BBC BLOGS - Ben Dirs
« Previous | Main | Next »

Khan fighting a losing battle?

Post categories:

Ben Dirs | 16:57 UK time, Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Anyone who spends any amount of time on the BBC's 606 messageboards will be aware the British sports fan is an unpredictable breed. All human life is there, from the cerebral and the measured, to the slightly more unbuttoned.

And I would argue that of all the sub-breeds, there is none more enigmatic than the British boxing fan: for the most part knowledgeable and passionate, yet head-scratchingly capricious.

Take the example of Amir Khan, who challenges Ukrainian Andreas Kotelnik for his WBA light-welterweight belt in Manchester on Saturday.

An Olympic silver medallist in 2004, Khan's first pro fight the following year was accompanied by a welter of media articles trumpeting his cross-community appeal and unifying potential. Only it hasn't quite turned out like that.

Amir Khan

Fast-forward three years, and Khan is being booed to the rafters of the MEN Arena, having been knocked out in less than a minute by unheralded Colombian Breidis Prescott. My, how some of his fellow Brits in the crowd lapped that up.

"Most of what happened with the Prescott thing was jealousy, and in a way I can understand that," says the 22-year-old Khan. "I've been lucky enough to probably make more in 10 fights than they have in their whole lives."

Others have been irked by Khan's naked ambition, what in other countries might translate as confidence, but what to many Britons smacks of arrogance. He hasn't paid his dues on the domestic scene, his detractors say, he's over-hyped and disrespectful. For pity's sake, they say, did you see him wearing that crown at the pre-fight press conference?

Then there's the elephant in the room, the sensitive matter of racism. I heard it at the Prescott fight, and I heard it again before, during and after his victory over Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera in March.

Khan professed to be shocked when told there were racist undertones to the barracking at the Barrera fight, and I'm willing to believe it was down to a mindless few. After all, there were those who travelled thousands of miles to boo Ricky Hatton after his devastating defeat to Manny Pacquiao. One minute a hero, the next a no-mark bum deserving of derision. No, I couldn't work it out either.

One way - probably the only way - Khan can convert the doubters is by winning, and winning in style, starting with Kotelnik on Saturday.

After all, those accusing Khan of ducking domestic opponents won't really have a leg to stand on if he ends up with the strap round his waist. Well-managed, well-matched (Prescott aside), but that's boxing. And since when was boxing supposed to be fair?

Khan should be too quick and too slippery for Kotelnik, although the former European champion, who took the belt from Welshman Gavin Rees last March, is a solid customer who has lost just two pro fights in 34 and has never been stopped.

With an excellent amateur grounding (Kotelnik lost to Cuba's Mario Kindelan in the Olympic lightweight final in 2000, just as Khan did four years later), Kotelnik has a stiff jab and a tight defence, although he has a tendency to start slow, comes forward in straight lines and can be a little one-paced.

"I'm going to give him a boxing lesson," is Khan's take on proceedings - there he goes, riling those doubters again. "I don't think he's ever been in with anyone like me.

"Moving to 140lb [the fight against Kotelnik is Khan's first at light-welterweight] has made me stronger, fitter and more explosive. I can see a late stoppage happening."

If that is to transpire, then it will be in no small part down to Freddie Roach, who has been hammering Khan into shape at his Los Angeles forge since the reverse to Prescott.

"I have the best coach in the world in my corner," Khan says of Roach, the man who masterminded Pacquiao's two-round destruction of Hatton. "And he's hopefully going to catapult me to the biggest fights ever."

While Roach maintains he'd like to see Hatton retire, he is also a boxing realist and knows an all-British blockbuster "would sell a lot of tickets and make a lot of money" for both combatants.

A clash with Khan would also seem to be the only fight that makes any real sense for Hatton. 'The Hitman's' days as a Las Vegas headliner are history, but one last fight in front of his adoring fans, perhaps at Wembley Stadium, for a world title belt, could be a hell of a way to bow out.

"I know boxing is hard to step away from, I had trouble myself, and if he [Hatton] continues to fight, I want him," says Roach. "It would be a great fight for him and my guy."

Whether it would do much to enhance Khan's popularity, however, is doubtful. Just as the British public never really forgave the 21-year-old Joe Bugner for beating Henry Cooper in Cooper's last fight back in 1971, they might find Hatton's vanquishing at the hands of Khan difficult to swallow.

"I had another 20 fights in England after beating Henry and the reaction was painful every time," recalls the Hungarian-born Bugner, who went on to fight most of the top heavyweights of the time.

"If the boxing fraternity don't like the look of a fella for whatever reason, there's no way you're ever going to change their opinion," is how Cooper sees it.

Keep notching up the victories and the titles and still there will be those who don't take to Khan. But there will come a point when they'll have to respect his talent, and that may be all the polite young man from Bolton can hope for.

Comments

Page 1 of 2

  • Comment number 1.

    Excellent article as always Mr Dirs.

    I actually like Khan as a person, I think his detractors do not see that to sell tickets you have to adopt a brash almost arrogant attitude in the build ups.

    It's interesting that most fight fans loved Hamed when he was banging guys out of there and bragging it up though, even though he seemed to be the same away from his promotions. Maybe because he could be uncomfortable in adopting the position of the braggard it could come across as insincere?! I don't know either way I don't like the way my beloved sport is going where one defeat consigns an individual under a cloud of mediocrity. Match ups need to be even and defeats almost unsurprising for boxing to survive. Presently it is turning into an uncompetitive sport. I do like the "super six" idea for the super middleweights however and would love to see this in all divisions

  • Comment number 2.

    oh and Khan to win on points with a few scares in the mid rounds

  • Comment number 3.

    I have no axe to grind with Khan;he is truly entertaining in the ring. But I have less confidence in him behind the wheel of one of his flash motors.

    Good luck but try to stay grounded Amir

  • Comment number 4.


    I am not a Khan fan, whilst being a huge fan of boxing.
    And I had never read that quote regarding pay and jealousy which he claims is the reason for his detractors, which now actually makes me dislike him even more.
    I was going to cheer him on, come Saturday, but it is comments like this which are losing him fans, and I now hope to see a repeat of the Prescott fight to be honest.
    Khan has been over-hyped to a level unseen in boxing, in my time, for the ability he actually possesses.
    He has very fast hands. He should be a shoe-in for a points win against most opponents. That is were it not for his glass chin and lack of dig.
    He has been facing over-matched opponents for far too long, and he has actually struggled with many of them, let alone proper world class fighters.
    Khan is simply not as good as he thinks he is and his promoters say he is, and certainly does not deserve to be on Sky Box Office.
    It is not jealousy, it is pity, followed by anger and derision over your ill-informed comments.

  • Comment number 5.

    Ben

    If you look at the 606 board the knowledgable posters suggest it will be a tough night for Khan maybe tougher than the 1/2 betting Khan is to win.

    In terms of Khan's rise to success I personally do not believe he has reached pay per view status and he has had an easy enough route to a world title fight. For the time being I am not excited enough about Khan and this fight to want to cough up £15 for the ppv. Maybe down the line after a few tough fights I will get more excited about Khan.

  • Comment number 6.

    Brooklyn I agree with your sentiments re SKY box office, much as I think it will be a good fight , I do not think it is worth £extra on top of my subscription! That is an insult to true fight fans who realise Khan has yet to make any sort of real impression on a world stage. Oh and before anyone sites the Marco Antonio Barrera fight, PLEASE! Barrera should have quit 3 years ago!

  • Comment number 7.

    The doubters and haters have good reason. In reality Khan has not fought anyone of real top quality bar barrera and even barrera was clearly not at his best. There is definatly still a huge amount of doubt over his potential which is going to be there for a few more fights after his shocking knockout to prescott.
    However.....He has showed that he is growing into a technically excellent boxer. His speed is a massive strength and he is an extremely committed student by the accounts of Freddie Roach. All positive things that rationally we cannot ignore.
    Of cause since when have sports fans been rational!!!!

    I am a khan fan. I enjoy watching him box. He throws punches and entertains which is more than can be said for most of the other dross out there.

