Is Amir Khan an elite fighter worthy of pound for pound status? Or is he a Golden Boy Promotion hype project with an excellent amateur pedigree? I think the answer lies somewhere in between and here is why…
Amir Khan is only 25 years old, but seems to of had a very long career already. Khan has held two alphabet titles at junior welterweight. No doubt about it, Amir Khan is a world class fighter. You have to respect the fact that Amir always seems willing to fight the best. He has attempted to unify the titles at junior welterweight. Most recently losing a split decision, but Khan will step back in the ring in an attempt to gain his titles back from Lamont Peterson. More importantly Khan needs the win to stay in the Mayweather sweepstakes and chance at elite status or pound for pound recognition.
Many people can get past the Breidis Prescott knockout loss. Any numbers of factors look like they have contributed to that. A weight drained body has a way to lower punch resistance. Since moving up in weight Khan looks to have a solid chin, even walking through hell against Maidana to prove it. It truly is time to dismiss the glass jaw theory when talking about Khan. Even after the loss Khan was able to pick up Freddie Roach as his trainer and Alex Ariza as his strength and conditioning coach. Both moves proved to be positive for his career. From there Khan really went on to prove his worth as a professional, reeling off 9 straight victories before agreeing to face Lamont Peterson in his hometown. You have to respect a champion willing to fight in his opponent’s hometown. It means they are confident. Unfortunately things didn’t going as expected for Khan. As mention Khan is only 25, with a rematch victory over Peterson and a planned move to welterweight, it should allow the opportunity for Khan to take his career to the next level. Whether he does it is on him, but in my opinion he is never going to be a top 5 pound for pound fighter. Here’s why…
1) Power - At this stage of Khan’s career and at this weight Khan doesn’t have the power that is needed for opponents to respect him. Some will say guys like Andre Ward, Floyd Mayweather, Timothy Bradley does not have it either. True, but as I will explain they are better than Khan in many other areas.
2) Stamina – I think Khan has good stamina. Not elite. The difference between some guys and others are the way they go about taking breaks. Every fighter needs to take time off during a fight; the difference between elite fighters and good fighters is that they don’t loose rounds over it. This may be a Freddie Roach thing or Khan copying Manny, but Khan tends to lie on the ropes with his hands in high guard. Manny will do this, but he does not do it for long periods of time and his opponents have more respect. They know going gun-ho, all out poses a risk because of Manny’s power. Khan lies on the ropes catching a breather while former opponents like Peterson and Maidana went after Khan’s body.
3) Style – I might be in the minority but watching Khan fight, I feel he is still trying to score points as if he was an amateur. He has awesome speed, but it’s like he is flicking his punches out there for visual effects instead of physical damage. He also has a very bad habit of throwing punches forward without moving his feet. He tends to look off balance and the threat of being timed and placed on your rear-end because of balance is out there. If Khan sat down on his punches a bit more, I think he would improve his balance and power.
4) Intangibles – These vary from trainer, manager, family. It seems like the family issues have toned down, but it was quite public when Amir’s father was involved in a dispute around strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza. Freddie Roach is an awesome trainer, but as long as Manny is still fighting, Amir becomes second in line. If Amir can stick it out, I have full faith that when Manny retires Amir becomes Freddie’s prized pupil. I do not have full faith in Golden Boy Promotions ability to match Amir with the proper opponent or situation to allow him to get to the pound for pound equation.
GBP will make Amir a lot of money, but will it be long lived to the point of recognizing Amir as truly a great fighter. Or will it be cashing him out against Mayweather when everyone knows he will never be on that level? Time will definitely tell. I wish Amir Khan the best as he always gives it his all and puts on some fantastic fights. As a fan that’s all I can ask for.
Follow me on Twitter @Toddyrock