In the aftermath of his devastating fourth round knock-out to Danny Garcia in Las Vegas in the early hours of Sunday morning, Amir Khan has some deciding to do.
As we’ve seen in this fight and in his 2008 knock-out loss to Breidis Prescott the Bolton fighter clearly has issues with his punch resistance and yet continually gets himself involved in close-quarter brawls. Khan has the speed and skill to keep a hard-hitting but limited opponent like Garcia at bay. Instead he tries to put away world champions in the same reckless manner he could put away the journeyman he faced earlier in his career.
I’ve always wanted to please the fans and be involved in exciting fights because many pay good money to come and watch me. It’s only right you get to see the best fighting the best, especially in an age when so many top fighters hand-pick opponents. Garcia caught me with a good shot in the third round that I couldn’t recover from. That’s boxing, where one punch can change everything. Many fighters have bounced back to prove their greatness. That’s what I intend to do.
A noble sentiment but when a fighter has such a glaring weak spot it’s not a very clever one. Khan doesn’t appear to possess the ability to recover from a knock-down. His heart is willing but his legs betray him. At the top level of boxing, if you can’t take a heavy punch you’d better learn how to avoid it.
Rather than his stable-mate Manny Pacquiao, Khan should look more to the style of Floyd Mayweather Jr to emulate. Whether it’s Khan’s misguided self-belief or trainer Freddie Roach’s gameplan which is to blame is uncertain but the now two-time deposed WBA champion feels changes are needed.
The time has come for me to be No 1 in my training camp. I’ve got to start putting myself first and stop worrying about other people.
Khan has been playing second fiddle to Manny Pacquiao in Roach’s training camp but this is a position the Filipino fighter has earned. Despite his recent controversial loss to Timothy Bradley.
Khan may believe he is on the same level as Pacquiao and Mayweather but he’s not. He certainly has the necessary skill set but when your Achilles heel is being punched in the head, you’re going to struggle to get to the very top of sport which largely involves being hit in the head.
Leaving Roach may not be a bad idea. A new philosophy and a new trainer could help. Abandoning dreams of being an exciting brawler and looking to the evasive styles of Bernard Hopkins and Floyd Mayweather Jr could help even more.
Many fighters have bounced back to prove their greatness. That’s what I intend to do.
Amir Khan can be expected to bounce back but with such a glaring weakness only a complete change of style will give him hope against the top level fighters. He’s certain to win some version of a world title but the likes of Saul Alvarez, Mayweather, Pacquiao and Miguel Angel Cotto appear to be steps too far a boxer with a suspect chin. It’s becoming increasingly unlikely that the Olympic silver medallist will ever be the golden boy of professional boxing he believes himself to be.