Amir Khan has been the subject of a tirade of criticism in recent months, particularly surrounding the supposed ‘dodging’ of compatriot Kell Brook.
— BoxingScene.com (@boxingscene) January 4, 2019
Whilst I’m as gutted as any other British boxing fan that the Khan/Brook fight can’t is made at this time, it’s still exciting times with the British legend set to face three-weight world champion – and undisputed Super Lightweight king – the American Terrance Crawford.
The criticism of Khan is, I feel, highly misplaced. For the purpose of this piece, I will go through the common misconceptions about Amir Khan, and why they’re so badly flawed.
The critiques of Khan
“He’s ducking Kell Brook”
Whilst there’s is a degree of truth that, the reason Khan is not set to fight Brook next is more than skin deep. He has made it clear, ever since he came out if the jungle, that he wants to be a world champion again.
Brook, on the other hand, holds no world titles. Fighting Brook at 147, which is Khan’s best weight, and winning, would do not a lot for his ranking. He has his crosshairs on by far the best Welterweight in the world and top-3 pound for pound fighter in Terrance Crawford. Taking the fight deserves nothing but respect as he is more dangerous than Brook, and the fight is probably for a lot less money.
Sky Sports pundit Spencer Fearon stated on a recent episode of Toe 2 Toe that whilst he may lose some respect from the British public for not fighting Brook, the world public will not. Quite the opposite.
Losing to Crawford isn’t the end for Khan. Losing to one of the best in the world does not mean the Brook fight suddenly disappears. The Crawford fight will not be around in 12 months time – Brook, more than likely, will be.
? The Khan/Brook/Crawford situation is an odd one, but you can't "duck" Kell Brook to fight Terence Crawford, that's just not how ducking works.
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) January 4, 2019
As Michael Benson states above – you can’t duck Kell Brook and fight Terrance Crawford.
“He’s scared of losing to Kell Brook”
Again, probably true. But that is why fighting Crawford now makes the most sense.
Should Khan fight Brook now and lose – which the bookies seem to believe will be the case – it could take years for Khan to get into world title contention and the Crawford fight would never happen. At 32, time is creeping up on him. He’s been involved in some brutal fights and taken some brutal knockouts. Time, unfortunately, is not on his side.
Fight Crawford and lose, Brook is still there, and people will still watch – I don’t buy that one more loss and Khan is done. That is not the case. The fight won’t be as big as it would be now naturally, as the hype is real. Amir has proved he’s still a draw even after the brutal KO to Canelo in 2016.
“Khan has only fought fighters past their prime”
In a word – false.
Amir Khan has fought …
Canelo, Judah, Malignaggi, Barrera, Kotelnik, Maidana, Alexander, Collazo, Garcia, Peterson AND NOW Crawford!
And He’s WON 7 of those fights!
But he’s a s***house because he hasn’t fought Kell Brook yet?
Do me a favour
— Adam Catterall (@AdamCatterall) January 5, 2019
Let’s break down exactly who Khan has fought throughout this career:
Andriy Kotelnik: 31-2-1 at the time, and coming off a victory against an undefeated Marcos Maidana. Khan, only two fights removed from brutal loss KO against Breidis Prescott – Khan won pretty much every round. Claimed a world title.
Paulie Malignaggi: 27-3 at the time. A Golden Gloves winner as an amateur. Khan again won every round and this time stopped Malignaggi. Paulie then went on to give Vyacheslav Senchenko a lesson in the art of the jab and stopped the Ukrainian – In Donetsk – two years after Khan soundly beat him.
Marcos Maidana: 29-1 at the time, only loss to Kotelnik. Fight of the year. Oscar De La Hoya called it to fight of the century. Round 10 is my favorite round in boxing history (Please if you haven’t watched it, do – you will not regret it). Khan was punished at points, but stood his ground and got the win.
Lamont Peterson: 29-1-1, horrible robbery. Two deducted points, which if they were deducted he would have won the fight. Peterson went on to win a world title at Welterweight after the fight.
Devon Alexander: 26-2. A unified Super Lightweight world champion, Khan won every round.
Saul Alvarez: 46-1-1 at MIDDLEWEIGHT. 13lbs above his peak fighting weight. Khan was winning the fight, in my opinion, until ‘that’ punch.
What are the likely outcomes for Khan?
Khan’s constant desire to fight the best is undeniably admirable, and the fact he’s taking the Crawford fight is therefore a testament to that.
Do I think he will win that fight? Probably not. But his speed is still obscene, and if he comes in with a flash knockdown in the early rounds? Who knows? It’s Amir Khan, that’s what makes him exciting.
Do I think he beats Kell Brook? If I had to put money on it, again, no. I think Kell is too big of a puncher and should his eye sockets hold up, he should get the stoppage. That takes nothing away from the British fighter’s career, or his decision to fight Terrance Crawford.
The tiraid of abuse against Amir Khan is incredibly misplaced and doesn’t reflect what the man has done inside the squared circle. He will go down as an all-time British great and deservedly so. Fighting the best. Whatever the weight class.
He has been sparked out in the past, as he did against Prescott, Garcia, and Canelo. However, he always keeps coming back – now, he wants to fight Crawford, probably in the US? But you have no respect for him because he’s not fighting Kell Brook? To quote Eddie Hearn – you’re having a giraffe.
Taking less money to fight a far more dangerous fighter because it means fighting for a world title belt – credit to you, Amir Khan.