I have been asked a few times for my personal opinion on the former WBA and IBF light welter weight champion, is he good enough?, is he over hyped?, is he a worthy champion? To put it simply yes he has proved he can be good enough and yes it was proved he was over hyped. The question I’m interested to find an answer to is, is Amir Khan a worthy champion?.
By the end of this post I hope to find the answer to that question but for now I want to put forward my reasons for what I have stated so far.
I think it has been unfortunate for Khan that he was so successful at the 2004 Olympics and was picked up and promoted by Frank Warren from day 1. His face was all over British television because of what he had achieved as an amateur and when he announced he would be turning professional everyone wanted to watch what this young and upcoming star was about. What’s more a lot of his early fights were broadcast across terrestrial TV channels which lead to many viewers that wouldn’t normally watch the sport, finally show some interest.
From his first professional bout against David Bailey right the way through to his 18th fight against Michael Gomez in 2008 Amir seemed to be getting better and better with every fight he was in. There was no denying that he was learning new skills and techniques being in the ring with an array of fighters but his next opponent was another story. Jorge Rubio who was Khans trainer at the time thought Khan was ready to step up and fight the bigger and stronger Breidis Prescott, and to be honest I think we all thought he was ready but unfortunately Prescott had other ideas and went at Amir like a steam train and after only 54 seconds the fight was over and Prescott had claimed another victim to his Knockout power which took him to 18 KO’s in 20 fights. I don’t think anyone saw that coming not even Khan himself but in my opinion I think we were all a little caught up in the hype of a fighter who hadn’t really had a challenge. Frank warren and the Khan camp then sacked Jorge Rubio and it was announced that he would train under Freddie Roach who currently trains one of the finest boxers around, and Khans new sparring partner Manny Pacquiao.
The change seemed to do Khan the world of good and he proved that when he beat the 7 time 3 weight champion Marco Antonio Barrera. It was Barrera’s 72nd fight and he was a little past his best to say the least but still offered a tough test to Khan. Unfortunately the fight was cut short at the end of the 5th round by TKO, Barrera had suffered a cut due to a clash of heads but this is exactly the motivation khan needed to move forward. It was this win that gave him a shot at Andreas Kotelnik for the WBA light welterweight championship. Khan boxed a great fight and at the age of 22 became the WBA Champion, many thought that it was manufactured perfectly for him but Khan still had to win and that he did. Khan then proved his ability against Dimitry Salita and Paulie Maliganaggi scoring TKO’s in both encounters.
His next fight seemed to shape and define Khans carrer right up to the present day and for me, this was the fight that changed Khan from a Hopeful and contender, into a World Champion. Going toe to toe and trading some of the hardest punches Khan had ever felt probably wasn’t what he was expecting going into the fight but Marcos Maidana took Amir Khan to another level and between then produced a fight of the year contender. If there was ever any doubt that Khan couldn’t take a punch and had a glass chin that was wiped away within a few rounds as Maidana had khan on the ropes a few times and Khan wouldn’t go down. He gave as good as he got and caught Maidana with some terrific counter punches and did manage to put him on the canvas and ultimately won him the fight. Was Khan now an over hyped boxing star, not at all and he deserved his status as one of the best light welter weights around, wins against Mccloskey and Judah took him into a match with Washington based Lamont Peterson. Like many people I had heard very little of Peterson who himself was trying to get some credibility, a rags to riches fighter who had fought his way into a shot at Khans WBA and IBF Championships. In what proved to be another fight of the year contender the two boxers traded punches and went to the trenches with each other, Khan having knocked down Peterson early on looked to be heading in the right direction but the whole outlook changed when Khan was continuously warned for pushing down on the back of Peterson. Eventually he was punished and ultimately it looked to have cost him the fight. Two judges had the fight 113-112 to Peterson and one had it 115-110 Khan, causing all kinds of outrage amongst the British public even more so when it was proved that the score card had been tampered with.
I wont be going any further with what happened that night, as we are all aware that Khan now has his chance to redeem himself against Peterson as ordered by the WBA.. In my opinion Peterson fought a great fight but didn’t win, for me Khan lost but either way, I believe we are in for a great rematch in May.
Is Khan the boxer that he has been hyped up to be? Yes, on 1 occasion against Maidana, the following chance he had at proving his critics wrong against Peterson he failed. Does this make him a Worthy Champion? It did, but he has a long way to go before I can firmly believe he stands a chance with the best in the world.