Can Khan Become King?
By Ashley Thorpe (Dec 15, 2010) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor, DHB)
A famed Briton wrote that “Some are born great, some achieve greatness and others have greatness thrust upon them.” Ever since a 17 year old Amir Khan captured the heart of a nation, battling to Olympic silver for Great Britain in 2004, he has had stardom thrust upon him. Only time will tell, though, if he is able to achieve greatness – Saturday’s clash against Marcos Maidana at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas was one mighty step towards reaching it.

In coming back from a shocking first round demolition that would have destroyed many careers, Khan has showed great mental strength and determination. Moving away from the distractions and media buzz in England to find a home at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card gym in the States, his talent has been well moulded, he has improved with every outing and is growing into his role as a world champion.

In Maidana, Khan found that live opponent who would truly test his skills and his will. He needed the victory to silence the critics who said he was avoiding big punchers, and he needed to take on a top ranked junior welterweight to get the attention of the American audience. He did just that. In years to come this may be looked upon as his defining fight – the moment in which he proved he had more than just fast hands and feet. The heart Khan showed in staying on his feet through that nail-biting tenth round commands the respect of those who believed he would wilt under pressure.

By no means the finished article, Khan is still learning and still has more experience to gain to avoid the mistakes that led him to take so many clean shots. Still only 24, Khan is also yet to reach the pinnacle of his strength – a fact that certainly excites considering the power of the body shot that dropped Maidana in the opening round. If Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaeffer has his way, Khan will fight against the experienced former light welter and undisputed welterweight champ, Zab Judah, in the spring. This will be a good test for Khan as Judah is fast, powerful a tricky southpaw and appears to be mentally stronger than in years gone by. If Khan is able to overcome an experienced fighter like Judah he should comfortably be ready to face the winner of Bradley vs. Alexander.

Freddie Roach has done wonders with Khan who is the 25th world champion he has trained and now the fight between Khan and either Bradley or Alexander is a truly exciting and lucrative prospect. Golden Boy has designs on eventually matching Khan with the undefeated Floyd Mayweather – a fight which should really be a much longer way off than they intend it to be, when Khan is ready to grow into the Welterweight division as he has grown into his current one. Meanwhile, more challenges await 7 pounds south of the big money division, with a light-welterweight king still uncrowned. Will Khan live up to his nickname and become King at 140 pounds? He has always believed that he can and, with Saturday’s thrilling victory, many more boxing fans will too.

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