  • Comment number 8.

    A lot of it is down to being on PPV and the ludicrous hype.

    Why are the British public having to fork out the same price for a Khan fight as we do for HUGE fights in the States featuring fighters at the very top of their profession? (and it's debateable whether we should even be having to pay for that!)

    It's a joke. Warren's also a joke and becoming increasingly unpopular. Being associated with him these days doesnt mean what it did 10 years ago (when he virtually controlled British boxing).

    And they wonder why Khan isnt more liked than he is.

  • Comment number 9.

    "capricious" - getting a bit cerebral yourself there Ben. Don't mention capricious to Khan - he'll be disappointed when you don't know any supermodels.

  • Comment number 10.

    I'm afraid Mr Dirs that Mr Pilks is right. When an unproven glass chinned wonder diddles hundreds of thousands of brain washed sports fans out of £15 to get knocked out in 60 seconds by unknown fighter from God knows where then you're asking for trouble. Warren built him up and he had nothing to back it up. So, for now, Warrena nd Khan are reaping what they have sewn in regards to public sentiment towards the Mr Chinny Khan.

    However, I'm willing to give him another chance because I believe in Freddie roach. Remember, the Pac Man got banged out a couple of times early in his career and as Freddie says it took 8 years for him to become the fighter he know is. And he also says that the glassy wonder is the only man the Pac Man takes seriously in training. In fact, Freddie says Khan is able to compete till the ealy middle rounds with him before the great mans power starts to tell at which point they call a halt to proceedings.

    I hope Khan's speed starts to tell but you can't teach a fighter to grow an iron chin. Whether the rest of his skills are going to be improved to a level where he can't be hit is something I doubt possible. Naseem got put on his butt a few times but everytime came back to smash his opponent. It's powers like that that separate the great from the good.

  • Comment number 11.

    First off, i think Khan dances his way to a 4/5 round margin over Kotelnik. I can't see the gameplan being much different than the Barrera fight - Dance in, punch, dance out.

    With Khan holding a world title it's going to mean some pretty big names coming after him - Hatton, Edwin Valero, Marquez (should he lose to Mayweather Jr) and seemingly the entirity of the 135lb div who are moving up (Juan Diaz et co). Frank Warren can't keep milking the money, at some point he's going to have to face the top challengers. Who's he beaten since Prescott? A shot and over-the-top Barrera and Fagan. How's he going to cope against the top 135+ fighters when he's been put on his backside by blown-up super-featherweights?

    I still think if you put Khan in with Hatton (and Hatton not losing the plot) he'd lose, the kid hasn't got the chin to get involved in a war and that's what Hatton would drag him into. He's not yet involved into the 'total' boxer that he could be technically, at this present point in time Hatton would win in my opinion.

    The kid is good, beating Kotelnik opens a door to some of the biggest names in the whole of boxing and i think Frank Warren's money train may come to an end...

  • Comment number 12.

    "Most of what happened with the Prescott thing was jealousy, and in a way I can understand that," says the 22-year-old Khan. "I've been lucky enough to probably make more in 10 fights than they have in their whole lives."

    And to think that some people don't like this guy.

  • Comment number 13.

    i dont like the fact he's got a title shot while prescott is fighting against a journeyman on saturday in a run of the mill match...it seems khan is flying high based on his connections rather than his abilities

  • Comment number 14.

    oh yeah good article by the way.

  • Comment number 15.

    No-one here has pointed out the IMO very very obvious facts.....

    this isn't about boxing, it's about money.

    Amir Khan is a good boxer (maybe great, at this point no-one really knows....probably just good IMO)

    He captured the Nation at the Olympics - this was on the BBC and has been used as free advertising by SKY who are now cashing in on his notoriety.

    The reason he's being given opportunities beyond his skill is because people know who he is.

    Kid got lucky

    "Most of what happened with the Prescott thing was jealousy, and in a way I can understand that," says the 22-year-old Khan. "I've been lucky enough to probably make more in 10 fights than they have in their whole lives."

    This is spot on even if it is a bit direct - the fact he says he can understand the jealousy & appreciates he has been lucky makes this comment far from arrogant.

    Think about it what is he meant to say? "I'm not very good and didn't deserve a shot?!" He's a boxer- they live and die in the ring as a result of confidence.

    Do people agree with this?! Or am I a Arsenal fan getting it all wrong?

    James

  • Comment number 16.

    Amir Khan is incredibly gifted and he deserves huge credit for re-grouping and dedicating himself to Roach's gym.

    I think the big gripe fans have is with his promotion. There's resentment he has been fast tracked past the likes of Thaxton and Murray and he really should have faced them - and should do in the future. He displayed arrogance towards them but the fault ultimately lies with Frank Warren for not making them happen.

    Also, the fact he's being milked on pay per view is ludicrous and smacks of greed. Again - the fault lies with Warren more so than Khan.

    Khan has been led to run before he can walk but I think the vast majority want him to succeed. He has the talent.

  • Comment number 17.

    RE "" "If the boxing fraternity don't like the look of a fella for whatever reason, there's no way you're ever going to change their opinion," is how Cooper sees it. ""
    -----------------------------------------------------

    ------ Sir'enery has nailed it.

    Young Khan has done a worse than poor job on the public relations front, what with running over a certain Mr. Hatton in the cross walk, the cyclist that had to be hospitalized this week, and numerous speeding violations. He's become public menace on top of being a legend in his own mind.

    The racism is just a tool used by dissatisfied customers as they might leverage epithets and other forms of derision. The lad had a measure of popularity coming out of the Olympics that he's squandered in his new role as the favourite UK heel.

    Fight itself should prove to be a tuffy since Kotelnik is the hungrier fighter pointing hard towards this fight. Hope the judges and refs can get it sorted so the best man wins.

  • Comment number 18.

    I dont like Khan at all but for an unbiased view of one of the problems some fans have is that like so many young British fighters he has this mad ego trip going on. If he could just shut his mouth and let his fists do the talking hed win over more fans.

    eg. James De Gale. The guy hadnt even turned pro and he was already slagin off the majority of guys in that division. Then in his 2nd fight he looks great and people start to think "well if he can just stop the talk this guy could be good".

    The talk Khan came out with about how he would have "Brutally Knocked out" Barrera is total rubbish. He needs to stop stupid comments like that for starters! The majority of fans there that night were there supporting one man - and funny enough it wasnt Khan.

  • Comment number 19.

    Ben,

    I think Khan is a nice kid, but is disliked because of his managements decisions. He has earned a lot of money, been over hyped and has a world title shot after acheiving not very much. Admittedly good promotion by Frank Warren, but does not make him popular the public.

    There seems to be an unusual amout of Racism surrounding Khan. It is a shame because he would have been a very good symbol of british multiculturalism, everybody was backing him when he turned pro. Now through his mismatching, cocky press conferences, and people having to pay through the nose on PPV to watch him, he has become a very unpopular figure with many british boxing fans.

    A Ricky Hatton fight is a brilliant fight for both men and would be a great spectacle and one worth paying for. Unfortunately I think that if he were to beat Ricky Hatton his popularity would take another further hit.

  • Comment number 20.

    "Most of what happened with the Prescott thing was jealousy, and in a way I can understand that," says the 22-year-old Khan. "I've been lucky enough to probably make more in 10 fights than they have in their whole lives."

    This is spot on even if it is a bit direct - the fact he says he can understand the jealousy & appreciates he has been lucky makes this comment far from arrogant.

    Think about it what is he meant to say? "I'm not very good and didn't deserve a shot?!" He's a boxer- they live and die in the ring as a result of confidence.

    Do people agree with this?! Or am I a Arsenal fan getting it all wrong?

