SHEFFIELD boxer Kell Brook has been encouraged to continue his war of words with rival Amir Khan if he wants his rival to commit to a fight against him.
Brook has openly stated that he felt Bolton-based Khan, the current WBA World light welterweight champion, was ‘dodging’ a fight with him but Khan retaliated online via Twitter, insisting a fight will happen ‘in the future’ – but refused to give any indication when.
Brook, of course, puts his unbeaten record on the line against South African veteran Lovemore N’dou on Saturday at Hillsborough Leisure Centre and beyond that fight, friends of Brook, from Hillsborough, believe Khan is reluctant to commit to a bout because he is chasing a bigger purse elsewhere.
Privately, however, Brook has set his sights on fighting Khan and believes he could beat him.
Khan will face Zab Judah in Las Vegas on July 23, after two-belt world champion Timothy Bradley turned down a chance to unify the light-welterweight division.
“Often the most difficult thing for any challenger is actually getting the fight ‘booked’, i.e. getting the ‘champ’ to agree to fight him,” Professor Ian Maynard, a leading expert in the field of sports psychology and member of Sheffield Hallam University’s Centre for Sports and Exercise Science, told The Telegraph.
“In this case, this will be even more difficult for Kell. My perception is that Khan’s camp don’t see a big ‘purse’ in any fight with Brook, hence he won’t be very motivated to give Brook the opportunity to challenge him ahead of higher profile international opposition that would probably attract a far bigger TV audience, hence a bigger purse.
“In this kind of situation, the challenger will often enter into this type of ‘battle of words’ to try to get the title holder to lose his cool and accept the fight.
“Likewise, the publicity that this kind of ‘exchange’ generates is often used to gauge the interest of the ‘public at large’. If the options for fights are low, a ‘big’ domestic fight – such as Khan v Brook - would often be regarded as better than nothing.”
Khan initially dismissed the idea of a fight with Brook, suggesting a fight against his former sparring partner would be “too easy”.
Writing on Twitter, Khan said: “Kell Brook, keep on dreaming,” before both fighters suggested they had been dominant during sparring.
“If one of the fighters, Kell or Amir, was really particularly dominant during this sparring, then this may give them some confidence and a psychological edge that could come into play in any potential fight,” Maynard, who has worked as a consultant with the Amateur Boxing Association of England, added.
“However, I would have thought that too much water would have gone under the bridge since they previously sparred for this to be too much of a problem.
“Likewise, I expect both will have the necessary psychological skills to put most of their previous history behind them, if they were to climb through the ropes again in the future.”
However psychologically trained the boxers are, Maynard still expects the mind games to play their part.
“In boxing, I think that psychological fear is much more of a concern for the athletes than physical fear,” he said.
“After all, they will confront physical fear and pain every time they spar.”
Frank Warren, Brook’s promoter, has previously said: “If he [Khan] wants Kell Brook, then we can make it easily.
“It’s a fight that the British public would love.
“Brook is unbeaten, he’s number one in the WBO rankings at welterweight, and he’s very hungry.”