Amir Khan’t

By: Danny Richardson

Follow me @Danny_Boy_93

 

 

As you will know by now, on Saturday night, Olympic silver medallist and former world champion Amir ‘King’ Khan was shockingly knocked out in four rounds by WBC champion Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia, at the Mandalay Bay resort, Las Vegas. Khan, who suffered the third defeat of his career, was caught with a huge left hand in the third round, and never really recovered as he went on to be stopped after a torrid fourth session. Garcia, who extended his unbeaten record, had struggled for the first two rounds of the contest, the American having no reply for Khan’s superior speed and footwork in the opening stages.

However, Garcia showed his power by landing a peach of a shot on the Bolton man, leaving an all too familiar site, Khan on unsteady legs as he had been in previous contests against Marcos Maidana and Breidis Prescott. The shocking defeat has left some in the boxing world calling for Khan to retire, while some question his relationship with Freddy Roach and others point out Khan’s weakness in the chin department. There are a lot of questions to be asked of Khan following Saturday night, and I’m not sure whether he’ll ever recover.

We shouldn’t forget that Khan started like a house on fire though. For the first 7 or so minutes, he swarmed Garcia with shots, buzzing in and out of range and causing some damage to Garcia’s face after the very first round. His sublime speed caught Garcia out, and until the fateful left hand which sent him crashing to the canvas, it looked for all the world like Khan would force a stoppage in the later rounds.

However – as is always the case with Khan, his defence deserted him. For a man who has a glass jaw, he keeps his hands perilously low, and when he’s caught flush, his legs do a silly dance. That was the case again on Saturday, as he never really recovered from the knockdown. Don’t get me wrong, it was a peach of a shot and Garcia has a reputation as a big puncher, but at the level Khan is at, particularly with his chin worries, he shouldn’t be getting caught with shots like that. You have to wonder, when will he ever learn?

I say that, because he has all the attributes to be a good boxer. He has decent power and a decent boxing ability, but with his blinding speed and terrific jab, he should be keeping fights at range and peppering opponents with shots. That type of style would make him difficult to beat (but not unbeatable) and he’d be beating fighters like Garcia and Lamont Peterson comfortably. He doesn’t need to sit down on his shots and aim to get fighters out of there early, because he would overwhelm opponents with punches, forcing stoppages late on.

But for some reason, ever since the Prescott defeat, Khan seems to set out to prove that he has a chin and can stand and trade with big punchers. He wants to get involved in tear ups, he wants to prove that he can take a shot. Why? The whole boxing world knows that he can’t stand and trade, we all know that he can’t take a shot, we all know that he takes a while to recover after getting hurt. So why take the risk of getting blown away? In the fourth round on Saturday, he egged Garcia onto him when he was clearly hurt. He wanted to stand and trade, he didn’t hold or run for his life like he should have done, and he was eventually stopped. He’s brave yes, but he’s too brave for his own good.

This is a problem he’s had for all of his career. It’s not like this has just come to light, he’s been getting hurt in fights even before Prescott. He was floored early in his career against Michael Gomez and Willie Limond, and after Prescott, he was rocked against Maidana and Peterson. Khan cannot take a shot, yet he wants to prove that he can. He should start by getting that ridiculous mentality out of his head, because until he learns he doesn’t need to stand and trade or take a risk, he won’t go very far. He might lose some of the entertainment value, but at least he’ll be winning.

The other problem he has is his attitude. In my opinion, he’s too big for his boots. There’s nothing wrong with confidence or ambition, but all we’ve heard before his last two fights, is “I’m a superstar” “I’m more known in America than Kell Brook is in England” “I want Floyd Mayweather” “I can beat Floyd Mayweather” and “Younger fighters hang onto my name”. This type of attitude isn’t doing him any favours whatsoever, because in England, his home nation, there are a hell of a lot of people who want to see him lose. I’ll be honest, I don’t like Khan either, particularly because of his attitude. After another defeat, he’ll most likely come back to England and hope to rebuild, but will he have as big as a fan base as he thinks he does? I don’t think he will, in fact, if he goes on to fight Kell Brook, I think Brook would be the fan favourite.