    James

    ************

    You're an Arsenal fan who's got it wrong ;)
    How many people do you know who have a genuine "jealousy" of boxers?
    Look at Hatton, the guys earned 10 times what Khan could even hope to get in his career, and has fought far more top class opponents than the level Khan will even reach.
    People admire, respect and look up to him.
    It's because he walks the walk and has done it at the very highest level, while still maintaining a good relationship with the fans and not getting too big for his boots.
    Khan already thinks he is above the people who are paying for him to get undeserving title shots, and comments like the above only serve to increase the feelings of resentment towards him.

    the only other boxer in recent times, who I can say I wasn;t a big fan of when he was starting out was Froch, because he constantly bad-mouthed, couldn't let go of chasing Joe Calzaghe at every opportunity and came across as very very arrogant.
    However, he has turned that all around, has beaten some fantastic opponents of late, has given up on JC and is chasing his own goals, and he has always had the ability to back it up.

    I hope Khan is capable of something similar, but the more comments like this I read/hear from him, the less chance there is of me ever supporting him, and I feel a lot of people will have the same view.

  • Comment number 21.

    From what I have seen of Kotelnik, he looks like a decent quality but not genuine top-notch fighter, and as such Khan's greater boxing skils - because he is undoubtedly a good boxer - should see him win the day. I can't see him winning before halfway though, and I wouldn't be entirely surprised if it went the distance for a Khan points success.

    However the hype machine needs to be brought back under control. Khan is not himself genuine world-class yet, which I know sounds stupid given that he will be fighting for a world title, but it is true. Over the next few years he might emerge as a good world champion, but the way I look at it is in this way: if Khan got back into the ring with Breidis Prescott, who would you rather have your money on?

    It would definitely have to be Prescott. http://www.loserscomesecond.com/

  • Comment number 22.

    Hi Ben,

    I can't believe that so many journalists seem to be missing the point re Khan's apparent unpopularity in some quarters. It is not as The Guardian has it, in that disgraceful article claiming almost that anyone who is against Khan is a racist. The 606ers have put it well enough but these posts are overlooked for some reason. So I'll spell it out now: Khan is in possession of undoubted ability, but has jumped forward in steps much bigger than the fights themselves have warranted, over the British champion of the day, the European etc etc and boxing fans and supporters know what they are looking at. Many of them have felt as if they have been taken for a ride, the ppv added to this, the Prescott fight confirmed this. Yet here he is, a world title bout, yet many other fighters who have more wins, more belts, more experience and possibly talent in some areas (defence being one)...

    Khan has spoken of beating Pacman, and now Hatton, whilst having no title shots or belts at all (of the 4 that matter). Boxing fans have many favourites, of all colours and creeds, they like and follow a boxer based on their performances in the ring. They feel that Khan hasn't done enough to earn their support yet (yet he continues to claim to be a world beater etc) and hence the doubts and the criticism.

    I wish him a great and long career, but doing it the right way, and without the disrespectful rhetoric that he uses when talking about true champs who have been plying their hard trade for many more years and many more fights that he has.

  • Comment number 23.

    I like Amir, and I know the Americans can't believe we haven't embraced him as a star. He's a prodigious talent and he seems to have his feet firmly planted on the ground and his chin tucked in for good measure!

    What more do the fickle public want? Do they want him to be a boozer (a la Hatton)? Do they want him to be arrogant (a la Naz)? I don't think the public know what they want.

    As for the racist thing, I can't believe that's still going on. Naz never had any of that and he was shoving Islam down the public's throats (albeit prior to 9/11), so why turn on Amir.

    As far as I can see, the only thing Amir has done wrong in the ring is lose to Prescott, whilst all he's done wrong out of the ring is chalk up a few points on his licence. Big deal!

    For pity's sake, get behind him. Khan - along with Carl Froch - is flying the flag for British Boxing!

  • Comment number 24.

    I do not believe it is racism that causes people to dislike Khan in the vast majority of cases. Khan simply does not have the endearing character of Bruno, the self-deprecating humour of Hatton, or the sense of theatre of Haye to encourage people to like him. The British public do not like arrogance on the whole and it is certainly frowned upon when it is not accompanied by the sort of theatrics we saw from Hamed. I would say that Hamed was more popular than Khan because he was an all-round entertainer. Khan does not - at least, not yet - have that entertainment value.

  • Comment number 25.

    Brooklynbrawler - I can understand how his early elevation to PPV status would rile some, but that doesn't really explain the level of dislike for Khan as an individual. Yes, he's lucky, but, as I said, since when has boxing been fair? Where's Prescott now? Not fighting for a world title, that's where. But if you don't like that element of boxing, then why be a fan of the sport in the first place? It's as shady and amoral as sport comes.

    Mr_Pilks - "The doubters and haters have good reason... in reality Khan has not fought anyone of real top quality..." Is that really a good reason to hate someone though? You see, this is what I don't understand. It's not his fault he's getting everything put on a plate for him, it's not his fault he's got a promoter who's fast-tracked him to a world title shot. To me, he seems like a decent enough, polite young kid who comes out with a bit of bragging in the lead-up to fights. And, as you say, at least he's entertaining.

    Strongback - Yeh, I like that word, I read it in a book once.

    Rockestastic - Yes, but those "brainwashed sports fans" don't have to pay for it, do they?

    coxy - I agree, there are some choppy waters at 140lb, and sooner or later Khan's going to come face to face with a world-class performer at the top of his name. What I don't understand is, there will be those wanting Khan to lose those fights, almost because they want to have their views of him vinidicated, which is a little bit sad. Not sure about Hatton beating Khan - has Hatton got what it takes any more to draw him into war Khan might not want?

    dm06 - "I don't like the fact he's got a title shot while Prescott is fighting against a journeyman on Saturday..." Of course Khan is flying high based on his connections, you don't really think all these British fighters who have got world title shots down the years have been deserving of one? Doesn't work like that, and never has.

  • Comment number 26.

    Personally, i can't stand the guy. I see his talent as a boxer, but as already stated here, hes jumped ahead of himself, that isn't his fault, anybody in life given that chance would take it, but the sheer arrogance of the guy overwhelms whatever talent he has. People don't like me because I made more money than they ever will in there lives??? Hatton made more than he ever has, but he shows the one thing Amir Khan with all his money will never has and that is CLASS. Its nothing to do with race or anything else, he has no humility at all and thinks hes better than the fans who come and pay to watch him and at the end of the day make him. If he sorts out his attitude then I would quite happily cheer him on, but if hes the sole representative for british boxing, god knows what the world thinks of us!

  • Comment number 27.

    Brooklyn - "Look at Hatton, the guys earned 10 times what Khan could even hope to get in his career, and has fought far more top class opponents than the level Khan will even reach. People admire, respect and look up to him." Unfortunately, that's not necessarily the case. From what I've read on the messageboards, there are plenty of people who don't like Hatton either. Refers to himself too much in the third person, apparently...

  • Comment number 28.

    "Khan has been over-hyped to a level unseen in boxing"

    What drivel mate. Tyson was more hyped than any other fighter in the history of the fight game. He knocked out bums left right and centre and whenever he came up against a half decent heavyweight he was usually outclassed.

    The yanks in particular are notorious for over-hyping their fighters. Just look at the invincible Jeff "Left Hook" Lacy and what happened to him when he came over here to face JC!!

  • Comment number 29.

    The number of fast punches/combos Khan throws (whilst leaving himself open) makes for exciting viewing.

    I liken the debate to bears and bulls talking up the current volatility of financial stocks- some believe the green shoots of recovery whilst others quote gloomberg all day long. but with neither proven in their argument as of yet, the mystery of Khans's destiny remains to be unravelled and both sides will stay glued to his fights in order to claim the 'i told you so' mantle in the first case if they are proved right.

    Every fight is judgement day for Khan, and from here on in if he beats Kotelnik, he will be expected to and probably relish taking on some high profile boxers, which will provide more entertainment (hoping Hatton and Prescott are in the mix somewhere).

    All this pre fight hype and debate adds thrill to what already features a young Brit in a world title bout.

    I don't understand ppl moaning about him being on PPV. PPV offers you the freedom to choose to watch him or not. Also, he is a boxer not a politician so whats with the exaggerated emphasis on his words, take them with a pinch of 'boxing context' and let his fists do the talking.

