Khan Out To Prove Doubters Wrong One Last Time
April 18, 2019
Who is the most famous active British fighter in 2019? If you were to ask fans from these shores, they would almost all say Anthony Joshua. However, pose that question to fans across the world and at least half would probably tell you it’s Amir Khan, and with good cause.
As far as boxing goes, the UK is incredibly insular, we like to keep fighters at home. Joshua himself will only be having his first fight overseas in May and perhaps that is why Khan doesn’t necessarily get the credit he deserves.
Ten of Amir’s last fourteen fights have been in the US and while absence can make the heart grow fonder, it can also create apathy. There also exists an odd idea that somehow Khan isn’t that good. A ludicrous claim for a man who has only lost four times in thirty-seven fights.
If you analyse those defeats, they don’t reflect badly on Khan as a fighter either. He got knocked out by a much bigger, and elite fighter in Canelo Alvarez. When getting stopped by Danny Garcia, Khan was in control of the fight and got over-ambitious. He won’t be the last great boxer to suffer that fate. Amir lost a highly controversial split decision to Lamont Peterson in 2011 where both the refereeing and judging were called into serious question. That just leaves the shock KO defeat to Breidis Prescott which can happen to any novice pro.
Away from those defeats, Khan boasts wins against Paulie Malignaggi (when that was still a legitimate claim), an astonishing victory against Marcos Maidana, while he’s also beaten Zab Judah and Devon Alexander. This is an impressive CV by anyone’s standards, and he merits more respect.
A Great Talent, Plagued By Errors
That said, Khan does have issues. A fabulous boxer with eye-watering speed and precision, he can be too quick to get involved in a brawl. It has long been mooted that the defeat to Prescott hurt Khan psychologically and he’s been trying to prove how tough he is ever since.
On Saturday, Amir Khan will have to be incredibly tough as he takes on three-weight world Champion, Terence ‘Bud’ Crawford at Madison Square Garden. Crawford is no joke and is widely regarded as one of the best fighters on the planet. Unbeaten in thirty-four contests he has won titles at lightweight, super-lightweight and now welterweight.
The Omaha southpaw has twenty-five knockouts to his name and can seemingly end fights whenever he pleases. British fans have been aware of him since he won his first world belt back in 2014. Crawford came to Glasgow and utterly outclassed fan-favourite Ricky Burns to take Burns’ WBO lightweight crown.
Since then ‘Bud’ has simply got better and better. He claimed three versions (WBA, WBC, and WBO) of the super-lightweight title and the moved up to 147lbs to beat Jeff Horn and become a welterweight champion too.
Any Chance For Khan?
One of the few criticisms levelled at Crawford is the list of fighters he’s beaten. There aren’t many household names on his résumé but that’s a little unfair. Yuriorkis Gamboa was still a big name when the two met and many people thought he’d also struggle with Viktor Postol. However, an early scare v. Gamboa aside Crawford was imperious against both.
Not many people are giving Amir Khan a chance ahead of this fight. Perhaps this is behind the lack of animosity between the two men but the build-up has been good-natured and respectful. Both fighters have uttered the usual platitudes about “great opponents” and “not looking past Saturday”.
Crawford is making all the right noises about taking Khan seriously, but it is hard to see anything other than a KO victory for the American. If – and it is a huge if – Khan decides to box and stay on the outside he might have a chance of winning, but history has shown us that it simply isn’t in his nature to be that disciplined.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Khan wins a few of the early rounds but part of that will be Crawford adjusting to the speed of Amir and analysing his style. Eventually, the champion’s class will begin to tell, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Khan stopped somewhere between rounds five and eight.
Khan has spoken about this fight “cementing his legacy” but as any sensible fan knows, he has already done that, regardless of the result in New York this weekend.
In Other News
- Vasiliy Lomachenko proved why he is thought to be the best boxer in the world with a devastating fourth-round stoppage of Britain’s Anthony Crolla. Crolla had no answer to the Ukrainian’s power and speed and the fight should arguably have been stopped a round earlier. After the fight, Lomachenko expressed an interest in fighting Mikey Garcia next.
- Highly regarded super-welterweight champion Jaime Munguia scraped a majority decision against mandatory challenger Dennis Hogan in Monterrey, Mexico on Saturday. Rumours of troublesome weight cuts have dogged Munguia of late with many suggesting that this will be his last fight at 154lbs.
- Gennady Golovkin’s team have announced that their man will be fighting Steve Rolls at MSG on May 8th. The Canadian seems an odd opponent choice for Golovkin who is surely using the bout to mark time whilst waiting for a third fight with Canelo Alvarez.
Author: George Ogier
George has been writing about boxing and other sports for over seven years. He has written for various sites including The Mirror, Joe and Boxing Scene. He also runs his own social media management company from West Oxfordshire. When not feverishly staring at his laptop he likes to be ultimately disappointed by Tottenham Hotspur.