The air was electric at the recent boxing rematch between Chris Eubank Jr. and Liam Smith, but it was British boxing legend Amir Khan who stole the spotlight without even throwing a punch. He not only mended fences with his career-long adversary, Kell Brook, but he also became a talking point for his effusive praise of Eubank Jr., a move that sent social media into a tizzy.
First, let’s address the elephant in the room: Khan’s unexpected camaraderie with Brook. The two fighters, known for their vehement discord, were spotted in a moment of amicable exchange. This marked their first face-to-face encounter since their own showdown last year, giving onlookers a sense that maybe, just maybe, the animosities were in the rearview mirror. Water under the bridge? It’s a tantalising notion.
But it was Khan’s outspoken admiration for Eubank Jr. that had keyboards clacking and tongues wagging. After witnessing Eubank Jr.’s 10th-round knockout victory, Khan didn’t hold back his applause. Taking to social media, he declared, “Good to see the champ in the airport. @ChrisEubankJr proved me and a lot of people wrong on Saturday. Great performance.”
While you’d think that commendation from a boxing heavyweight like Khan would be met with nods of agreement, the reaction was far from unanimous. Critics were quick to brand Khan’s praises as disingenuous. “Here comes fake love,” remarked one online commentator, clearly sceptical of Khan’s motivations.
Others leapt to the defence of Eubank Jr., asserting that the man had nothing left to prove. After all, his resumé is dotted with the likes of marquee fighters such as James DeGale and Liam Williams. Eubank Jr.’s latest victory seemed to merely reaffirm his skill and endurance in the ring, following a shocking loss he sustained earlier in the year.
Alongside these discussions, the much-awaited match had boxing enthusiasts riveted, especially after a nearly nine-month hiatus since their last meeting. Questions are now swirling: will there be a trilogy in the making?
Yet amid all these ringside narratives, Khan stirred another pot. In a recent interview with SecondsOut, he weighed in on the “Pound for Pound Number 1 Fighter in the World,” bestowing the title upon Terence Crawford. “Crawford! The way he beat Spence, in a fight that no one ever expected he would do it that easily… he was punch perfect,” Khan effused. Crawford, who trained Khan for his farewell bout against Brook, had left a lasting impression.
Khan credits Crawford’s recent win over Errol Spence as a career-defining performance that “ticked all the boxes.” It’s no wonder, then, that the prospect of Crawford going toe-to-toe with the super middleweight world champ Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez is generating its own buzz. For now, though, Crawford’s focus remains on Spence, who has invoked a rematch clause for a do-over that promises to be another jaw-dropping contest.
So, in the end, the night might have been about Eubank Jr. and Smith, but it was Amir Khan who became the storyline that captured the imagination of the boxing world. From unexpected reconciliations to controversial endorsements and lofty claims about the sport’s greats, Khan showed that even outside the ring, he still knows how to pack a punch.