Amir Khan: A Sense of Perspective

Amir Khan10.09.08 - By Michael Klimes: There appears to be a considerable amount of doom and gloom among British fight fans and the press that Amir Khan was knocked out so brutally by Breidis Prescott. Promoter Frank Warren was feeling unwell during the post-fight interview as he lost the aura of what was arguably the most important name in his stable.

Recently, Warren’s roster of big names has been diluted as Enzo Maccarinelli, Joe Calzaghe and now Khan have either divorced him or been savagely stopped. Some fans will see this as poetic justice as they cannot understand why Warren has shifted his allegiance from ITV to Sky after he has done well over the past few years to give British boxing fans good cards to watch without paying exorbitant fees.

I have to admit that I was a little irritated that Warren was charging money for bouts that did not seem to be worth the price. But then again, promoters are at the very least politicians and a lot of the time a promoter’s interest is self-interest. There is not much idealism running through them; if there was though, they might not survive the unsympathetic competition.

It is strange that so many have been ruminating on Khan’s loss as if their day, which had been illuminated by a piercing ray of sunshine had suddenly been replaced by a jolting thunder bolt. The shock has warped people’s sense of history. There were many great fighters before Khan who lost before they ever got near their world titles and established immortal reputations. The list is almost infinite: Alexis Argüello, Carlos Monzon, Joe Louis, Nigel Benn, Bernard Hopkins and Marvin Hagler are few of those legends. There are exceptions to any rule and the boxers who immediately come to mind were mostly heavyweights including Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Rocky Marciano, Riddick Bowe and Mike Tyson.

However, if we take the name at the end of the list we can notice that by the age of twenty-five Tyson’s prime years were finished. Of course, this is a statement made with the benefit of hindsight but notice two other fighters who won world titles when they were very young, Wilfredo Benitez holds the record for being the youngest champion ever at seventeen years of age and Naseem Hamed maintains the British record which is twenty one years of age. Both ended their careers prematurely. Benitez went into melt down in the mid-1980s and Hamed was humiliated by Barrera.

Perhaps it is a blessing that Khan’s youthful zeal to beat Hamed’s record has been thwarted with a bad loss. I would much rather Khan learned from his mistakes than become a repeat of Jeff Lacy. The fundamental problem of his chin will remain: He does not take a punch well. Maybe a source of inspiration could be David Haye who always finds a way to redeem himself after a nasty knockdown and had to rebuild himself after a run in with Carl Thompson. Unfortunately, Haye’s power is on a different scale to Khan’s and that is his main equaliser in adversity but is it the only factor that puts Haye back into contention? I’m not sure.

Hopefully, Khan can regain the proper direction. He will be twenty two in December and there is still time for him to progress. Manny Pacquiao only blossomed into the complete fighter against David Diaz and most of his time as fighter has been used up.
It is important for those who want Khan to do well give him encouragement and support. He does not need frivolous glory supporters. At the end of Jeff Lacy’s campaign against Calzaghe a fan shouted in front of me, “You’re finished Lacy! You’re finished!” Those were prophetic words and may they not bear any weight of truth for Khan. He still has my vote and so for those who support him I say, “Rock On.”

Article posted on 11.09.2008

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