by Vivek Wallace – In a little over a week, the world of boxing will watch intensely as one of the most intriguing prospects in the sport takes center stage. The United Kingdom has produced some incredibly remarkable talent over the years, but few with this type of upside, as it relates to natural talent. Speed, length, agility, and all other pertinent trimmings seem to come in great abundance when breaking down the natural ability of Khan. But, as the old adage tells us, “nothing in life is perfect”, and a deeper analysis proves this theory proper, as the upside of Khan remains covered in the thick shadow of a potential downside which most continue to openly question..
In an era of the sport where promoters and matchmaker’s freely exercise their right to be selective when attempting to mold a fighters legacy, it’s quite refreshing to see a young and upcoming fighter with a vested interest in facing the best of his class so early. So often in the past we’ve seen new talents permanently derailed at the hands of both journeymen as well as the elite, yet the very heart which most critics questioned within Khan was proven more than durable as he immediately returned in an effort to remove all doubt. Despite the quick and rather stunning KO loss to Bredis Presscott, the mission for Khan was defined from early on and to date, the script has been carefully followed. The setback was temporary, and pride gained from moving beyond this painful moment has seemed to last forever.
Many across the pond have marveled the talent of Khan for the longest, openly stating that he would one day evolve to a global talent of epic proportions. It would appear that the aforementioned evolution has arrived, but timing isn’t everything, it’s the only thing, and the man who will stand across from Khan next weekend could be all wrong for a man who suddenly seems all right!
When you look at the jr. welterweight division, the level of talent disbursed is frightening, and what’s even more intriguing is that it seems to evenly graduate in leveled stages. Alexander (finesse with skill), Bradley (heart and will), Ortiz (fast with pop), and Kotelnik (seasoned with skill) each bring a different set of attributes to the stage. As dangerous as they are, not one has truly demonstrated the qualities of Argentinean Marcos Maidana, and that list includes Kotelnik, who is the only fighter with a victory over him to date.
In Maidana, you have arguably the most durable and power fighter in the division. Great punching power, with a strong chin to match! The plan according to trainer Freddie Roach is to “break him (Maidana) down and stop him late”. The end all be all will come down to whether or not Khan will be broken first. The footwork, speed, and maneuverability of Khan will be of upper-most importance, but as we know in the hurt game, one flush shot could stop the clock!
Last week we saw the typical result of skill versus power in a showdown which included another stud from the U.K. In that showdown, slickster Carl Froch was simply to fluid for a molasses-slow, and mechanically inept fighter like Arthur Abraham. Such won’t be the case for Khan, as despite his new-found ability to stick and move, for once, he’ll be in against a man more than willing to eat his lightning, eager for a chance to land his thunder!
Right now it’s the quiet before the storm, but history tells us that in this sport, clear skies can quickly fade with new proverbial “cloudy questions”. In fitting fashion, I turn this effort over to soul singers Frankie Beverly featuring Maze……as we’ve seen Khan’s “JOY” once turned to “PAIN”……now we’ll have to see if his recent “SUNSHINE” will again turn to “RAIN”!
There lies the ever-so-operative question for the quickly rising Amir Khan: “Can……He…..Stand…..The Rain”?
Tune in next Saturday, December 11th, on HBO, live from Las Vegas, as Amir Khan (23-1, 17KO’s) takes on Marcos Maidana (29-1, 27KO’s).
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, 954*292*7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEKWALLACE747), Skype (VITO-BOXING), Facebook and Myspace).