By Vikram Birring
Amir “King” Khan continues his comeback on September 8 against unheralded Samuel Vargas in Birmingham, England. This is the second fight of his comeback, the first was an opening round destruction of Phil Lo Greco. Ironically, both Lo Greco and Vargas live in Toronto.
Khan’s comeback is being orchestrated by Eddie Hearn as part of a three-fight deal, with the third fight thought to be the payoff. After going through a durable opponent like Lo Greco so quickly, one would have expected a step up instead of a downward move of fighting Vargas.
However, it seems Hearn wants to minimize any risks before a big fight, perhaps against Kell Brook or several other welterweights. Khan is still advised by Al Haymon, so options galore are available at the 147-pound weight class.
If Brook is unable to make 147, the winner of Danny Garcia and Shawn Porter is a possibility, as well as the undefeated prodigy Errol Spence and the elusive target Manny Pacquiao.
Khan still has blazing hand speed and is getting quality time with respected coach Joe Goosen, the fifth trainer of his professional career. Goosen is very selective with his clients, and as a result has the time to spend with Khan unlike previous trainers Virgil Hunter and Freddie Roach.
If their first fight is any indication, the combination is clicking on all cylinders.
Vargas has lost in both of his steps up, though to elites in the aforementioned Garcia and Spence. There are also two draws on his record and a loss in Mexico to journeyman Pablo Munguia in 2013. In his most recent fight, the result was a draw against Argentinian Mauro Maximiliano Godoy, who himself had never fought anyone of note.
Though Vargas seems to be a nice guy based on the recent YouTube series following his training camp up to the fight, his chance to win the fight seems to be impossible unless he lands a huge shot on Khan.
This is the interesting facet of Amir Khan fights, he is the high wire act of boxing. His talent is unquestionable, but a good shot has been known to take him out even when dominating the fight up to that point.
However, besides his shocking defeat to Breidis Prescott, Khan has always dominated lesser competition, and unless another stunning blow drops him, he will befuddle Vargas with his dazzling speed.
The selection of Birmingham as the host city is a good one, as it has a huge Pakistani diaspora. “Khan’s Army,” as it’s known, will be out in full force, and Vargas will have an excited crowd to go up against in addition to his opponent.
In the end, this is simply nothing more than a tune up fight, and one hopes the ultimate payoff of the next fight is worth waiting for, as this is essentially another fight to shake off the rust for Khan.