How would Amir Khan fare against the top 140 lb boxers in the world?
The junior welterweight division has evolved in the past year from a division of young pretenders, into one of the most competitive divisions in the sport. Older belt holders like Ricky Hatton, Junior Witter and Andriy Kotelnik have been replaced with much younger champions Timothy Bradley, Devon Alexander, Juan Urango and Amir Khan. If fights can be made between the cream of the division, then 2010 could be an explosive year for the junior-welters.
So what of the division’s newest belt holder Amir Khan 22-1 (16)? Opinion is divided as to whether or not he is the genuine article or just another over protected, hyped up pretender. Here we will try and address the issue if Khan were to compete with the best the division has to offer (it is worth noting that Manny Pacquaio and Juan M Marquez are not listed as both will probably not be fighting at the light-welter limit any time soon. Fighters listed here are those that call 140lbs their home, as per the ProBoxing-Fans.com junior welterweight rankings).
Khan vs. Timothy Bradley 25-0 (11)
British newspapers have been reporting recently that talks are already underway between promoters Gary Shaw and Frank Warren for the unification bout to take place in early 2010. This I believe is the hardest bout to pick a winner. Both do the fundamentals well and have great technical ability. Although Khan has the slight advantage in speed and punch power, it is fair to say that Bradley gets the nod on punch resistance and quality of opposition (remember Bradley beat Britain’s WBC champ Junior Witter back in May ’08, the same time Khan was fighting domestic rival Michael Gomez).
Even though Khan has tasted defeat, both fighters are young and believe themselves to be invincible. Khan’s speed of foot, coupled with Bradley’s ring savvy, should produce a clash of styles that fans of the finer points of the sweet science would appreciate.
Verdict- Khan W12. Why? Blind patriotism.
Khan vs. Kendall Holt 25-3 (13)
Kendall Holt hits much harder than his 13 knockouts suggest. Just like Bradley, he does the fundamentals well and possesses good ring smarts, but would this be enough to hold Khan at bay for 12 rounds? I think not. Even though Holt holds wins over David Diaz, Demetrius Hopkins and Ricardo Torres, Khan is a different animal altogether. His knack for getting into range and delivering precise combinations would be too much for Holt to handle. Of course with Khan’s suspect chin and Holt’s punch power, anything could happen, particularly early on. However, I see the bout lasting the scheduled 12 and once again Holt coming up a little short against genuine world class opposition, the way he did against Timothy Bradley.
Verdict- Khan W12
Khan vs. Ricky Hatton 45-2 (32)
Just the thought of Hatton-Khan in early 2010 is enough to get the palms of the hands to sweat. For British fans it would be the biggest fight of a generation. Hatton, the most popular Brit of all time against the young pretender to his throne. A year ago the fight would have been laughed at. Now though both fighters are at different points in their careers and it seems to make more sense than any other fight out there.
The outcome would all depend on which Hatton turns up. Hatton is a different fighter than the one that made the great Kostya Tszyu quit on his stool back in June ’05. Today Khan would be too quick and strong for a weight drained Hatton and although I am a huge admirer of Hatton, I believe he’d be making a huge mistake in picking Khan for his goodbye bout.
Verdict- Khan TKO8
Khan vs. Juan Urango 22-2 (17)
Juan Urango is a freak of nature, the neck of a Canadian redwood, Khan would hit him with everything he’s got for the full 12 rounds and Urango wouldn’t even flinch. Never mind a chin made of granite, more like reinforced steel. He went 11 rounds against pound for pound maybe the hardest single puncher in boxing in Randall Bailey and came out on tops, in what was probably his best win to date. Khan is no Randall Bailey however and would stick and move for the whole 12 rounds to win a unanimous decision, in what would have to be an extremely disciplined performance from the young champion.
Verdict Khan W12
Khan vs. Marcos Maidana 27-1(26)
The last time Khan got inside the ring with a South American puncher he lasted all of 54 seconds. Maidana is the WBA interim champ and number1 contender to Khan’s trinket, so he should be the obvious choice for a next defense. Although don’t be too surprised if team Khan stays well away.
This would become a nightmare defense for Khan. Maidana hits like a mule and Khan’s punch resistance is questionable, put this together and you get the Englishman laying flat on his back getting counted out for the 2nd time in his short career. Khan is a better boxer than Maidana and could use his superior skills to outbox the young Argentinian over 12, although 36 minutes is a long time for Khan to refrain himself from fighting toe to toe with Maidana. This would be his downfall.
Verdict- Maidana KO8