“I just wanted that acknowledgement and that respect.”
Well, it’s only a decade later than everyone had originally wanted to see it, but I guess it’s better than never, as Amir Khan and Kell Brook will finally face each other in the ring this weekend.
To say they have a long lasting rivalry would be drastically underselling it, as Khan has been the holy grail fight for Brook, throughout his whole career.
The Bolton superstar was the golden boy in British boxing, winning an Olympic silver medal at just 17, and then going on to win two world titles.
Sheffield warrior Brook, however, had to do it the hard way, working his way up from small hall shows, bottom of the undercard fights, and with little publicity, he eventually fought his way to the top.
Now they both have glittering CVs, and have come up against some of the biggest names in the sport, like Marcos Maidana, Canelo Alvarez, Shawn Porter and Terence Crawford.(Khan during the London 2012 Olympics. Credit: Christie Goodwin/Redferns/Getty Images)
Nevertheless, they simply have had too many birthdays and too many losses at this stage for the fight to be the world title unification bout we all originally wanted to see.
Brook chased the bout relentlessly, but the former Olympian was much more interested in chasing Floyd Mayweather, than having an all-British battle.
Regardless, the fight is happening now, and on Saturday night, we will know once and for all who the better fighter was.(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
On Sky Sports’ Gloves Are Off show, Khan knew how much Brook was hurt by not having the fight earlier in his career, and decided to toy with these emotions.
When Johnny Nelson asked Brook if he wanted Khan to acknowledge his achievements, the former world champion was brutally honest in his answer.
“He has never showed me respect, I just wanted that acknowledgement and that respect.”(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)
The I’m a Celebrity star interrupted very sarcastically and patronisingly with: “I respect that, I respect that.
“Look, you won a title, you went to America… well done.”
That last “well done” was delivered with a grimacing smile that would normally be seen on the face of a Disney villain, teasing the protagonist with cheesy taunts about their past trauma.
This bit had me dying ??? pic.twitter.com/zTVAt1EbR7
— Bilal (@Billy__XVI) February 14, 2022
Then the camera pans to the man from Ingle Gym and his devastation, anger, and years of pent up frustration are just etched on his face.
Every boxing match is marketed as though it’s “personal” between the two fighters, but the bad blood on this occasion is not only real, but bubbling beyond boiling temperature.
It’s a fight where you genuinely fear for the loser, because there doesn’t seem to be any way back for them, and not just in their careers, but their reputations.