    As a fan, I hope for a great fight from Amir, in bursts, and would be happy with more than 5 rounds of action.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    Amir Khan is a very talented and confident young man. He won a silver medal for Britain at the Athens Olympics, while most other British teenagers were on the streets stealing cars, or robbing pensioners. He deserves respect for that alone.

    As far as his career progression goes, I don't see a problem. He has beaten solid domestic boxers like Lawton, Limond, Earl, and Gomez, and has even beaten an age weary, but still dangerous boxer in Barrera. For a young prospect with only 21 fights to his name, he has been managed pretty well. Many people claim he has ducked domestic opposition, but who are these domestic fighters he is supposed to be afraid of? I can only think of John Thaxton, who lost his European belt to an unknown Frenchman with a 13-5 record, and John Murray who had trouble dealing with Scott Lawton. This is the Scott Lawton who Khan put away with ease 2 years ago.

    Since the Prescott fight Khan has went back to the drawing board and tried to rebuild his career. He moved camps to LA, trained with Freddie Roach, and is a better boxer for it. We saw in the Barrera fight that Khan now brings his hands back to guard after throwing, and isn't as reckless as he once was. This can only help Khan protect that fragile chin of his. The simple fact is, Khan made the changes he needed to become a better boxer. He moved country, he moved camps, and he changed his attitude. He should be repected for that.

    When the bell rings this Saturday, I really do hope Khan can put on a spectacular performance and shut his doubters up. Kotelnik is a very technical fighter, and a genuine world class opponent. If Khan can win the fight, he will deserve a little bit of credit, adululation, and applause from the many fans who had written him off after the Prescott fight.

    Khan is a credit to Britain. He works hard, he wants to improve, and he always gives 100%. If some of the racists, haters, and detractors of Khan had the same attitude, maybe Britain would be a much better place to live.

  • Comment number 32.

    "Khan has been over-hyped to a level unseen in boxing"

    What drivel mate. Tyson was more hyped than any other fighter in the history of the fight game. He knocked out bums left right and centre and whenever he came up against a half decent heavyweight he was usually outclassed.

    The yanks in particular are notorious for over-hyping their fighters. Just look at the invincible Jeff "Left Hook" Lacy and what happened to him when he came over here to face JC!!

    **************

    In your 2 examples above, Tyson became the youngest ever heavyweight and was knocking people out right, left and centre.
    He was genuinely feared, and infact was at the very top of the game until the Buster Douglas fight, where he laid out a blueprint to show everyone else how to beat Tyson, and that if you stood up to him, then he didn't have the heart to keep going once he took some decent shots himself.
    Overhyped? Maybe. But initially deserving because he backed it up in the ring.

    Lacy is a different kettle of fish.
    Again, he looked very good against the fighters he did face.
    And knocked most of them out.
    He was a monster for a super middleweight, but JC completely gave him a lesson, and he has never been the same fighter since.


    Lacy failed to live up to the hype, while imo, Tyson at least, did live up to his billing.
    But Khan has been knocked down and knocked out by guys they were completely outclassing and blowing out of the ring.
    To say that he is among the worlds best is naive at this stage.
    He has the tools to get there, but to have the hype he has, at this stage in his career and after the performances he has put in, is completely undeserving.

  • Comment number 33.

    To those people who are not respecting Amir Khan - thats just a form of dislike that has nothing to do with sport. That is not necessarily racially motivated, though it may be. You simply dont like the guy. Human nature.

    I think you guys should though. Why?
    1. Hes a brave guy. Try sparring one day, see how you cope. 2. We saw him at the beginning of his career, he seemed humble when he didnt have to self promote - now he does and the bravado comes out! 3. He earns "ten times more money than the average fan/boo-er". And you know why? Cos he goes through a lot pain in the gym daily, watches everything he eats daily, is under media scrutiny regularly, and is in a job where one mistake may leave him a vegetable.

    Give the guy a break, some of the comments are making us look a miserable, embittered bunch. But not necessarily racist.

  • Comment number 34.

    Brooklynbrawler'S posts at 12.00 and 3.00 are absolutely spot on.

    I'm not denying there are people out there who dislike Khan for his colour, I have seen some comments on Youtube in regards to his loss to Prescott that were quite frankly, disgusting.

    But the fact remains that he is perhaps the most protected fighter currently plying his trade. He was openly disrespectful of the domestic scene, claiming that he was beneath him. His claims of being able to beat Pacman or Hatton were laughable.

    And Ben, I must say, your comment of

    "After all, those accusing Khan of ducking domestic opponents won't really have a leg to stand on if he ends up with the strap round his waist" is pure rubbish, as Brooklyn has pointed out, Kotelnik is the most beatable champion for Khan within 4 weightclasses.

    Let me ask you Ben, If Kotelnik was a Lightweight champion (unlikely I know with the talent there) do you think Khan would of moved to Lt Welter?

    Not a Chance.

    P.S. Khan can turn this public opinion of him around if he stops mouthing off, keeps his chin tucked in and delivers in the ring against top drawer opponents.

  • Comment number 35.

    I have had a think about it, and it is purely down to the matchmaking and his own displays not living up to the hype, that leave me failing to back Khan in the same way I do some other fighters.

    The best example I can think of for this, is to consider Khan against David Haye.
    Haye is a far more arrogant fighter. He trash talks more (although directed at his opponents or potential opponents as opposed to the people who have paid to come and see him...although he has probably never had to contest with this to be fair).
    He is massively overhyped.
    He also has a questionable chin.

    What separates them?

    Haye has beaten everyone from his own domestic rivals, to genuine world class fighters, and has done it in style.
    I think I can live with someone's trash talking and arrogance if they back it up, or at least show signs to suggest that they can back it up.
    I'm still waiting for Khan to do this.
    Haye is one of my favourite fighters for his displays in the ring, and trash talk only serves to spice up the rivalry in the lead up to the fight.
    It's difficult to create a buzz around a fight, when your opponent is clearly overmatched and the outcome is already known before he even steps into the ring.
    This is the first time I have seen a Khan fight I genuinely don;t know what way to call.

  • Comment number 36.

    It's the talk. We just don't like the big mouths. We would've hated Mohammed Ali if he'd been British.

    So Khan hasn't fought anyone of note? That's how boxing is? You Calzaghe didn't go out of his way to fight anyone of note either.

    2/3

  • Comment number 37.

    "If the boxing fraternity don't like the look of a fella for whatever reason, there's no way you're ever going to change their opinion," is how Cooper sees it.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Very accurate statement that is.
    It does not matter whether Khan wins or not.

  • Comment number 38.

    #16 - Silky, I think you have summed it up correctly and without bias.
    I have over time been bemused by the level of what seems to be verging on hatred of Khan by many. He is a dedicated lad with some talent but I do find the level of hype unjustified and since his KO by Prescott he hasnt really proved anything. The defeat of Barrera was a joke for as well as MAB being shot, the fight should have been stopped and declared a no-contest in the first round when the cut occured.
    And if he doesnt eventually fight Prescott again at some point in his career then whatever he does achieve will pale into insignificance in my opinion.

  • Comment number 39.

    "coxy - I agree, there are some choppy waters at 140lb, and sooner or later Khan's going to come face to face with a world-class performer at the top of his name. What I don't understand is, there will be those wanting Khan to lose those fights, almost because they want to have their views of him vinidicated, which is a little bit sad. Not sure about Hatton beating Khan - has Hatton got what it takes any more to draw him into war Khan might not want?"

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    We'll see Ben, once he has the WBA belt (which i shall be willing him to win) i'd like to see him taking on a big name, someone in their prime - someone like Juan Diaz should he get past Malignaggi. The problem i have with Khan is that i don't know if his "talent" is a smokescreen due to clever management, or if in fact he's going to be the real seriously hot deal. Will someone with the skills simple expose his chin again? Or is he learning so much under Roach that this may not be a factor again due to being technically good enough not to get hit? Even if he gets that good i can't see it being particularly exciting, almost in the realm of what Wladimir Klitshko does now to avoid getting hit but still score at the same time.

    He talks about emulating Pacquaio alot and should probably take his lead in the way he took on the best there was around when moving up in weight, he can't keep ducking fighters. What i'd hate for him to do is do a "Calzaghe" and have people poke holes in his record by saying he ducked X, then X etc etc.

