Amir Khan – Back to the Drawing Board

By Neil Goodman - Well, were to start? It is often said that the loss of an unbeaten record is not the end of the world. Of course it is possible to rebuild, learn and most importantly comeback stronger; just ask Lennox Lewis. Sometimes a fighter is simply matched against someone who has his number; as was perhaps the case recently for Miguel Cotto..

This said, often the manner of the defeat raises more than a few question marks over the future prospects for the fighter who see his ‘0’ go! Last night not only did Amir Khan lose his unbeaten record, but at the time of writing there is an overwhelming feeling that perhaps the Silver Boy is not destined to achieve his world title ambitions.

Let us not forget that prior to his capitulation against Breidis Prescott, Khan had aimed at becoming Britain’s youngest world champion. Frank Warren sensibly put the breaks on this plan; but in recent weeks Amir had been talking up a potential clash against Ricky Hatton; after which he wanted to step and become a three weight world champion. I think it is fair to stay that the goals and aspirations will require some revaluation.

What makes last nights disaster and there is no getting away from the fact it was disaster, even more damaging is the fact that Khan was already in the process of rebuilding under the tutelage of Jorge Rubio. We were promised a stronger, yet more defensively aware fighter; having worked with Rubio for ten plus weeks in a state of art training camp. Unfortunately we did not get to see any evidence of the polish that Rubio has brought to party, because the fight was effectively over after 25 seconds.

There are perhaps only a few shreds of comfort to be garnered from last night fight. Firstly the slaughter was mercifully quick; Khan was only subjected to 6 or 7 heavy, yet conclusive blows. Secondly the ‘chin’ issue can perhaps be explained away by virtue of the fact Prescott was known as a banger. Reviewing the footage of the fight, the initial rock before the landslide was just a clip from fast left hook, not dissimilar to a punch Gomez landed on Khan in his previous outing.

Hindsight is of course an exact science, but there were so many other options open to Khan. There were any number of domestic opponents Khan could have chosen or perhaps there would have been some value in increasing his level of experience by targeting the European title. Sooner or later Khan was going to have to face a banger, but without even having 20 bouts under his belt Prescott was undoubtedly a risky assignment.

One the problems high profile fighters constantly face is the pressure to appear not just in fights; but they have to be huge events. This involves arranging a venue, organising TV coverage and the requisite build up which goes hand in hand with a big promotion. It is going to be very difficult now to sell Khan as a pay-per-view commodity; it is equally difficult seeing Amir headlining a small hall event and relearning his trade at say the York Hall.
So what now for the Khan camp? I am sure after a period of licking his wounds and reflection Amir can get himself back into the mix; but if you look at the talent within the lightweight division the road back is a long one. As Audley Harrison has found out, it only takes one punch and the all the plans of mice and men go swiftly out the window. Only the future can tell us what damage the hands of Prescott have inflicted on the prospects and aspirations of Amir Khan.

One thing is certain though, any comparisons with Prince Naseem Hamed can now be well and truly shelved.

Article posted on 08.09.2008

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