Amir Khan: Off to See the Wizard

By Robert Ecksel on December 10, 2014
Amir Khan: Off to See the Wizard
Should Khan edge Devon Alexander, as most expect, he may finally get the fight he wants.

If this is indeed his time, if the stars align as he hopes, Khan will have earned that cherished shot at the undisputed King of Kings…

“I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”—Dorothy (Judy Garland) in the Wizard of Oz

On Saturday, December 13, at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, former WBA/IBF light welterweight champion Amir Khan (29-3, 19 KOs), from Bolton, England, gets it on with former WBC/IBF welterweight champion Devon Alexander (26-2, 14 KOs), from St. Louis, Missouri. At stake is WBC Silver welterweight title, a belt of relative worth, but all roads along Route 147 lead to Floyd Mayweather.

Muck like the Yellow Brick Road leading to the Emerald City, the Yellow Brick Road leading to Mayweather is fraught with challenges. Khan may not encounter lions and tigers and bears. Instead, he’ll encounter Devon Alexander, a masterful boxer when he’s on his game and not being head-butted into submission, which will be challenge enough for the Bolton Bomber.

“This is definitely an audition, or a dress rehearsal for a fight with Floyd Mayweather,” says Khan. “Now I’m the main attraction at the MGM, the main arena in Vegas. It will be the opportunity to imagine what it will be like when I’m up against Floyd Mayweather, the biggest fight of my career. The big time was my dream, to be on the Vegas Strip with big posters of me. I’ve obviously fought in Vegas before, but this fight has something more special. Maybe it’s because of the MGM, and it’s going to be a massive show.”

It is a massive show, with a stacked undercard, going up against Bradley-Chaves, with a stacked undercard of its own, down the street and on a rival network at the same time. Yes, HBO and Showtime are going head-to-head for a change. We get that it’s a Clash of the Titans thing and they can’t help themselves. But we also, just like HBO and Showtime, don’t want to be denied, and resent being treated with disdain.

While Khan’s promoter, the effusive Oscar De La Hoya, is calling Khan an all-time great who reminds him Muhammad Ali, more level heads, even those of us who love watching Khan fight, wonder what Oscar is smoking. Khan is a good fighter, a damn good fighter, maybe even a great fighter, but comparing him to Ali doesn’t elevate him. It diminishes him.

The same holds true for the £30,000 trunks Khan will wear Saturday night, made of white nappa leather with 24-carat gold woven into the waistband and sporting a crocodile trim.

“I’m not a big spender,” told the Daily Mail, which beggars the question, who’s picking up the tab for this indulgence?

Speaking of spending, Khan to his credit isn’t spending an inordinate amount of time focusing on Mayweather or Pacquiao, the fighters De La Hoya wants to see him fight.

“I’m focused on Alexander,” he says. “But after I beat him I hope the people will say that I deserve to fight Floyd and will demand that he meets me. I have the fastest hands in the ring. I have some of the best skills in boxing. I deserve to be regarded as among the elite fighters in the world, to be talked about in the same breath as Mayweather and Pacquiao. I believe I am the future of boxing.”

Kahn at 28 is young enough to be the “future of boxing,” but no one but he and De La Hoya has actually come out and said it. It’s not that he’s not skilled, it’s not that he’s not thrilling, but there’s the “it” factor, an admittedly amorphous concept, to consider, which Khan, for all his gifts, may not possess. It may be connected to his chin, which has let him down in the past. It may be that he sounds like Naseem Hamed when his boasting gets out of hand.

But Khan says he is “wiser, smarter, and I’ve learned from those mistakes.” Working with Virgil Hunter, Andre Ward’s longtime trainer, has presumably made a difference. “He worked on my balance and my defense. He made me realize that although I’m an attacking boxer I need to recognize when to go on the offensive. It’s in my blood to love a fight and that will always be a big part of me. But I have a better grasp of when to concentrate on boxing with abilities and not walk into big shots. Anyone who does that gets knocked down by the kind of punches I got caught with.”

Should Khan edge Alexander, as most expect, he may finally get the fight he wants. “I know that this is my time.” If this is indeed his time, if the stars align as he hopes, Khan will have earned that cherished shot at the undisputed King of Kings, the Wonderful Wizard of…Las Vegas.

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  1. Leigh 02:01am, 12/13/2014

    If Khan goes in thinking that Devon doesn’t have the power to hurt him then it’s a long night for Amir .Khan’s predicable and Devon can be cute everything clicks into place and he shines tonight handing amir his 4th loss by ud

  2. Koolz 12:32pm, 12/11/2014

    Ahh Khan the tin man with a glass jaw?
    If I only had a heart.
    Khan is a -240 on this fight?
    I liked Khan in his last fight.  I thought he did really well.
    I think this fight is going to be pretty damn close!
    I would love to see Khan win but I really have no idea who will win.
    Place your Bests on the Tin Man with The Glass Jaw!

  3. Robert Ecksel 06:52pm, 12/10/2014

    Thanks, raxman. Pretty damn smart.

  4. raxman 04:29pm, 12/10/2014

    its great that khan has been forced to fight a quality opponent before getting a Maypay. - although I would say he needs at least one more quality 147 pound opponent to really deserve the shot
    I don’t know how I feel about Khan these days - early days I was a fan even from his amateur days - you don’t silver medal at the Olympics with out some serious skill. his chin was always crap though and stories abound in those months of going pro that he was being dropped in the gym with jabs; but to me that made him more exciting, I mean wasn’t that Tommy Hearns attraction, the fact that his fights could end any minute, either (and most likely) from him landing a bomb or being bombed out - but in hearns defence his chin is like jake lamotta’s compared to khan (after all hearns was stopped by 2 ATGs in leonard and haggler and a true banger in barkly).
    so I supported khan when he got ko’d by Prescott and saluted his post ko successes with Roach - then Roach and more so Ariza had to mouth off, but khan remained dignified, often being a diplomat to undo insult damage that ariza caused.
    but then things started to turn for me first he seemed unaware of or unwilling to acknowledge his limitations. khan can’t fight on the inside. at all, and instead he pushes. losing the points v Peterson was the right call and his bitching afterwards was the beginning of the end of my being a fan. 
    leaving roach was as good thing. although a trainer with the rep of roach was good for his confidence post prescott, and it did strengthen his attacking game, however for mine it was roach cost him the ko loss to Garcia. you watch the videos of roach’s pad work for khan leading to that fight. one of the combos was 1-2-Left Hook- Right uppercut. one of the first things you learn in boxing is you don’t throw a right UC from the outside unless its behind a stiff jab. khan was ko’d attempting a lead LH-RUC - now although roach’s combo started with the 1-2 he still had LH-RUC drilled into khan’s mind. and why, when you can win fights on the outside using the jab, 1-2 and 1-2-3 or 1-2-left rip would you ever have a strategy that included hooking with a hooker. I digress.
    since being with hunter it turns out Khan is as much a mouth as roach and ariza - he was probably just unable to get a word in between those two egos.  the problem is khan, under Hunter is yet to fight one quality opponent - I actually thought it was a joke when he challenge Floyd - Molina, diaz, collazo and mayweather. one of these things is not the others.

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