  • Comment number 40.

    I just think he's fake. He's like a puppet for Frank Warren who always tries to say and do the right thing but his arrogance always slides through....

    I remember him talking about Prince Naseem how he would never show off like Naz and brag coming into a ring because what if he lost it would be so embarassing and also how he is planning on being a humble champion. Its the kinda chat people are sick of.... y not just fight a keep your mouth closed about how u want pacman and hatton.

    People preffered Naz because even though he was arrogant he was genuine... Not always trying to say and do what he thinks are the right thing!! People don't dislike u because they are jealous... they just don't like u!!

  • Comment number 41.

    **I'm assuming my 3.16 post was pulled because of my comments about Frank Warren and the WBO, so re-posting it with that parts removed**

    Brooklynbrawler - I can understand how his early elevation to PPV status would rile some, but that doesn't really explain the level of dislike for Khan as an individual. Yes, he's lucky, but, as I said, since when has boxing been fair? Where's Prescott now? Not fighting for a world title, that's where. But if you don't like that element of boxing, then why be a fan of the sport in the first place? It's as shady and amoral as sport comes.

    *********

    Hey Ben,

    I remember back 18 months+ ago, and the whole Sky PPV thing was instigated by Khan's desire to be paid more, which in itself I do not have a problem with, but realising that he was Warren's only real marketable fighter at that point, he has managed to secure a payday which is not in line with his current standing and ability, and who pays for it? The fans.
    This was clearly oulined when he couldn't last a full minute in his first PPV event.
    Khan was very lucky to get away with the W on his record against Barrera. The fight could and should have easily been stopped any time between the 2nd and 4th rounds to make it a no-contest, but to have it stopped on the same grounds a few seconds into the 5th, which ultimately allowed the fight to go to the cards, and against a fan favourite in Barrera, this simply acted to add to his detractors.
    Khan was knocked down by the feather fisted Limond and the shot Gomez.
    Infact, Khan has tended to fight past-it "named" fighters, and people who were never deserving of sharing the ring with him in the first place.
    He has undoubted ability, but the hype machine which surrounds him, and the words from his won mouth have consistently failed to be lived up to since he turned a pro.
    A victory over Kotelnik would go some way to righting this, but if you want to analyse his opponent some more, then he is probably the weakest world titlist Khan could have faced anywhere from Featherweight to Welterweight.
    If he had stayed at Lightweight, he would undoubtedly have to have walked into Juan Manuel Marquez or Edwin Valero in order to realise his ambition to become a world champion, never mind the fact that he would have likely had to have faced Juan Diaz, Casamayor, Katsidis, Prescott...just to get himself into a position to fight for the title.
    It is little surprise to me that he has, once again, taken the easy option and stepped up a weight class.
    If superfeatherweights can put him on his back, then he is likely to find that he has taken a step too far in going to Lightwelter.

    I can appreciate that many fighters get undeserving title shots, but that doesn't mean you have to like it though.
    And I will hardly stop following boxing because there is a biased element in some sections.
    I will however, reserve judgement and support for fighters who are fully deserving of it, and not just blindly support a guy because he is British, regardless of the way he comes across both in and outside the ring.

  • Comment number 42.

    Boxing is not the same as any other sport. Nationality counts for little with boxing fans. I'm Irish and my favourite fighter ever is Mexican.
    Boxers will not be liked or supported simply due to them being British. What does matter to boxing fans are a record, opponents, character and promotion.
    Khan has fought no one of note to this point in his career. Prescott was an unheard of until he knocked out Amir. Barrera is a fighter well past his best and a man who should be retired. Other fighters fight old fighters but if your honest and objective you have to conclude the decision to let Barrera fight 4 rounds with that gash was a hometown decision, as a No Contest at that stage of his career would have been disastrous for Khan. However Team Khan trumpet this win as a significant milestone.
    Khan since before the Prescott fight was talking up his chances of beating Pacquaio (!!!!). Every boxer needs to be confident but this was just nonsensical. You can get away with talk like this, e.g. David Haye, if like Haye you are willing to back it up. Once Amir got in position to fight the ten best lightweights in the world (a strong division) he jumps weight to fight the weakest champ on offer in the LW or LWW division and suddenly Team Khan are saying its too early for Marquez/Guzman or Diaz.
    Amir himself lambasted Kotelnik as the worst champ in boxing only to proclaim he said this in jest - watch the video (he wasn't joking). However far and wide he is being described as world class and the man Amir needs to beat to be WORLD CHAMPION.
    So we have a young man, highly talented, who has had a cherry picked route to a title against a weak champ in a weak division, who is fighting on PPV at £15 a go and who constantly blows his own trumpet when given a chance. Can you honestly not see any reason why he isn't liked despite the lazy excuse of racism?

    I think he has all the talents to go very far but he has been managed poorly. Managed well from a money making point of view but poorly from building a fanbase point of view which is short term at best. Perhaps Warren is clever taking this approach with a fighter who has shown to be susceptible to a good smack on the chin............

  • Comment number 43.

    "If the boxing fraternity don't like the look of a fella for whatever reason, there's no way you're ever going to change their opinion," is how Cooper sees it.
    -----------------------------------------------------
    Very accurate statement that is.
    It does not matter whether Khan wins or not.


    ***************

    I disagree with this statement completely actually.
    If Khan goes in and does a number on Kotelnik, which I do doubt he will do, but undoubtedly know he is capable of, then he will go a long way in answering his critics.
    If he then goes on and fights another deserving opponent of the highest level and does the same again, he will have announced himself on the world scene.
    He can then say what he wants about his domestic rivals or potential opponents, although I would prefer he did his talking in the ring, as opposed to the likes of the one quoted in Ben's article.

  • Comment number 44.

    39/

    Who are these fighters Khan is ducking? In his last 4 fights he would have fought in 3 very risky matchups.

    Prescott was a huge risk (90% KO ratio)
    Barrera was a huge risk (Ageing, but only a year removed from taking Pacquaio 12 rounds)
    Kotelnik is a huge risk (Beat Maidana who destroyed Ortiz. Beat Gavin Rees. Robbed of a victory over Witter.)

    Considering the fact that Khan is rumoured to be fighing Hatton or Juan Manuel Marquez provided he wins on Saturday, it would be pretty hard to argue he is ducking anyone.

    As I said above, the only decent domestic lightweight boxers are Thaxton, Murray, and Rees. Thaxton is well past his best and no way near as dangerous as Barrera. This was evidenced when he lost his European belt to a Frenchman nobody had ever heard of. Murray has had 5 fights more than Khan yet hasn't fought anybody worth a mention. In his last fight he struggled to beat Scott Lawton who Khan demolished 2 years ago. And Rees was outclassed by Kotelnik and stopped.

    I fail to see who Khan has avoided. Would you care to mention them?

  • Comment number 45.

    He ducked everyone in the top ten of the lightweight division.
    Perhaps the strongest top ten in boxing.

    And Prescott was an unknown and thought off as a safe option. He doesn't become a huge risk after the fight. If Khan truly belongs at the world level then he has to take big fights.

    BTW Barrera was completely and utterly finished and in his fight with Pacquaio did little more than try to survive for 12 rounds. Can we also stop forgetting the fact this fight should have been stopped after the first round and declared a No Contest due to the horrendous cut - this was a disgraceful decision. Barrera was a blinded old man that night.

  • Comment number 46.

    "Thaxton is well past his best and no way near as dangerous as Barrera. This was evidenced when he lost his European belt to a Frenchman nobody had ever heard of."

    The first part of that statement is just wrong.
    And my reply to the second part is that Khan was destroyed by a Colombian no one ever heard about.

  • Comment number 47.

