THERE is a knee-jerk reaction from some pundits, the moment the name ‘Kell Brook’ is mentioned.
They can’t help but bellow the words: ‘Amir Khan’ almost instantly. It’s like a sporting Tourette’s.
Yesterday, the unbeaten Sheffield welterweight announced his opponent for his first fight in America. He will face Puerto Rican Luis Galarza at the 17,000 capacity Boardwalk Hall, New Jersey.
Cameras, microphones and recorders dangled in front of Owlerton’s finest. There was even a question or two about how Brook felt about representing his country in such an iconic boxing environment. But within minutes, the Khan factor overwhelmed the media workout at Attercliffe’s English Institute of Sport.
How did Brook feel about an apparent snub from Khan about fighting him while ever he was handled by his current promoters, Matchroom? How highly did he rate the possibility of meeting him in a domestic welterweight tear-up next year?
Did he know Khan well? Did they speak often?
You cannot deny there’s a legitimate interest in the UK to see Brook v Khan.
But, for Brook, there is the little matter of Galarza. If he doesn’t beat him - and beat him with distinction in front of the American audience - the chances of any high-profile contest reduce pretty drastically.
Brook, well schooled by the Ingle camp in how to handle media interest, showed patience beyond the call of duty, answering all Khan questions earnestly, (he’d like to fight him but isn’t holding his breath) while attempting to steer the conversation back to the matter in hand: his December 17 date with the 29-year-old Galarza, who lives in Tennessee.
Brook seemed relieved when I asked about this planned 10-rounder, on such an illustrious stage. “I can’t wait, this is a big opportunity and there’s an extra leap in my step,” he said. “But it won’t be easy, he’s won 17, 13 by knockout and only lost twice. He is a hot-headed kid and will come out all guns blazing at me. He’ll be reckless. But I am mature enough and I know I cannot slip up; there is no way he is going to touch me. I want to make a statement and knock him out.”
Brook fights as possibly chief support under the WBC and WBA super middleweight title decider between stablemate Carl Froch and California’s Andre Ward.
“I am going over there intending to steal the show,” he said.