Kell Brook is resigned to his ambition of becoming a two-time world champion unfolding without a grudge match against Amir Khan ever taking place.
Brook launches what he concedes is the final phase of his career against Mark DeLuca of the United States in his home town of Sheffield on February 8, ending a 14-month absence from the ring.
The 33-year-old still craves a fight with fellow welterweight Khan but believes his domestic rival’s fear of defeat to another Briton means it will never happen.
“Amir knows where I am. I’m here. If he wants to fight, it’s not hard to make. I’m not being awkward and the world knows that,” said Brook.
“He’s reluctant because we’re both British and with him saying how easy he can beat me....he wouldn’t be able to walk the streets knowing he’d been pasted all over the ring by me.
“He’s been saying for years that he will do this, that and other to me, so when I put him flat on his face he wouldn’t be able to walk around the streets. It would do him in.
I know it’s near the end and when it’s over I want to be able to say to myself – not anyone else – that I’ve given it everything. At least in the last part of my career. Two-time world champion – that’s my goal.Kell Brook
“He can lose to Americans but losing to a Brit – given the history we’ve got – that’s going to hurt. That’s the major issue for him.
“I want to fight him but I don’t really want to hear his name any more – if it happens, it happens.”
Brook insists he is rejuvenated physically and mentally for his twilight quest for another world title.
Fractured eye sockets sustained in the only defeats on his 40-fight record against Gennadiy Golovkin and Errol Spence Jr required surgery, but it was the claims that he quit against Spence that inflicted the deepest wound.
A period of depression ensued and was followed by two victories that led into an inactive 2019.
“DeLuca is in my way. He’s an ex-marine so he’s tough and he knows that beating me opens up massive fights so he’s going to bring it. I’ve had a year out and I can’t wait to perform for the fans,” added Brook.
“It feels amazing to be back and being so healthy, fit and focused. Physically I’m 10 out of 10. I feel young and I’m flying past all these 20-year-olds in the gym.
“I know it’s near the end and when it’s over I want to be able to say to myself – not anyone else – that I’ve given it everything. At least in the last part of my career.
“Two-time world champion – that’s my goal. I want to be a world champion again. And I know I will.”
Brook admitted last year proved a frustrating time in terms of his attempts to get back into the ring.
“At the beginning of last year it was frustrating because I was trying to get the Terence Crawford fight to happen. I was trying to make a few fights happen but they never materialised.
“So then I took some time off, enjoyed being with my little girls and went to a few different countries.
“But then I got bored and I thought I need the boxing because it’s all I’ve known and I knew I have more to give. I’ve got unfinished business and I want to give all I’ve got.
“I don’t want to give 80 per cent and burn the candle at both ends, I want to give it my all.