Amir Khan: From Hype to Confidence to Arrogance

Amir KhanBy Nicholas Dash: After Bredis Prescott emerged from the murky reaches of Colombia to carry out a hit on Amir Khan, before submerging in to the waste lands of the forgotten, Khan could have been forgiven for lying to himself about his own prowess in an attempt to find lost faith in himself. Perhaps nothing but a lie would suffice in the immediate aftermath of that loss, but any continued projection of potential greatness had to be based on facts.

After Khan's latest setback, on a road to redemption that many felt had skipped key destinations, Golden Boy Promotions are unlikely to convert the non-believers by granting Khan a safe passage to another title; there will not be another Malignaggi or Judah to reconstruct the story, as tired plots will no longer appeal. There will be no more belief in a character who avoids worthy former adversaries and certainly no more talk of crossing paths with Mayweather this May, or any month thereafter. Khan's fondness for machismo suggests his future points towards his reinvention as a Gladiator of sorts, albeit one that at times appears to be trying to escape the arena. This reinvention presents a framing of his identity that would actually allow for the suffering of defeats, baring the battle scars acquired in many wars.

Khan's conditioning is his saviour. He exemplifies power, defined as Speed x

Strength. However, his confidence in that power leads him to flurry excessively and sometimes wildly, as indicated by the Lamont Peterson check-hook on his way to the canvas in the first round, providing an ominous warning of what lay ahead. Khan’s excesses are a combination of confidence and a carryover from Khan's amateur days, it causes him to momentarily expend all energy, at which point a pressure fighter will expose his inability to fight effectively going backwards, and then expose him on the inside before Khan rallies.

Physically, Khan is built in the mould of a sprinter, he favors power endurance, executing high intensity work in repeated bursts of activity characterized by intervals. This is opposed to a lower intensity, yet consistent plateau of activity in a cardiovascular based strategy, employed by Peterson & Maidana, allowing them to catch out Khan as his output dips. Khan's desperation to prove the strength of his jaw is an obsession that further prevents him from escaping the pitfalls of his approach, Khan would benefit from observing that many fighters demonstrate higher punch resistance at weight classes that allow them to operate at their optimum level of physical performance. And, as Prince Naseem Hamed pointed out post-Maidana, it does not bode well for longevity.
Lamont Peterson may rematch Tim Bradley first, or choose to avoid the significant weight draining effort of making the 140 pound division (which resulted in a 15 pound weight gain after the weigh-in), and move up to the 147 pound division instead. At Welterweight, Khan's odds of victory over an Ortiz or Berto look unlikely, while clashes with Kell Brook and Bradley seem equally challenging. Khan remains exciting enough to please the masses, and this fight not being made a pay-per-view broadcast in his nation of birth may indeed bolster his following, but the notion of promoting him as a potential future great is a far-fetched thought.

Article posted on 11.12.2011

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