Here’s a story that might just make you think about the way fighters, even former bitter rivals, really do share a special bond and how they look out for each other. Over the years, we’ve read about how Floyd Mayweather has selflessly (and without looking for publicity) privately paid for the funeral of one or more of his former ring opponents. And now, former world champ and former Olympian Amir Khan has helped out his former two-time amateur rival, Mario Kindelan.
Kindelan, a Cuban legend, defeated a young Khan in the final of the 2004 Olympics, taking home the gold medal. Khan avenged the fight in a later amateur clash, before going on to win world titles at 140 pounds and picking up many £millions. Khan has spoken of the offer a cash-strapped Kindelan made recently, of selling Khan his gold medal for $5,000, which Kindelan needs to be able to buy his mother a house.
Khan refused the gold medal but gave his former rival the cash he needed. The two former fighters met up again after all these years, this in Bahrain earlier this week.
“I’ve just met Mario and got talking to him,” Khan said as reported by Mirror Fighting. “He told me a story; he wants to build a house in his country, Cuba, and wanted to sell me the gold medal, the one he beat me for. He said, ‘Amir, I’m going to give you the gold medal, just give me $5,000.’ I told him that gold medal belongs to him, he’s the champion, he beat me in the Olympic final. So I’m going to give him $5,000 to build his house; it’s no publicity stunt, it touched my heart. That’s how desperate he is, he wants to give away his gold medal. I told him,’I am going to give you the money for your mother’s home but you have to keep the gold medal.”
During his career, and perhaps even now, some fans never really took to Khan, some feeling he was arrogant or big-headed. But Khan, who only ever wanted to fight the best, has shown here his generous side. Khan IS a good guy, a pretty down to earth person when you spend time in his company, and he has shown here how he is willing to help a fellow former fighter in a time of need. Khan made a fortune in the ring, but he sure worked darn hard for it. To hand over the sum of $5,000 to a man who once defeated him, and to refuse the offer of his gold medal, shows class from Khan.
Let the medal stay where it belongs, and that’s in Mario Kindelan’s trophy cabinet. But let Kindelan get his mother that house she needs. Thanks to Amir Khan, both things will happen.
(According to the Mirror fighting article, Khan’s donation has been sent to Kindelan, and not only that, but a business partner of Khan’s has doubled the donation).