Where Khan He Go From Here: The Next Chapter In The Amir Khan Story

Amir Khan10.03.09 - By Dean Parr - Amir Khan’s upcoming fight against modern day legend Marco Antonio Barrera is most definitely his toughest challenge yet, but one with equal amounts of rewards to risks. Sky Sports have labelled it his ‘coming of age’ and this undoubtedly is a make or break fight for the boy from Bolton.

First of all, lets take the worst case scenario. If Khan gets stopped early on, or Barrera rolls back the years and shuts out Khan on the scorecards, in my view, Khan has to take a few steps back and clean up on the domestic front. Here, there are three distinct possibilities. One is Jon Thaxton, the former European Champion who is coming off a points loss to tricky Frenchman Anthony Mezaache. He is the nearly man of British boxing, who has just missed out on getting to the top European/world class level several times. However, his record (34-9) belies the challenge he would be for Khan, and his power has been demonstrated in recent times with his first round knockdown of Mezaache and his devastating knockout of Juan Carlos Melero. Considering Khan’s chin has been doubted before, and the fact that for this fight to happen a deal would have to be struck between Frank Warren and Mick Hennessey, I can’t see this happening, as Thaxton would probably seen as a threat to derail Khan’s world title dreams for good..

Another man gunning for Khan is the no nonsense, undefeated Mancunian John Murray. The British Champion impressively stopped ‘the Aberdeen Assassin’ Lee McAllister in his last fight with a crunching left hook to the body, and also taking into account the fact he has a formidable chin and power in both hands, he will also probably be avoided, which is a shame, as this fight would be interesting to say the least, due to the contrast of styles and this would be a real test of what Khan is made of. However, again Warren and Hennessey would have to strike a deal and this makes this fight a near impossibility for now.

The one name that would remain in the frame is ‘Amazing’ Alex Arthur. It was rumoured earlier this year that Frank Warren had promised Arthur a fight with Khan in the summer, and this would be easy to set up as both are promotional stable mates. As a bounce back fight for Khan this could really work for him as I firmly believe that Khan is too crisp and strong for Arthur, and that Khan could bamboozle him with speed and combinations. Should Khan lose to Barrera, this could put him straight back into the world picture, which is why this would be a great fight for him in this circumstance. Out of the three so far, this is definitely the most likely.

If Khan beat Barrera via split decision or with a close unanimous decision, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Khan lined up against the current European Champion Anthony Mezaache. This would be an ideal chance for Khan to add a belt to his collection, as Mezaache is feather fisted at this level (with only three knockouts to his name) and was rocked badly in the first by Thaxton in their fight. However, Khan would have the lungs to launch a sustained assault on Mezaache and the matchmakers would be pretty sure that Khan would stop Mezaache early.

In the event that Khan dominates Marco Antonio (as I personally expect he will) and stops him in the middle/end of the fight, Khan has a huge number of doors opened to him, and Khan will most likely leapfrog the boxers previously mentioned. An offer that Khan would probably find hard to turn down would be a rematch with Colombian surprise package Breidis Prescott. Much in the same way Ricardo Torres exploded onto the scene, Prescott created a huge stir by stopping hot prospect Khan in 54 seconds, after throwing just 16 punches. However, after Prescott’s last performance against Humberto Toledo, Khan will be confident that if he sticks to a plan more focussed on circling Prescott and utilising his jab, he will be able to fend off the challenge of the Colombian. Also, from a promotional viewpoint, this would create a huge amount of interest, and therefore would make sense for everyone.

However, the lightweight division is loaded with high level talent at the minute. While the top tier of talent such as the evergreen Juan Manuel Marquez, ‘Baby Bull’ Juan Diaz and Joan Guzman is off limits at the minute, there is still a wide range of possibilities at a high level for the dazzling lightweight. Tough South African Ali Funeka is coming off a loss to Nate Campbell and he would be a huge step up for Khan, as well as Aussie Michael Katsidis who could also give Khan a real run for his money. In conclusion, the future for Amir Khan is extremely bright should he win against MAB, and even if he loses, it isn’t the end of the world for him. Look out 2010 - Amir Khan, should he stay on track, will be up there with the best in the lightweight division, and will probably stay there for years to come.

Article posted on 10.03.2009

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