According to a report from boxingscene.com over the weekend the newly crowned IBF Welterweight Champion, Devon Alexander, has been signed to fight Britain's Kell Brook on January 19th.
News of the bout was given to former WBA and IBF Light-Welterweight champion Amir Khan, who in this boxingscene.com report expressed surprise that Brook took the challenge this soon and also signaled his desire to set up a fight with Brook if he is victorious in his first world title challenge.
Brook became the number one challenger for the IBF Welterweight crown on the same day Alexander himself won the title by stopping Hector Saldivia in the third-round of their October 20th IBF Title Eliminator bout in Brook's home city of Sheffield, England.
That same evening on the other side of the Atlantic, former Light-Welterweight title holder Alexander defeated veteran fighter Randall Baily via unanimous decision to claim the Welterweight crown, and setting up a future showdown with Brook.
Khan's surprise that Brook took the challenge is understandable. Brook has yet to face a top level opponent. Without disrespecting any fighters he has defeated so far in his 29-0 career, Brook's top opponents have been an aged Lovemore N'Dou and Matthew Hatton.
By comparison, Alexander has been in the ring with high caliber fighters, including Timothy Bradley, Lucas Matthysse, Marcos Maidana and also Randall. The difference in the quality of opponent between Alexander and Brook is large, especially when you consider how deep Brook had to dig to hang on for a victory over Carson Jones earlier this year.
The fight with Alexander is not only Brook's first experience with a world title fight, but also a massive jump in the level of competition he will be facing. With an undefeated record, and a recent victory scored mostly on guts and determination, Brook surely feels this is the type of fight his skills should have him in for the foreseeable future.
As for Khan discussing a possible showdown with Brook if the Sheffield fighter can defeat Alexander, can you blame him? Prior to losing his championship belts, Khan had Brook bringing him up as a future opponent after defeating Matthew Hatton in March of this year.
You could say that Brook was being smart to mention Khan in interviews before he was really deserving of a shot at a champion. In today's Internet driven world, if Brook can have his name associated with a better known fighter it increases the number of people looking at him.
Now, the coin could be flipped. Successive defeats have left Khan once again rebuilding his career while Brook is about to try his hand at moving his to the next level. If Brook becomes a champion, a fight with Khan is one that will definitely sell, so Khan used the opportunity wisely to throw his name into the mix for a possible title shot.
Smart marketing by both guys, now they need to back it up in the ring.