Could Amir Khan End Up Like Audley Harrison?

By James Slater - A number of people were surprised when Amir Khan's “comeback” opponent for December 6th was announced. Instead of taking on the widely predicted patsy, the 22-year-old who was shocked by Breidis Prescott in his sole pro defeat back in September, chose to tackle tough and durable Irishman Oisin Fagan. No doubt, Khan deserves to be applauded for proving he means business by taking on such a good calibre foe – but has he taken on the wrong man against whom to begin his rehabilitation?

What if Fagan - a guy who has been in with and pushed to the limit former world lightweight champion and undefeated fighter Paul Spadafora - were to beat Khan in December? Such a turn of events cannot be written off. Fagan, though he may be age 34, is not an ideal man for any fighter in need of a confidence boost to return against. Also, the average, casual fight fan may not even have heard of Fagan. Therefore, even if Khan were to get past Fagan and beat him in a hard affair, would he get any plaudits from the majority of the watching audience?

Most casual fans will likely be unhappy with anything other than a quick, return to form KO victory from Khan. If the former Olympic silver medallist can manage only a close points victory (this writer's prediction, for what it's worth), will he be unfairly criticised? And what will these same fans think if Khan loses? Make no mistake, Amir faces his most important bout the first week in the final month of 2008.

No, Fagan isn't a huge puncher. Nor is he a master boxer. What he is, however, is a rugged, give-his-all warrior who will be coming to win, caring nothing either for Khan's reputation or his status as the betting favourite as he does so. As a result, it's easy to see the Irishman having his moments in the fight, pushing Khan at times and even making the former “sure shot future world champion” look ordinary. And, as I've said, Fagan actually winning, though an undoubted upset, is certainly possible. The question is, will Khan's career, at anything approaching top level, survive should he lose back-to-back?

Remember what happened to that other “definite future champ” Olympic medallist, Audley Harrison, after he lost two fights on the bounce? “A-Force” was, for a short period of time, a very popular fighter in the UK, only to become a jeered and even ridiculed figure after losing to Danny Williams and then to Dominick Guinn. It would be a sad turn of events if another one-time hero of British boxing were to suffer the same fate.

Again, Khan deserves credit for taking on a live opponent in his first ever fight after a loss, but has he made a mistake in selecting Oisin Fagan?

Article posted on 15.11.2008

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