In yet another cash for bizarre fight arrangement, Amir Khan (33-5, KO20) has his 39th professional contest this Friday night, in the King Abdullah Sports City, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Channel 5 televised live in the UK.
Khan is to be paid handsomely (reportedly £7 million) for a twelve round fight that was originally scheduled to be against the unknown 11-3-2 Indian, Neeraj Goyat, but “The Gangster” was forced to withdraw due to injuries sustained in a recent car crash.
In Steps Billy Dib (45-5, KO26), the Australian who is a long time campaigner at Super Featherweight, but will meet Khan staggeringly four divisions north of this weight class.
The ridiculous WBC “Pearl” Title was to be the prize for the victor, but this has now been withdrawn, and been replaced with the spurious WBC International strap instead.
Dib is a former IBF World Champion at Featherweight, having defeated Jorge Lacierva for the vacant belt in July 2011.
He made two successful defences of the Title, before Evgeny Gradovich relieved him of his crown in a March 2013 slit decision win. Dib would rematch Gradovich eight months later, but suffered a sixth round knockdown before being stopped in nine.
Dib moved up to Super Featherweight, but was stopped in three rounds in a challenge for Takashi Miura’s WBC Title in June 2015.
“The Kid” rebuilt with five low key wins, which set up a shot at the vacant IBF Title last August against Tevin Farmer in his native Australia. With home advantage secured, Dib was powerless to stop a Farmer masterclass, with the Philadelphian winning nearly every round to take the belt.
Dib’s last bout was a one round blowout of the journeyman, Surachet Tongmala in April.
Amir Khan A 2004 Olympic Silver Medallist, has also been a World Champion at Super Lightweight and Welterweight. Unheralded Breidis Prescott sledgehammered Khan to defeat in a round in 2008, and he has also been pounded to highlight reel KO defeats by Danny Garcia and Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
He was controversially outpointed by Lamont Peterson in 2011, and in his last outing, he was stopped in six rounds by the superb Terence Crawford in an April challenge for the WBO Welterweight Title. Khan was down in the opener against the Nebraska man, before being unwilling to continue after a shot strayed low.
Quite what his motivation is at the tail end of his career is unclear. This fight only points to financial gains, and Khan is certainly not the force he once was. A grudge domestic clash with Kell Brook has long been mooted, but time is fast running out, with both seemingly on the decline.
Prediction: Even at this stage of his career, Khan should be too big and strong for Dib, who will most probably be thankful for a late notice payday. I see Khan starting off with his customary fast hands and footwork, and may even score an early knockdown. He should be able to grind down Dib, and stop him within six.
The undercard features even more bizarre matches.
Hughie Fury (22-2, KO12) has his second fight injustice under two months on the bill, but is facing a shell of a former WBC Heavyweight Champion in the Nigerian, Samuel Peter (38-7, KO31).
Peter was Champion back in 2008, which says a lot about this contest. He beat Oleg Maskaev in six rounds to lift the famous green belt. He dropped the belt, retiring in eight rounds against Vitali Klitschko seven months later.
Back to back stoppages in 2010/11 to Wladimir Klitschko and Robert Helenius relegated Peter to gatekeeper/journeyman status, where he has remained.
The 38 year old retired in three against Kubrat Pulev in December 2016, and was outscored by Mario Heredia in an eight rounder (split decision) back in April. His last bout saw him blast out the 2-12-2 Alejandro Garduno in a round in Mexico just two weeks later.
Fury is fourteen years Peter’s junior, and comes into this bout off a second round win against the unbeaten Chris Norrad in May.
Hughie is 2-2 in his last four fights, but these were defeats to Joseph Parker in a challenge for the WBO World Title, and Kubrat Pulev in an IBF Title Eliminator. He picked up the British Title in between defeats by stopping Sam Sexton in five rounds in May last year.
Prediction: I can see Peter seeing the going get tough in this one by halfway, and although Fury might not drop the Nigerian, Peter could well pull out of the action, and I Predict a retirement win for the Manchester man.
Other offerings on the card include a vacant WBC Silver Featherweight title contest between Filipino, Dave Penalosa (15-0, KO11) and South African, Lerat Dlamini (12-1, KO6).
The enigma that is Prince Patel (19-0-1, KO14) meets Venezuelan Michell Banquez (18-1, KO13) for the vacant IBO Bantamweight Title.