Vivek Wallace Presents: 'Open Mic Fan Mail' - Khan, Pacquiao, Mayweather (Too Late or Too Soon?)
Every Wednesday ESB will feature a new published letter directly from hardcore fight fans just like you! Each letter will be published with a response from boxing scribe Vivek Wallace. Send all 'Open Mic Fan Mail' letters to firstname.lastname@example.org, and remember to keep content short and concise, and profanity free. Today's segment comes from Chris B. of Hallandale Beach, FL:
Article posted on 16.12.2010
Vivek, I listened to the media and fans around the sport the other night after Amir Khan defeated Marcos Maidana, and it was pretty odd to me how people are already ready to crown him the best of the best, getting so excited about a fight that he barely won (in my estimation). It was such a bizarre performance that you have people saying that was the best effort they've seen from a fighter this year, yet others say they couldn't bear to watch it, with his own trainer speaking of how he "considered stopping it"..
I don't know that Khan won't be as good as we think he will, but when I hear the comparisons to Pacquiao and Mayweather, and I hear people seriously consider him getting in the ring with one of those guys, to me it just makes me wonder, is the sport really this weak, where a guy can get KO'd in one round by a nobody, beat a few "C" level fighters, then get in his first true war and be considered cream of the crop because he overcame? Has the sport really sank to that level?
Yes, he as a helluva set of skills offensively, but when you look at his resume, I'm just really taken back at how people truly do believe he's good enough to stage a mega-fight with true pound for pound fighters, and some actually give him a shot to win. Timothy Bradley has done far more, yet doesn't quite meet that expectation in the mind of the average fight fan. So honestly, what valid reason can anyone give Amir Khan for being even close to the level of the Mayweather's and Pacquiao's of the world? What's your take?
(RESPONSE TO OPEN LETTER BELOW)
Like always in life, I think you have to find a way to compartmentalize certain things and give them their true perspective. We tend to generalize when it comes to emotions, and the fight game is no different. Quickly, people see something momentous and say, "yep, that's the one". "Yep, that's the next best"! It's so easy to say that, but God knows it's a pain in the ass to deliver on such a statement. In my mailbag this past Monday, I touched on the fact that this victory was bitter-sweet, in the sense that it was valiant to see Khan do something none of us felt he could, but it was also misleading in the sense that he nearly got slaughtered doing it!
Everyone went into this fight asking themselves "can he really take the punch"? So, when he was able to take a bunch of them, they failed to realize that this effort was only piece to the puzzle. It was only part of the "big picture". Yes, he took the punch, quite a few actually, but how were the other aspects of his performance? As it stands, he's very good. The men people are trying to compare him to are great! And he knows that, which is why he said he'd like a few more fights before he faces them. When you look at Manny Pacquiao, there are very few 'slip-ups'. The product that we've seen from him has been very stable for quite some time.
When you look at Mayweather, many withhold due credit, but the reality is that the guy has been consistent from day one in his career. Athletes in general go through quite a few things in life, and definitely in training. You would think he'll have a bad day at the office one night, but to go as long as he has and find a way to get the job done more than 40x.....that's nothin' short of spectacular. The thing to build on for Khan is that his stablemate, Manny Pacquiao, suffered multiple losses early, yet has become the stud he is today. So, not everyone has to start with perfection the way Mayweather and others have. For some fighters it takes a painful defeat to establish hunger. Some are simply born with it.
But to answer your question, no, I don't think that the state of the sport has reached such a depth where a man can win one war and be placed on the elite level. I think that has more to do with that particular man circulating the thought to create a buzz that may one day grow from a chant to a deafening roar! Khan knows that Pacquiao wouldn't be the opponent he lands between the two, based on the Freddie Roach factor (training both men).
Khan also knows that he has the same promoter as Mayweather, as well as the fact that he has a nation of support at his back. This fight may not be at the top of anyones list yet, but the more we hear about it, the more we warm up to it, and to be quite frank, I did find it rather intriguing that Leonard Ellerbe happened to make a cameo, only a few seats down from Oscar the other night. So, who knows what the future may hold? Only thing I'm curious about is what does Khan do when it's time to take a drug test? Considering that Roach was OK with Pacquiao saying no! Regarding the topic as a whole, bottomline, it's too soon to ordain Khan the "king", but I'm afraid it's also too late, due to the fact that this era of the sport is geared around promotional hype and marketing. Sad but true!
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