There are times in the career of Amir Khan that he has shown dazzling ability. He has been in some tremendous fights (Maidana to name just one) and yet he is looked upon as a massive under-achiever. The promise he showed as an amateur never really amounted to equal success in the pro game. Or so it seems.
In September 2008 the then-unbeaten Khan (18-0-0) was matched against the also unbeaten knock out artist Breidis Prescott (19-0-0) of Columbia. As we all know, Khan was brutally stopped in the first round and a big red flag has been held over Amir’s ability to withstand hard punches to the head ever since.
Khan’s 2012 fourth round TKO loss to Danny Garcia seemed to confirm the frailty in Amir’s make-up and in 2016, Khan was sensationally KO’d in the sixth round by Middleweight superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in Las Vegas. But aren’t we being a little harsh on the native of Bolton, England? Three years after the Alvarez debacle, Khan is again challenging for a world title at 147lbs against Terence “Bud” Crawford. What was he ever doing fighting at Middleweight and especially against a man well known for re-hydrating to the high 170lbs? Brave management is a term that quickly comes to mind. Greed is another. Khan incidentally was ahead on the scorecards when Canelo caught up with him so maybe, just maybe someone believed he was capable of keeping out the way of the Mexican’s best shots for the full 12 rounds. No, no, definitely greed.
So, does Khan truly deserve the afore-mentioned red flag?
Khan won the WBA Super-Welterweight World Title from excellent Ukrainian Andri Kotelnik in Manchester, England in the summer of 2009. After a first-round TKO of unbeaten New Yorker Dmitriy Salita, Khan travelled to “The Big Apple” to stop Paulie Malignaggi at Madison Square Garden in 11 rounds. Seven months later Amir took on Argentina’s once-beaten Marcos Maidana in Las Vegas, Nevada and won a 12 round unanimous decision in a fight of the year candidate.
An awkward defence against unbeaten Irishman Paul McCloskey followed before another good win in Vegas against Jab Judah saw Khan add the IBF Title to his WBA crown.
At this juncture, Khan is flying. He is a celebrated double world title holder and some onlookers see the Prescott fight as a bump in the road that doesn’t really count anymore. But then he takes on Lamont Peterson in his hometown of Washington DC for both titles. Peterson has 29 wins on his record and has lost once to Tim Bradley by decision and drawn with Victor Ortiz. Maybe not a great move by Amir’s management. Had the fight took place in Neutral territory or in the champions home country it is likely Khan would have come away with his titles intact. But that’s not what happened. In highly controversial circumstances Peterson was awarded a split decision win after the referee Joseph Cooper took away a point from Khan in the 7th and 12th rounds for pushing. What looked like a straight forward win for Khan in the first round when he put Peterson down turned into the proverbial nightmare.
What better way to bounce back than to win the WBC and WBA titles from Unbeaten Danny Garcia (23-0-0). The fight took place at The Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the site of Khan’s two big wins over Maidana and Judah. It was looking an easy night for Khan after 2 completed rounds. He was just too quick and slick for Garcia and making him look ordinary. Garcia was cut and making Amir look good.
In the build-up to this fight, Garcia’s father Angel had really got under Khan’s skin. Now, this is a part of boxing that every top fighter has to be prepared for. It’s not new and Khan has to take responsibility for allowing this to happen to him. By the 3rd round, Khan wanted to be cocky and show the Garcia’s who the superior fighter was and it cost him dearly. Garcia who has gone on to be a terrific fighter took full advantage of Khan’s immaturity and scored a knockdown in the 3rd and a stoppage in the 4th round.
Now at this point with back to back losses in the USA Khan could have retreated to a friendlier atmosphere at home in England but he chose instead to fight (17-0-1) Carlos Molina in Los Angeles. Molina was stopped on a cut in the 11th round. Wins over Julio Diaz, Luis Collazo, Devon Alexander and Chris Algieri followed before the Canelo fight.
Khan has rebuilt with wins at home over Phil Lo Greco and Samuel Vargas. Not exactly world beaters but a way back to bigger things all the same. Now promoted by Matchroom Sports, Khan was expected to take part in a huge domestic fight with former IBF Welterweight champion Kell “Special K” Brook. He has however taken the chance to win a world Welterweight title against the formidable Terrence Crawford at Madison Square Garden, New York on April 20th. Khan is a big underdog in this fight once again but you have to give him some credit for wanting to take a big risk against a top talent when he could have earned more money for what most would see as a more winnable fight against Brook.
So is Amir Khan just fighting Crawford for the money or are we missing something here?
Khan still retains tremendous hand speed. He still out boxes everyone he steps into a ring with. He just seems to get caught with shots he shouldn’t be hit with. Against Samuel Vargas he was knocked down in the 2nd round. If the same happens against the classy Crawford, then Khan may not get the chance to get back into the fight.
I think just like against the much bigger Canelo, Khan will have his moments against Crawford. However, unless we are missing something with Amir Khan, Crawford seems like a very safe bet to get the win on April 20th.