Amir Khan has officially announced his retirement. Just days after bitter rival Kell Brook announced his retirement, Khan has also done the smart thing.
“It’s time to hang up the gloves, Khan wrote on social media. “I feel blessed to have had a long career that lasted 27 years.”
So as is the case with Brook, we ask how Khan will be remembered?
Years from now, when he has been long since retired, will fans immediately think of the smashing win Brook scored over Khan when his name comes up? It’s easy to be cynical and suggest Khan will be remembered as a loser; a fighter who lost the big ones. And Khan’s losses were indeed heavy defeats; five of the six losses he suffered, anyway: Breidis Prescott, Danny Garcia, Canelo Alvarez, Terence Crawford (this the one time where Khan failed to give his all in a fight) and Brook.
But look at the big wins Khan scored – at amateur and pro level. A true wonder-kid in 2004 when he won an Olympic silver medal, Khan was set for stardom.
The stardom duly came, both at home and abroad, as did two world titles. Khan bounced back from the Prescott disaster to defeat the classy Andreas Kotelnik to become WBA super-lightweight champ, this in July of 2009. Khan then went on to defeat excellent fighters in Paulie Malignaggi, Marcos Maidana (this a win that could be looked at as Khan’s biggest ever ring victory), and Zab Judah (the KO win seeing Khan add the IBF 140 pound title to his WBA belt). Khan was then controversially beaten on points by Lamont Peterson, before he was then betrayed by his leaky defence/ suspect chin when he was stopped by Garcia.
Another comeback was launched, and yet another trainer was brought in, and Khan picked up good wins over Luis Collazo, Devon Alexander and Chris Algieri. Khan was then badly beaten by the far too big Canelo; this in a fight Khan never should have taken. Fighting only sporadically after that nasty KO, Khan blasted out Phil Lo Greco, struggled mightily with Samuel Vargas, “quit” against Crawford, and then beat up a tiny Billy Dib.
And then came Brook.
And a fifth KO/stoppage defeat.
34-6(21) overall (we assume), Khan always had his critics, or “haters,” yet he also had his supporters. How will YOU remember Amir Khan? I for one will remember him as an exceptionally brave fighter, who always – always – sought to fight the best (how long did Khan spend chasing all-time greats Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather?) Khan may have talked too much and rubbed plenty of people up the wrong way in doing so, yes, but Khan’s heart could never be questioned.
Khan deserves to be remembered as a gutsy, constantly exciting ring warrior whose real flaw was his willingness to always lay everything on the line. And that’s not a bad way to be defined and remembered.