    Ben the point you are completely missing isnt that hes getting things on a plate for him. Its the fact HES HAPPY WITH IT. Boxing is not a game where you get respect for winning a title. You get respect for taking on the top guys around you. Hatton did that. Yes he lost but he had a go. Khan is not ready for top level performers. He may never be. The main problem I and most have with him is that hes paraded around like a world class fighter when 1. Hes done nothing in the pro ranks 2. He dodges all potential hazards (Prescott was just an oversight on Warrens part) and 3. Has made it plainly clear he is happy to pick the easiest route through to a world title and claims of greatness (which you know full well well get if he beats the weakest belt holder out of the two divisons he could fight in).

    People cheered MAB when they fought because hes a warrior. Like Pacman and Marquez they take on the best and dont shun a challenge. Khan on the other hand seems to actually think he deserves respect. Im sorry but you cant handpick your way to a title and expect anyone with any knowledge whatsoever to laud you for it.

    If he wants to stop the detractors then win or lose against Kotelnik take on Prescott. IF he can exorcise that particular demon hed gain alot of respect from all quarters because he would be taking a risk. But we all know that aint gonig to happen with him and Warren and thats where the problem lies doesnt it. If he wins on saturday well have to put up with ridiculous statements about how hes proved everyone wrong (by beating someone he stated was the worst world champion around) and how hes now above Prescott, doesnt need to go back to that level and is now up there with Marquez and Pacman while simultaneously avoiding them like the plague. If he thinks hes that good then get in the ring with them like Hatton. If not get on with fighting the lower level fighters and keep your mouth closed

  • Comment number 48.

    I forgot to mention the embarrassing celebrations at the end fo the MAB farce. What is he celebrating? "Yes the refs stopped a one eyed fighter just after it cant become a no contest (funny that) because of a horrendous cut due to a clash of heads".

    That particular event told me all i need to know about the attitude of the guy

  • Comment number 49.

    You also claim Barrera to be a "dangerous" opponent, whilst neglecting to mention the fact that he fought all of the top end of his career at featherweight and super featherweight, infact starting at super bantamweight.
    Not only was he clearly well past his best, he entered the fight having picked up an injury (cut to the head funnily enough) just 6 weeks earlier against a journeyan with a 1-7-1 record.
    The fight was pushed into the 5th round in order for Khan to get the W on his record, but Barrera was a shell of a fighter by then anyway.

    He was in no way "dangerous."

  • Comment number 50.

    45/46

    A Columbian nobody had ever heard of, but who was undefeated, and had a 90% ko ratio. Thaxton lost his belt to a guy with a 13-5 record with a 12% ko ratio. And I'm not even going to argue with you about who is better out of Barrera and Thaxton. Todays Barrera could beat any version of Thaxton. Plus, I do think the Barrera fight should have been stopped earlier. But Khan did what he had to do. Saturday is the real test for Khan and will prove whether he has earned his place at the top. The Khan that fought Prescott will lose to Kotelnik. So if he wins, it's fair to say he has improved and earnt his shot.

    And Khan is taking big fights. Prescott was a big fight, Barrera was a big fight, and Kotelnik is a big fight. You need to rememeber that he is still a young man, with only 22 fights to his name. He may not deserve his shot at the title, but boxers rarely do. Hatton had beaten nobody for his chance to fight Tzsyu, and Calzaghe didn't beat anybody to warrant his shot at Eubank. But this is boxing. Khan will give Kotelnik the biggest payday of his career. After all, it was Kotelnik who pulled out of the Ortiz match to fight Khan.

    And I don't think Khan is avoiding the lightweights. He just moved to a quieter division where he could improve himself as a boxer and work himself up. It would be stupid to put him against Valero, or Prescott again at this point in his career. He still needs to improve, and work on his vulnerabilities. The likes of Kotelnik, Diaz, and Mallignaggi are good, stern tests, until he is ready to fight the big punchers again. Besides that, if he wins on Saturday he will most likely be fighting Hatton or JMM. If he does, your theory of him avoiding the best goes out of the window.

  • Comment number 51.

    IF he does. Which he wont. So i stand by my point

  • Comment number 52.

    Its not a race thing with Khan, he is just too arrogant & big headed for my liking.
    The celebration after the MAB fight was the straw that broke the camels back for me. He is not (and in my eyes never will be) a great world class fighter, no matter how many titles he wins.

  • Comment number 53.

    See thats going a little too far. If he wins a load of titles AND beats genuine world class fighters then all the respect in the world to him.

  • Comment number 54.

    good article. I am out of the UK so dont about these racial overtones. Shame if it is. Especially as they arent brave enough to throw bananas and get pointed out.

    I can understand why Khan gets so criticism but its mainly unjustified. Amongst boxing fans there isn't much love for Frank Warren. That will impact on Khan

  • Comment number 55.

    "One way - probably the only way - Khan can convert the doubters is by winning, and winning in style, starting with Kotelnik on Saturday. "

    That's really it. That is the only way. If people think you're a pretender then you have to prove them wrong, and that means beating steadily better opponents until you're in with the best around.

    Khan does get too much hate, though he has made some unfortunate comments. If he can keep his head screwed on and continue to learn, his future is bright.

  • Comment number 56.

    A lot of people are over reacting!...Amir Khan is not arrogant, he is only trying to sell tickets, nobody bangs on about david haye being all hype and no fight. In boxing not everything is dependant on how good you are, you have to be able to sell tickets, you could be as good as Muhammad Ali but if you keep your mouth shut no-one will know who the hell you are. Boxing is very similiar to politics, and also similiar in the fact that it is corrupt, all promoters see in their eyes are dollar signs.
    Amir Khan is still young, he has a whole career ahead of him, and will only get better. He may have his problems but so does everyone else, Hatton is a heavy drinker, which tells you how much he cares about boxing, Calzaghe has tried very hard to avoid any fights that are too difficult by rejecting fight opportunites and offering the same person a fight 5 years later when they are no longer in their prime.Even when Calzaghe was promoting his own fights he went for an easy end to his boxing carrer by fighting a couple of old timers.As his carrer went on it was easy to tell he was more concerned about his undefeated status more than putting himself through a tough challenge. And David Haye as I mentioned before does an unbelievable amount of hyping for someone who hasn't done much in his career apart from running his mouth a lot. And other boxers find it difficult to make the bloody weight.
    I also believe all this crticism of Khan comes from the fact that he is asian, if he was a white boxer I would find it hard to belive that he would have that much criticism. I also belive that if amir was American he would probably be respected a lot more than unlike how much he is respected by the british public. Boxing isn't easy so it would be better to let Amir do his thing, as it seems that most of the people doing the critisising have never boxed professionally themselves. In fact I respect any professional boxer, as it takes balls to get in the ring and be puched up by someone who puches people for a profession. But if you happen to be a hell of a good boxer then I respect you even more, and hopefully Amir will become the best of the best (whcih is how I hope other britsh boxing fans are thinking, and if there not then they have some serious race issues to sort out before they get a boxing lesson themselves).

  • Comment number 57.

    I think people just think Khan's a little cocky when he hasnt really done anything and especially after getting laundered by Prescott.By the way Dirs thanks for changing the mug shot at the top.You now look like a cross between a malnourished hippo and Ernie from Sesame Street!

  • Comment number 58.

    Of course it's just jealousy, many comments here prove that.

    He has gone from being an Olympic hero to a PPV boxer in no time at all, whether you think he deserves the extra money is debatable, but that is modern sport for you.

    How many can honestly say that as a 19 year old, you would have turned down £millions knowing that in such a potentially dangerous sport, your career could be over the next time you set foot in the ring?

    He may not be truly world class yet, but he has proved he has the natural ability to be so, if his chin doesn't crack.

  • Comment number 59.

    Khan will forever be haunted by his 1st round defeat at the hands of Prescott unless he utilizes his improved skills and at the very least takes the Columbian the distance.

    He needs to stop fighting bums and has-beens.

    The real measure of a fighter is if he can overcome his fears, come back better and beat his opponent.
    My verdict is this should be another walk-through for Khan, but he will be tested and tagged.

  • Comment number 60.

