Who Is The Better Prospect - Chavez Jnr or Amir Khan?

chavez jr.(Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., on right, being punched by Carlos Molina) 04.04.07 - By James Slater: Though he has had over twice as many boxing fights as Amir Khan, the jury is still very much out as to whether or not the son of the great Julio Cesar Chavez is a better prospect than the twenty year old Olympic silver medallist. And despite the perceived advantage of having had more fights than Khan - at thirty wins and one draw to Amir's eleven wins - Julio has boxed more than his fair share of stiffs when having these fights. Amir boxed a guy with a winning record sooner than did Julio and, overall, his quality of opposition has been better.

Indeed, the Mexican icon's son appears to be going about his young career in a completely different fashion to the equally young Brit. In typical Mexican style, Julio seems to be having fights in quick succession, but against a lesser quality of foe. In short, the twenty-one year old is taking the quantity over quality route. But which fighter has the best chance at becoming a real force in his chosen weight class? Khan, boxing at both lightweight and light welterweight, does seem to have been steered away from big punchers so far. Consider, in two of his last four fights Khan boxed opponents who had NO knockouts on their records.

Not one. While in the other two contests the pair had only six between them. Add to this the fact that one of these guys, Rachid Drilzone of France, was actually credited with a count over Amir and it's possible some alarm bells could ring.

Is there a suspicion among the Khan camp that their man may be somewhat chinny? And while the grade of the opposition for Chavez Jnr was lower when he was at the point in his career that Khan is at now, he was certainly in with bigger punchers statistically. Opponent number eleven in the career of the young Chavez, Miguel Angel Galindo, had seven KO's from his thirteen wins. While Mike Walker, Julio's twelfth opponent, had Five KO's from his five victories. Again, both these boxing fighters may have been a long way behind the last two men to have shared a ring with Khan, in the class department anyway, but they could certainly bang a little.

Both Amir and Julio have made good progress so far in their careers. Turning pro less than four years ago and having over thirty fights since that time is not bad going for the Mexican. While eleven wins in under two years is also a good work rate for Khan. One thing we do know is how Chavez Jnr reacts when in a tough boxing fight. His draw with Carlos Molina, in December of 2005, a fight in which Julio was hit plenty and considered by some to have been fortunate not to have lost, was followed with an immediate return. The following February, Chavez Jnr prevailed with a decision victory. Heart, it seems, is not a shortcoming in the young Chavez' makeup. Khan, on the other hand, has yet to have what could be considered a tough fight. Of course, it could be argued that this is simply because Amir is so good. And should Chavez Jnr really have been so badly tested by Molina anyway?

In terms of style both men fight nothing alike. Chavez Jnr, though nowhere near as effective as his legendary father, goes to the body well and fights with a high guard - much like his fellow countrymen. While Khan holds his hands low, boxes while relying on super fast reflexes and tends to head hunt a touch. He too, though, can dig to the body well when he wants to. When it comes to who has the better jab, Khan gets the nod from me. And as for the other punches in the boxing arsenal and how they use them, it's pretty close. Both can hit hard, but while Julio seems to be strictly a frontrunner Khan can box effectively either going forward or retreating. As far as defence goes, both men are not too hard to hit. Don't forget, though he was not hurt Khan has tasted the canvas.

Really, the question of who is the better prospect of the two is quite a hard one. Both fighters are massively ambitious. Both men are always in tiptop shape. And both boxers are good crowd pleasers. Of course, the best way for us to find out who is the superior of the two would be for them to square off with one another. But such a fight, though massively attractive, seems unlikely. Julio is going up to light middleweight, while Amir has said recently that he feels he knows now he is no light welter and will fight at 135 for the time being. This is a pity, for otherwise I'm quite sure both men would wind up clashing, probably for a title, somewhere down the road. Who knows, this may still be the case - and a possible boxing classic in the making between a new generation of fighter will be witnessed.

For the moment, though, Chavez Jnr and Khan continue to learn their trade on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Who's method of mastering the noble art is the superior I leave up to fellow fight fans to decide. But with regards to who is the better boxing fighter at this stage, I'd have to go with the superbly skilled twenty year old.

Article posted on 04.04.2007

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