At just 25 years of age, British-Pakistani boxer Amir Khan has become one of the biggest names in boxing. Khan shot to superstardom at 17, winning a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics and becoming the youngest British fighter in history to win a medal.
His only hurdle on the way to Gold was amateur veteran and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Mario Kindelán. After losing to Kindelán, Khan promised to avenge the defeat and that he did, just a few months after their first meeting. Upon the victory, Amir immediately announced his professional debut under the management of Frank Warren.
Khan quickly climbed up the ranks, knocking out 15 of his first 18 opponents until an over confident Khan suffered a brutal first round knockout at the hands of hard-hitting Cuban prospect Breidis Prescott.
In attempt to rejuvenate his career and achieve his goal of becoming a World Champion, Khan relocated from his home town of Bolton to the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles to train under the guidance of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach alongside several Pound for Pound greats such as Manny Pacquiao.
The move saw Khan move up in weight to the exciting Light-Welterweight division and stage an incredible comeback, winning the WBA World Title in his third fight. Despite acknowledgment from across the boxing fraternity of Khan’s impeccable skills and blistering hand speed, critics felt he lived in a glass palace and his suspect chin would shatter the fairy tale revival story very soon.
In 2010 Khan was put under the test against arguably the most powerful puncher in the Light Welterweight division, the Argentinian Marcos Maidana. An exciting fight saw Khan knock down the powerful Maidana in the first round and dominate the match until the 10th round where a swinging right landed clean on Khan’s chin.
In the rounds to follow, Maidana landed some dangerous shots on a clearly disorientated Khan but the champion’s heart lived up to its accolade and Khan went on to a unanimous decision victory, in what was later nominated by Ring Magazine as Fight of the Year. The performance answered any outstanding questions regarding the strength of Khan’s jaw and catapulted him to the number 1 spot of the Light-Welterweight division.
Khan had risen to international acclaim both in the UK and the US, winning 2 World Titles and adding names such as Paulie Maliganaggi, Marcos Maidana and Zab Judah to his resume. His accomplishments even garnered rumors of a possible fight with Pound for Pound champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.
In December of 2011 Khan chose to travel to Washington to fight native Lamont Peterson in his home town. The fight saw Khan suffer his first loss under Freddie Roach in what many deemed a controversial home-town decision.
A rematch was scheduled immediately after but Peterson failed a drug test and admitted to using synthetic testosterone in his first fight with Khan, putting the credibility of an already controversial fight in disarray and cancelling the scheduled rematch.
The WBA reinstated Khan as Champion and after what Khan described as the worst 6 months of his life, he went into a bout with undefeated Philadelphian prospect Danny Garcia. After dominating the first 4 rounds of action in what seemed be a landslide victory, an overconfident Khan was knocked down by a blistering left hook. Garcia’s win once again put Khan’s promising career into disarray.
Following the loss, there were calls from the boxing fraternity for 25 year old Khan to retire. These absurd claims, however, seemed to only motivate Khan, who was thankful for what his wrongdoings had taught him about how to handle different fighters. Acknowledging the flaws of his game, Khan chose to make fundamental changes in his camp and even dropped Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach for respected trainer Virgil Hunter.
Khan brought Hunter in to make him a more well-rounded fighter, looking to add a strong defense to his already impeccable attacking capabilities. On December 15th, Khan returns in a highly anticipated bout against unbeaten prospect Carlos Molina.
The fight is a turning point for Khan, as a win would put him back on the road to the top while a loss could potentially be the last nail in the coffin, the end of Khan’s momentum and relevance as well.
Khan’s offensive abilities undoubtedly are amongst the best in there is, and if he can develop an equally effective defensive strategy, there is no reason he wouldn’t be able to go head to head with the very best in the sport.
From boxing to entrepreneurship, every return to a career comes with its due risk but my rule is the same throughout: persistence beats resistance and with the right ethic and mental attitude, perseverance will ultimately carry you to the top. Khan definitely has the right attitude and I expect him to overcome the challenge he faces in Molina this Saturday.
Zeeshaan Shah | @zeeshaan_shah |Elite.
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