    My beef with Khan came squarely after the Barerra fight. I was fairly indifferent towards him before. I was watching his career, and waiting for it to become interesting...
    When he fought the living legend that is Marco Antonio Barerra I was stunned by the lack of respect he displayed. A massive (albeit accidental) clash gave Barerra a handicap no boxer could emerge victorious from. Blood was spraying away from his face. Barerra would have been a far more stern test if this had not happened.
    I wished Kahn had acknowledged this. He owed Barerra that. Instead he banged on about his superior strength and style. This irked me.
    'Beating' Barerra has put him in the position to challenge for a world title. But Amir, remember, in life if you cheat in tests, one day someones going to ask you a question, and you ain't gonna have the answer...

  • Comment number 61.

    "He is not (and in my eyes never will be) a great world class fighter, no matter how many titles he wins."

    That is a daft comment. If he wins loads of titles he will be a world class fighter despite what you think. Amir Khan has been hyped by the promoter and he is just going along with it. At the end of the day results are everything. He just has to learn from his defeat and get on with it. He got knocked down by Prescott - so what - Lewis got tagged by Rahman and McCall and he is without doubt the best boxer the UK has produced in the last 20-30 years. And he was world class. Time will tell but victories will be the ultimate proof.

  • Comment number 62.

    I honestly cannot understand the bad feeling toward Khan.

    There seems to recurring reasons given, namely:

    Arrogance - Well name me a boxer who steps out into a press conference and boldly states "Yeah, I'll probably get beat, I'm not that good". Great boxers are arrogant. It's partially why they become great.

    He's been fast-tracked - Well there's not many sportsmen who turn down a pay-rise, or take the opportunity to move on to bigger and better things when given the chance. Hell, there's not many people. Would you Mr Khan hater? Really?

    He hasn't fought the best - Well maybe not, but the lad's 22, and now he's fighting for a world title. No fighter begins his career against the P4P champions do they now? He wants to fight the best, but needs the experience to beat them. Seems reasonable.

    He talks about fighting P4P champions - Well I don't know how this works with the above one, and of course he does, he wants to improve and fight the best. I'd be more worried if he didn't.

    He's now PPV - Not really his decision, is it?

    Which leaves jealously and racism.

    Personally, I'll roar on each and every British fighter against johnny foreigner (which is a tad jingoistic I accept) and will continue to do so.

    With the possible exception of Audley Harrison, can't stand watching him box.

    Anyway, just my opinion, thanks to anybody still reading.

  • Comment number 63.

    "How many can honestly say that as a 19 year old, you would have turned down millions knowing that in such a potentially dangerous sport, your career could be over the next time you set foot in the ring?"

    Probably wouldnt. But i certainly wouldnt then take the easiest route possible while banging on about how amazing i am. One or the other can work but doing both is hypocritical at best.

    Froch is a good example to compare him with. Not the most popular guy pre Taylor but with him recently signing up to the super 6 hes proven he can back up his big words. Khan consistantly (and that is the problem) undermines his integrity by claiming hes going to do x by y and then facing off against a donkey and struggling. If he backed up his comments then there wouldnt be a problem. PBF is popular (albeit annoying beyong belief) and so was Naz. They both walked the walk. Khan just talks and talks.

    Why do people only mention Prescott when talking about his frailties and poor performances? Gomez and Limmond anyone? Feather fisted punchers rocked him and rocked him good and proper. But after those fights and indeed you dont get 'i was poor ive got a lot to learn', what you repeatedly hear is 'i think i got caught with a good shot when i was gungho but i showed my class by coming back and ill still be world champ inside a year'. Uh what? Getting rocked by a jab in the first round and put on your backside by pillow hitting journeymen proves youre going to a world champion? It honestly feels like the guy is lying to your face when he makes those statements. And i have to pay 15 pound for the privelege.

  • Comment number 64.

    People seem to be massively underrating Kotelnik. He is in his prime, and by far the best opponent Khan will have ever faced. You only have to look at his record to realise this will be no walk in the park. He holds solid victories over Rees and Maidana, and would still be undefeated if he wasn't robbed against Witter, and M'Baye. While he may not be a big puncher, Khan has shown he can be hurt by much smaller fighters, and much smaller punchers than Kotelnik. If Khan doesn't keep a tight guard he will be in trouble. Kotelnik also has a great jab, and a very tight defence. To be honest, he would give Bradley, Campbell, and Hatton a run for their money considering he has never been stopped or hurt.

    Saying that, I'm still hoping that Khan has improved enough under Freddie Roach to produce something special on Saturday night. A TKO victory would be a big, bold statement to the rest of boxing. But I'm under no illusions, and a decision win would be a massive step up for Khan.

    Good luck to both fighters.

  • Comment number 65.

    johnnypigliarmessiah wrote:
    I honestly cannot understand the bad feeling toward Khan.

    There seems to recurring reasons given, namely:

    Arrogance - Well name me a boxer who steps out into a press conference and boldly states "Yeah, I'll probably get beat, I'm not that good". Great boxers are arrogant. It's partially why they become great.

    He's been fast-tracked - Well there's not many sportsmen who turn down a pay-rise, or take the opportunity to move on to bigger and better things when given the chance. Hell, there's not many people. Would you Mr Khan hater? Really?

    He hasn't fought the best - Well maybe not, but the lad's 22, and now he's fighting for a world title. No fighter begins his career against the P4P champions do they now? He wants to fight the best, but needs the experience to beat them. Seems reasonable.

    He talks about fighting P4P champions - Well I don't know how this works with the above one, and of course he does, he wants to improve and fight the best. I'd be more worried if he didn't.

    He's now PPV - Not really his decision, is it?

    Which leaves jealously and racism.

    Personally, I'll roar on each and every British fighter against johnny foreigner (which is a tad jingoistic I accept) and will continue to do so.

    With the possible exception of Audley Harrison, can't stand watching him box.

    Anyway, just my opinion, thanks to anybody still reading.



    --------------------------------------


    completely agree.

  • Comment number 66.

    margaritop4p wrote:
    People seem to be massively underrating Kotelnik. He is in his prime, and by far the best opponent Khan will have ever faced. You only have to look at his record to realise this will be no walk in the park. He holds solid victories over Rees and Maidana, and would still be undefeated if he wasn't robbed against Witter, and M'Baye. While he may not be a big puncher, Khan has shown he can be hurt by much smaller fighters, and much smaller punchers than Kotelnik. If Khan doesn't keep a tight guard he will be in trouble. Kotelnik also has a great jab, and a very tight defence. To be honest, he would give Bradley, Campbell, and Hatton a run for their money considering he has never been stopped or hurt.

    Saying that, I'm still hoping that Khan has improved enough under Freddie Roach to produce something special on Saturday night. A TKO victory would be a big, bold statement to the rest of boxing. But I'm under no illusions, and a decision win would be a massive step up for Khan.

    Good luck to both fighters.

    ----------------------------

    completely agree with you too.

  • Comment number 67.

    "He is not (and in my eyes never will be) a great world class fighter, no matter how many titles he wins." If ever there was an example of irrational dislike of someone, then this is it. That's a bit like an Arsenal fan saying, "Spurs will never be a world-class side, no matter how many titles they win." (although I admit that's never likely to be out to the test...)

  • Comment number 68.

    The problem with Khan though is that he acts like he has already won 10 titles and believes he is a World class superstar already, when professionally his career so far leaves a lot to be desired.

    The way he tried to claim the Barerra win as a legitmate dismantling of a legend, when in reality it was a second round accidental head butt that won that fight, does not exactly help him trying to win over the fans.

    You would never see Ricky Hatton trying to claim a win like that as a legitimate one.

    PS I am a British born Indian, but that is irrelevant.

  • Comment number 69.

    His professional career to date is actually pretty impressive. Granted, he lost a fight, to what looked a good fighter, who could most certainly bang.

    He's taken on a number of well thought of domestic boxers and come through them all.

    Barrera was a strange fight I agree, but he never looked like losing, you can't argue that.

    Ricky Hatton did in fact beat a well past his best (and ring rusty) Tsyzu, and yes, I think he did mention it once or twice.

  • Comment number 70.

