What to make of the welterweight clash that will take place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia this Friday night between Amir Khan and Billy Dib? The scheduled ten-fight card that is topped by the clash for the vacant WBC international belt at 147 will play out inside the King Abdullah Sports City and the whole event is a big deal in that part of the world.
But what will happen when Khan, a former world champ at 140 pounds who has had over half a dozen fights at 147, gets in the ring with Dib, a former featherweight champ who has had just one fight above 130 pounds? A good many fans and pundits are predicting an easy win for 32 year old Khan, a veritable slaughter even. Dib is of course a late replacement for Khan’s original foe, Neeraj Goyat, but does the 33 year old Australian have any real shot against the bigger, stronger man?
Dib was once looked at as a future star. With his flashy, Naseem Hamed-influenced style, “The Kid” got noticed. Unbeaten and highly ranked by 2008, Dib faced Steve Luevano for the WBO featherweight belt. Luevano knew too much for him, scoring a unanimous decision victory in Atlantic City. Dib came again and won the IBF title in 2011 with a KO of Jorge Lacierva. Two retentions followed, before Dib lost his title to Evgeny Gradovich, who took a split decision in 2013.
Since then, Dib has gone 9-2, losing in two attempts at winning a world title up at 130 – being stopped by Takashi Miura in 2015 and losing a wide decision to Tevin Farmer in August of last year. Since then, Dib has picked up a KO win over a 7-11 Surachet Tongmala. So how much has Dib got left and can he possibly be effective up at welterweight, even against a Khan who is nearing the end of his own career?
Khan took plenty of flak for the loss he suffered last time out, to Terence Crawford, at least he took plenty of flak for “quitting” the way he did after taking a low blow. This is one of the reasons, Khan says, he is back fighting again so soon, so as to try and make fans forget about that bad night in April.
Khan, 33-5(20) is a massive favourite to win on Friday (the fight going out live on terrestrial Channel 5 in the UK) and in all likelihood he will score a crushing KO. Unless Khan is far more faded than we believe, and unless his notoriously shaky chin does him a major disservice, Dib, 45-5(26) will be taken out in style somewhere around the halfway point. Where Khan will go from there is anyone’s guess.
There is also heavyweight action scheduled, as Hughie Fury will face ancient former WBC champ Sam Peter. 24 year old Fury was just six years old when Peter made his pro debut. That is perhaps one way to put this fight into perspective.