On Saturday Khan looked like a fighter who is still unaware that his strengths are speed rather than slugging. At 25, he's at a vital crossroads and if he makes the wrong decisions his career, and health, are on the line...
In the wake of a brutal 4th round stoppage at the hands of Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia. Many people are questioning where Amir ‘King’ Khan goes from here.
Even in an era where so much emphases is placed on the ’0′. There are still routes back from defeat. Lennox Lewis was KOd twice, yet he still went on to have a great career avenging both losses along the way.
Comebacks happen, but in Amir’s case it’s a long, long way back.
Very early on in his career questions have been asked of Khan’s punch resistance, his defence, & the strength of his chin. (Three vital commodities in boxing.)
He was dropped by light punchers Willie Limond & Michael Gomez. Knocked out cold by Bredis Prescott. Rocked to his boots by Marcos Maidana, & now KOd by Danny Garcia.
Having an average chin isn’t the be all & end all in boxing. With clever match making, a sound defence & good tactics. You can overcome the issues of a suspect set of whiskers. Just ask Wladamir Klitshko & Roy Jones Jnr. A fighter like Wladamir understands his vulnerabilities so he’s tailored his offence to negate them. Khan on the other hand is the complete opposite.
Amir hasn’t made any significant improvements under Roach
At 25 years old he is still young, but if he doesn’t have a grasp of his strengths & weaknesses now. Will he ever?
Team Khan can preach all they want to about the brilliance of trainer Freddie Roach & his famous Wild Card gym. Quite frankly the Wild Card is part of the problem. Amir hasn’t made any significant improvements under Roach.
*He still can’t fight on the inside.
*He still leaves his chin hanging out during an exchange.
*His survival instincts when hurt are still appalling.
*He still can’t follow instructions (Before the Garcia fight, his trainer Freddie Roach said. “2,3, maximum 4 punch combinations. Get in, get out, don’t engage.”)
The gym wars can’t be helping either. The Wild Card is famous for its no holds barred sparring, yet when footage aired on Sky Sports Ringside this week, alarms bells were ringing.
Albeit wearing 16oz gloves & a head guard, Khan was engaged in a full on slug fest. Shipping left hooks, right hands, uppercuts, he looked terrible, wide open to counters.
You can’t just walk forward with your chin in the air throwing 4 & 5 punch combinations
Although Freddie Roach wasn’t in attendance, his new strength & conditioning coach Ruben Tabares was telling him: “Don’t get involved in a war, box this guy” – What did Khan do next? Strait back out in the centre of the ring, BANG! He just doesn’t listen.
His all action style & desire to please the fans is commendable. But he’s putting his long term health on the line if he continues down the path he is headed.
His power is respectable but certainly not devastating at world-class level. The main weapon in his arsenal is speed. Yet he doesn’t utilise it correctly. You can’t just walk forward with your chin in the air throwing 4 & 5 punch combinations without any thought to what’s coming back at you.
Where does Khan go from here? Who knows?
His ego (& his team) is so rampant I doubt they’d be willing to accept undercard slots.
A move up to welterweight is inevitable, & although Khan has the frame to fight at 147. He will carry his technical & physical deficiencies up with him. Whilst he won’t burden his body as much making the weight, the punching power & nous of the top guys will be too much for Khan to handle.
He will never be Golden Boy’s cash cow, so they’ll continue to match him hard which is a worry for his health. (Say what you like about Frank Warren, he knows how & when to protect his clients.)
Khan has lost his last 2 fights, and during both build-ups he talked just as much about Floyd as he did his actual opponents
There’s fights out there, but not at the elite P4P level where Amir Khan believes he belongs. The much discussed Mayweather fight is firmly off the table now. Khan has lost his last 2 fights, and during both build-ups he talked just as much about Floyd as he did his actual opponents.
People are already talking about Victor Ortiz which bad news for Amir. A cracking fight for the fans yes, but big Vic is way to powerful & physically imposing for Amir Khan.
There are other options:
Recently crowned WBA champion Paulie Malignaggi (Who Khan beat in 2010) is viable. As is the exciting Robert Guerrero. There’s faded Mexican legend Erik Morales & potentially a rematch against Marcos Maidana.
Continuing with head trainer Freddie Roach (& the Manny Pacquiao circus) needs to be given serious consideration. A trainer with a safety comes first approach like Manny Steward might be a better fit.
The hangers on, back slappers & leaches need to be moved on. Which is pretty much his entire management team. And he might want to think about rehiring strength & conditioning coach Alex Ariza. Quite why team Khan fired, rehired & then fired him again is bizarre. His best work has always come with Ariza in his corner.
He can still have a good career, but he needs to make major changes before he gets seriously hurt. (And stop chasing that mythical P4P title that finished Ricky Hatton.) He’s made his millions, he’s a wealthy young man. Nassem Hamed retired at 27. It’s not unconceivable that Amir might do the same.
It’s a very long road back for Amir & it won’t be easy. His desire & commitment cannot be questioned, but the fighter he craves to be should be.
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