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Britain’s brightest? What’s next for Amir Khan

Amir Khan is one of Britain’s brightest boxing stars who has been the unfortunate victim of poor choices, politics and problems that have limited and hindered his rise to stardom. Following Floyd Mayweather’s victory over Manny Pacquiao in May 2015, Khan was touted as a potential challenger for Mayweather. As of yet, however, the fight hasn’t materialised. So what is the fate of the 31-3 welterweight?


Maxinutrition sponsored Khan started boxing competitively at the age of 11 and went on to achieve an amateur record of 101-9, better than Mayweather’s 84-6 record. Amir moved into the professional ranks after winning a silver medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. His last amateur fight took place in 2005 and his first professional bout took place the same year, when he TKO’d David Bailey in the first round.


Khan then went on to build an impressive record of 18 straight wins that saw him touted as one of the most impressive rising stars in boxing. Unfortunately, the Bolton-born man would go on to suffer a devastating KO loss in a relatively pointless fight against the devastating puncher that was Columbian Breidis Prescott in 2008. Around the UK, the rising fortune of Khan shifted from admiration to mockery after the 54 second knockout in which he lost his WBO inter-continental lightweight title.


Lesser fighters would have quit at the crushing loss that stopped his hype train dead, but Khan simply refocused himself under the guidance of Freddie Roach. He won the WBA world title in both lightweight and light welterweight divisions and went on to defend them five teams before he lost a pair of defeats to Lamont Peterson and then Danny Garcia, who starched the Brit with a late left hook after being out-boxed.


Just like his earlier loss to Breidis, Khan’s career was once again in turmoil. He left the tutelage of Freddie Roach and went to Virgil Hunter. He recaptured a title in the interim WBC silver light welterweight title and went on to pick up five wins, the most recent coming against Chris Algieri in May.


Now, the British man stands in a difficult position. He believes himself next in line for a shot at Mayweather, but his most recent fight was on Spike TV and his record has been permanently tarnished by the hype-halting losses. Khan defeated Algieri by unanimous decision in a somewhat underwhelming fashion –so the question is whether he did enough to capture Mayweather’s attention. Or will Danny Garcia, the man who put Khan down in their bout, get the coveted bout with ‘Money.’


Ignoring the politics, Khan is a competent boxer and a good stylistic matchup for Mayweather. He will never escape questions about his chin, as the victim of two high-profile KO losses. However, Mayweather is a defensive mastermind and not known for devastating punching power. Khan was a far wilder fighter under Roach, an offensive fighter whose defence was neglected in favour of pressing forward.


Khan’s style always favoured offense, but under Virgil Hunter the Brit has become more tactical, more slippery and an all-together smarter fighter. His blitzing style is still there, lingering in each fight and coming out in exchanges. Fortunately, he’s been able to reign it in. Against Algieri, Khan showed his ability to alter tactics mid-fight and adjust. Unfortunately, he took plenty of hits and didn’t perform the expected steamroll of the lesser boxer (who was knocked down 6 times by Manny Pacquiao in their bout.)


With an underwhelming win and a long period of simply waiting for the Mayweather fight to come to him, Khan now sits in an awkward position. There’s no doubting his talent, but he needs to stake his own claim to greatness rather than wait for opportunity to come knocking.


And if it does, what then? Will he even be able to put on a show against the best fighter of our generation? Many think not. Whatever happens, Khan needs to be careful what he asks for and start taking fights that make sense.


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