Also, he won’t be getting a fight with Mayweather any time soon, in fact he shouldn’t even be mentioning ‘Money’ in the same sentence as himself. He isn’t in Mayweather’s league, so to talk about fighting him and beating him is ludicrous. Also, he hasn’t been focusing on the task in front of him when he’s mentioning Mayweather, and for me, he’s underestimated opponents, particularly in the case of Lamont Peterson. He’s been guilty of looking past opponents, and that’s added to his list of problems. He needs a reality check, and I hope that Saturday has done that for him, because the way he’s been talking, you’d think he was already at the top of the game, when he has a hell of a long way to go.

So what’s next? He’ll almost definitely fight in England, because he won’t be able to headline a Vegas show coming off a defeat like Saturday’s. But who against? I’ve heard rumours that Ashley Theophane may be in the mix, as well as Kell Brook – which everyone in England wants to see. That of course would mean a step up to welterweight – but would that do Khan any favours?

If Khan has been getting put down as a lightweight and light welterweight, then a move up to welterweight won’t help. There are some big punchers at welterweight, and I can guarantee you, if Khan was to move up to 147lbs, he will find his legs doing a silly dance again. He hasn’t got the power to blast away welterweights, and he hasn’t got the chin to take some of the shots. If he isn’t the best in the light welterweight division, he hasn’t a prayer in the welterweight class. With fighters such as Kell Brook, Victor Ortiz, Andre Berto, Manny Pacquiao and of course Floyd Mayweather, I can safely say Khan won’t dominate a weight class as he wants to.

I would love to see Khan face Kell Brook now, because after all the things Khan has had to say, he’s coming off a loss and I think should he move up a weight, he will be begging to face Brook. It’s the biggest fight domestically out there for him, so it all of a sudden makes a lot of sense. I would love Brook to beat Khan personally, and I hope the fight comes off.

He may chase a rematch with Garcia, even maybe Lamont Peterson should he be allowed to fight following his positive drugs test, but I don’t see either of those happening. All of a sudden, the suggestion that Khan should retire doesn’t look as stupid as it first sounds. Glen McCrory, the Sky pundit, reckons Khan should retire now, and I have to agree with his argument. Khan can’t mix it with the elite in my opinion, and never will be able to. He is a world level fighter, but can he ever be regarded as one of the best? Not for me, because let’s be honest, Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia will never be Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. Timothy Bradley dominated Peterson, while Garcia didn’t look the best in beating an ancient Erik Morales.

If I’m honest, Khan shouldn’t retire, because I still feel he has something to offer – but only to a certain degree. He will never be one of the elite fighters, because he simply hasn’t got the ability. When you look at it, he has blinding speed, but that’s about it. He hasn’t got a boxing brain – he’s only showed he can follow instructions against Andriy Kotelnik to win the world title, but apart from that, he seems to do whatever he wants, and although he may be exciting, he doesn’t look terrific in doing it.  Khan will always be one of those fighters who may be in and out of a world title, but he will never be a dominant champion.

I’ve heard suggestions he should leave Freddie Roach, and I don’t think that’s a bad idea. He will always play second fiddle to Manny Pacquiao, and although Roach has improved Khan as a fighter, he is an offensive minded trainer, while Khan clearly needs to work on his defence. Maybe a change in camp wouldn’t be the worst thing, and don’t be surprised if Khan splits from Roach in the near future.

I’ve tried to be fair in my analysis of Khan, but if I’m brutally honest, I’m not a fan of his and maybe that has played a part in my opinions. But, I genuinely believe that Khan isn’t good enough to be a permanent fixture at world level, and that’s the bottom line. I think he’s been over hyped to a certain extent, and his attitude hasn’t won him many fans in Britain and I doubt he’ll ever be a massive fan favourite.

Even following his defeat, he has come out and said he’s in a better division and fought better fighters than Carl Froch, following quotes from Froch that he would retire if he was in Khan’s shoes (Froch was misquoted however, he meant he would retire if he had been knocked out like Khan was). That type of comment from Khan isn’t winning him fans and it’s delusional. Let’s be honest, the opposition he’s beat have been good, but not at an elite level. Khan can come back and be at a good level, but it’s about time he realised, he will never be great.

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