Longtime British rivals Amir Khan and Kell Brook have made one thing clear -- they want to fight each other in what has been a much-anticipated match for years. Everything appears lined up for them: They are on roughly the same schedule, they are both now with the same promoter in Matchroom Boxing's Eddie Hearn and the fight at this stage of their careers represents by far the biggest payday possible.
They reiterated their desire for the fight when they spoke with each other briefly and shook hands at ringside on Saturday at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, where they were on hand for undisputed cruiserweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk's eighth-round knockout of former titlist Tony Bellew.
Khan and Brook kept things cordial and professional, but there is still no deal.
Hearn hopes to make another run at getting a deal done in the next couple of weeks, though it would be contingent on former welterweight world titlist Brook (37-2, 26 KOs) defeating Australia's Michael Zerafa (25-2, 14 KOs) in a fight scheduled to take place on Dec. 8 (DAZN) at the Sheffield Arena in Brook's hometown of Sheffield, England.
Hearn's aim is to put the fight on in March or possibly May. It would not be in April because Khan-Brook is ticketed for Sky Boxing Office pay-per-view in the United Kingdom and Hearn and Sky won't put on two pay-per-view cards in the same month. Unified heavyweight world titlist Anthony Joshua already is scheduled for his next defense on April 13 on Sky Box Office.
The biggest issue in finalizing a Khan-Brook deal, however, continues to be the weight and the prospect of a rehydration clause.
Khan (33-4, 20 KOs), 31, a former unified junior welterweight world titlist, learned a hard lesson when he went up to 155 pounds to challenge middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez in May 2015. He got knocked cold in the sixth round by Alvarez, who was already the bigger man but bulked up considerably between the weigh-in and the fight more than 24 hours later. Khan, who has won two fights in a row since, including a 12-round decision against Samuel Vargas (who knocked him down) on Sept. 8 with Brook at ringside, doesn't want to give Brook, the bigger man, the opportunity to put on significant weight after the weigh-in.
"The main problem is the weight," Hearn told ESPN. "Amir wants it at 147 and wants a 10-pound rehydration clause."
What Khan means is that after the official weigh-in, he wants Brook, 32, to agree to a weight check the morning of the fight at which he cannot be more than 157 pounds -- 10 over the contract weight.
"Brook says I'll do it at 147 but if you make me weigh 147 then I'm not weighing in again," Hearn said. "That's fair enough. So we're negotiating at the moment. The fight could take place in March. It could also take place in May. We could do it in Millennium Stadium in Cardiff (Wales). We could do it in the O2 (in London). If we go in May, there are stadiums we could do it in the outdoors."
Hearn was in agreement with Brook on the issue of the rehydration clause as long as Brook would agree to make 147 pounds, which is the welterweight limit.
"Kell wants the fight real bad and he's done the 10-pound thing many times for the IBF, but I do agree with him -- if he makes the 147-pound limit, that's it. Amir says that Brook has done the 10-pound thing before, but this isn't an IBF title fight."
Brook used to hold the IBF's welterweight world title and the organization requires a weight check on the morning of world title fights at which the boxers cannot be more than 10 pounds over the weight limit of the division they are fighting for a title in. Brook has not made 147 pounds since a title defense against Errol Spence Jr. in May 2017, a fight in which Brook got knocked out in the 11th round and lost his belt.
In his comeback fight in March, Brook was 153½ pounds for a junior middleweight fight with fringe contender Sergey Rabchenko, whom he demolished in the second round.
On social media Monday, Brook made his feelings clear about the rehydration clause for the proposed fight with Khan.
"I'll be clear for you," he wrote to Khan regarding their ringside conversation on Saturday. "I said, 'There's no title on the line so no need for a rehydration clause.' You've looked me in the eye now & told the world you want it, so let me take care of business (on Dec. 8) & let's make the fight."