Former contender and present day boxing trainer "Iceman" John Scully breaks down the Terence Crawford and Amir Khan fight. The fight is this Saturday.
By Amy Green
Amir Khan faces his stiffest challenge when he meets Terence Crawford (34-0) at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, for the WBO welterweight title. Khan (33-4), is extremely skilled, fast and boasts an impressive resume, but the weak spots in his game- a lack of strong defense and chin, have hindered his potential and added significant L’s to his record.
Crawford is more than equipped to deal with Khan, and critics of this fight are quick to add another “L” to his record, before a single punch is thrown. But the fight is not without some intrigue, and Iceman John Scully, boxing historian, trainer and former world title challenger, offered his analysis on the upcoming bout, and how he believes the fight will evolve.
“This fight is interesting in many ways because of what people thought Khan could have been as a professional,” Scully said, and pointed out what is on the mind of many Khan supporters. “There is still hope from many that he will be able to put it all together one big time and come through with the kind of victory that was predicted for him when he was first coming up,” he continued. “Crawford is considered a pound for pound entrant by everyone but it also stands to reason that thus far he hasn’t encountered anyone with the overall skill set if not the potential that Amir had.”
What Crawford brings to combat Khan is a sharp, smart style. “Terence is a smooth, calculated southpaw puncher with great vision that allows him to see openings much quicker than most guys.” Scully observed, and continued. “Once he gets in a flow he’s like a ball rolling downhill, picking up momentum as each moment passes,” he explained. “The type of guy who gets better as each fight progresses and looks better and better as each round passes. As sharp as he is early on, his punching accuracy seems to improve dramatically round by round.”
Scully described the skill and style of Amir Khan. “I see Khan as a very well schooled boxer with good power, a top jab and the ability and the desire to throw very good multi-punch combinations when he gets his groove going,” he said, and pointed out Khan’s tendency to get caught up in the heat of battle, and make himself vulnerable. “He likes to engage more than has been right for him over the years, though, for better or worse. He has the ability to be much more mobile than he usually is, he has the ability to be a much better pure boxer, but he seems to want to test his power and toughness much more than he should. His desire to let big punches fly has caused him to get caught in the middle of all of it on occasion.
When Crawford and Khan clash, Scully gives Khan the chance to make things interesting. For a little while. “I think Amir’s combination punching, his power and his gameness should give Terrence some noticeable problems early on in the fight,” he said, and gives Khan the edge until Crawford starts to gain his dangerous momentum. “I could even dare say I wouldn’t be surprised if Amir was ahead on the scorecards going into the fourth or fight round, but it stands to reason that Crawford will likely start to get through with slashing right hooks around that point and will focus in large part on those shots and on the body of Khan in hopes of wearing him down and setting him up for the big shots upstairs later on.” But Scully insisted, Amir will not be without a few good moments. “Khan will have some success early on, he will raise some eyebrows and will have some on the edge of their seats. His gameness and physical attributes might very well surprise Terrance early on for a few.”
And the end result, in Scully’s opinion? “I tend to think that Amir will have some early success and may even be leading on the scorecards early on, BUT- as has been the case in hundreds of similar fights over the course of boxing’s history, in the majority of cases, the younger, fresher guy who many perceive to be the favorite does in fact comes out as the winner in the end,” he said, and explained his prediction. “Ultimately I think Khan’s desire and willingness to trade punches will eventually get him caught in the middle of one of those multi punch combinations he likes to throw. If I were a betting man I would certainly have to go in that direction with this one as well. Either with a mid rounds stoppage or a tougher than expected but ultimately fair and clear unanimous decision for Terrance Crawford.”