience into anything other than a stress-free watch, holds some merit.
Khan vs Brook boxing pick :
Amir Khan by decision (+375)
The two fighters have pulled no punches in the war of words leading up to Saturday's fight.
“His confidence is brittle, definitely. And I can see right through him. You can see how he reacts when I talk to him. You could see he really dislikes me and hates me, which is normal. We’re going to be fighting each other come Saturday.
“I just think it’s getting to him a bit too much where it could definitely throw his game-plan out the window, where he’s going to go into a fight, guns blazing, make mistakes and get caught himself. I’m staying calm. I find it quite funny when I speak to him and I can see the anger in him. I just kind of mess around with him really, to be honest. That’s what it’s come down to. I pick on things, and I know it’s going to get under his skin.”
“It’s personal. It’s not made up. We dislike each other. I’ve got the grudge match of my career. I haven’t lost anything. I might be 35. But Terence Crawford is 34, so is Shawn Porter, and they just had an epic fight. Crawford is one of the best pound-for-pound.
“I’ve still got the power, still got the timing, the experience. It will be one of my best performances. “It’s about bragging rights. Imagine – whoever loses has to live with it for the rest of their lives. I will put myself through hell in training. I looked into his eyes – he knows that I’m coming. He never wanted this fight but he’s been backed into a corner. I’ve wanted it for years.”
The Amir Khan vs Kell Brook undercard has also been formally announced. Here's some of the action we can expect to see when the coverage kicks off at 2pm ET.
Natasha Jonas vs Chris Namus
Charlie Schofield vs Germaine Brown
Bradley Rea vs Craig McCarthy
Frazer Clarke vs TBA
Viddal Riley vs Willbeforce Shihepo
Adam Azim vs Jordan Ellison
Hassan Azim vs MJ Hall
Abdul Khan vs Ricky Starkey
Ibrahim Nadim vs Taka Bembereb
To Win Fight
The simplest bet on boxing that we can make. All we need to do is predict which of the two fighters will be victorious. It doesn’t matter how or when they win, all that counts is that the referee holds aloft our selection’s hand at the end of the fight.