    The problem with Khan is his mouth not his questionable talent.
    I have seen the interview where he says Kotelnik is the worst world champion around at any weight, some say he said it as a joke, it didnt look like a joke to me. Its comments like that which make it so hard to respect Amir Khan.
    Kotelnik has worked very long and hard for his rewards and deserves more respect and hopefully saturday Kotelnik teaches Khan a very long and painful 12 round lesson.
    But if Khan wins saturday night those comments will been thrown back at him and rightly so. He will claim to be some sort of modern day great but he said himself he will be beating the worst world champions at any weight, his words not mine.

    And more irritating Amir comments, before he has even won a world title he is talking about mega money fights with WAIT FOR IT..... Mayweather, Cotto, Hatton ect...
    Now Hatton is a maybe because to me he has looked shot to me for a while but COTTO and MAYWEATHER being mentioned in the same sentence as Khan? That cant be right.
    Again we are being force fed rubbish from an over hyped, over paid and overrated young fighter. No wonder people are turning away from boxing for MMA and stuff like that. British fight fans aint completely stupid.

    Anyway good luck to both fighters saturday night and I hope they both leave the right healthy and all that but I hope Amir gets the beating his disrespectful mouth deserves.

  • Comment number 71.

    Ben,

    Your comeback remarks are strangely defensive... don't you realise? You pick on the more obviously silly comments, and completely ignore the measured and sensible reasons people on here are giving for their misgivings concerning Khan's abilities to dissuade people to support him (disrespect to more experienced boxers, claiming those who pay to see him fight are jealous, arrogance - or maybe that is still a form of naivity? etc etc...

    Any comments on the many 'more measured' criticisms that have been put forward - and well worded, if I may say so - on here today? Not a racist view in sight, it appears to me, and not so much about disliking the guy per se, but about what the paying public have a right to expect (as football fans and punters often point out) and have paid to see, and about those expectations that have been clearly defined by Khan himself, as well as his promoters.

    The Sport of Kings? No longer I fear...

  • Comment number 72.

    I have a friend who is of Pakistani origin and when I saw him after the Prescott fight he was loving it that Khan had been sparked out. So I don't think the section of the public that dislikes him is particularly racist, although there will be a couple of morons in there.

    The reason he's not liked that much is that Khan's only had one proper opponent and he got leathered. Overcoming a well past it Barrera on a cut caused by a clash of heads doesn't cut any mustard.

    Perhaps that's his promoters fault though and boxing in general. More than anything the public want to see top fighters going head to head and that's so rare these days. I recall a documentary about Ali v Frasier and they said that as no one else was at their level they fought each other time after time. That's why you've got to give David Haye respect. when he steps into the ring it's against someone who might beat him. When Khan / Warren / Roach have the bottle to have a rematch with Prescott or another top fighter then he might get some public support back, whether he wins or not.

  • Comment number 73.

    Good post Meazza,

    Concerning the anti-Muslim thing, Danny Williams was v well supported by many many people, a Muslim, took defeats and was still supported, even loved in that 'which Danny will turn up?' kind of way.

    I feel v uncomfortable about this subject, I know it exists, and the vids on YouTube are a disgrace, but boxing fans know they are a disgrace. It's about all the things people have said above.

    A public relations disaster for Khan, and as Audley Harrison found out, it's v hard to came back from that - the only way now is to beat everyone he meets, meaning Prescott again, Diaz etc and of couse, starting with a convincing win over Kotelnik... if he does, he'll have support in abundance and rightly so.

  • Comment number 74.

    robzaba - The reason I pick out the the more controversial comments and ignore the more measured ones is because there's no point in challenging the more measured ones. If they're points well made, then I'll leave alone and respect the opinion. And no, there won't be any racist comments on here, because it's our policy not to post them. But you don't have to go far on the internet to find them.

  • Comment number 75.

    Never really believed that Khan would make it real good in the professional ranks. Outclassed in the Olympics by the Cuban, Kendolan, I have had no desire to follow his professional career. Sadly it has been all too predictable - some bouts against carefully chosen opponents (anything but World class) to build credibility in the eyes of the media followed by humiliation when he finally met somebody truly World class (Prescott). To add insult to injury, we, the general public, are requested to pay extra in order to watch the bouts of somebody (Khan) who is never going to make it really big. That is the truth! I believe there is not one British boxer at this time that is truly World class - not even Frosch or Haye. Frosch will be found out during the Super 6 competition and Haye will get his block knocked off if he meets any of the Glitchko brothers - perhaps has a slight chance against Vladimir but none at all against Vitali.

  • Comment number 76.

    That's ok Ben, thanks for getting back, but some kind of acknowledgment of the measured arguments (either way) might help steer the discussion towards the real discussion that is taking place - meaning Khan's merits as a boxer at this level? You're right about (the policy of) not posting those other comments, and that's all well and good.

    Ben, is it ofay to ask if you have your own prediction on the outcome of this bout? Do you feel Khan will outbox Kotelnik to a points win, or even a stoppage, or whether you feel Kotelnik might come on strong at some stage and win it?

    Cheers, Rob

  • Comment number 77.

    Good article as always Dirsy. All this hate for Khan is completely irrational, and it seems that it is carrying over to De Gale as well.
    It's not fair on them because let's face it, it's not up to them. The whole fast-track nature of boxing nowadays comes from promoters, not fighters.

    I think the UK fans are just wary of hype and promoters building up fighters to be something that they're not, because then they know they will end up being disappointed. People have been wary of Khan since they saw how vulnerable his chin is, and i don't think they want to fully get behind him until they know he is the real deal. It's fickle but as you said it's in the nature of your average boxing fan.

    On a side note, i was hoping we would see an article from you regarding the new Super Six super middleweight tournament that was announced the other day. I think its exciting and will really add something to fights as the guys know the route they are taking, and we don't have to rely on promoters getting off their backsides and making the matches the fans want. Would love to see it implemented with 6 of the top fighters from every weight, though i realise that it's unlikely the biggest name fighters (Mayweather, Pacquiao, Klitschkos) will be interested, too much danger and no great rewards.

  • Comment number 78.

    75 -

    So, because Khan lost to an all time great amateur boxer in Kindelan, you had no desire to follow his career? If you don't want to follow or even like a chosen boxer then that's fine, but at least have a decent reason for it. Khan was only 17 when he reached the Olympic boxing final. Losing is no disgrace. In fact, Khan beat Kindelan several months later before he turned pro.

    And do you really expect Khan to fight world class opponents from the get go? Most pro boxers don't fight anybody worth a mention until they are much later into there careers than Khan. He has had a respectable, if not spectacular, rise through the ranks. He has beaten some decent domestic fighters in Lawton, Limond, Gomez, and Fagan. Even though some of the aforementioned fight in a lower weight class to Khan, they were still very capable, and a couple of them proved it by giving Khan all he could handle and knocking him down. While Fagan is by no means a world beater, he had only been stopped once early on in his career, and had taken both Paul Spadafora and Chavez Jr the distance. Khan destroyed him in two rounds. On top of this he also did the job he had to do against Barrera. Unfortunately we will never know how that fight would have panned out if it wasn't for the cut. I believe that Khan would have been too much for him, cut or not.

    I don't believe that Khan has earned his title shot, but he isn't the first and he won't be the last to fit this description. Even British fighters like Calzaghe, Hatton, and Froch had easy rides before their title challenges. Plus who else is there for Kotelnik to fight? I don't see Campbell, Hatton, Bradley, and Mallignaggi clamoring for the chance to travel to Germany and fight for a pittence. In fact, before the fight with Khan was arranged, Kotelnik was on his way to America to fight Victor Ortiz...a boxer who didn't earn his shot either. It was Kotelniks decision to fight Khan, and he will make a career high payday from doing so. I'm pretty sure Kotelnik isn't complaining.

  • Comment number 79.

    I think Khan will get stopped anytime between the 3-5 rounds frankly Kotelnik knows all about Khans glass jaw and he is a bigger man and better puncher than some of the featherfisted fighters who have put Khan on his backside so look for him to end it the first time Khan starts wobbling.
    I cant believe people actually defend the lad he got knocked into next week by the only decent fighter he has fought unless you count the much smaller and past his best Barrerra and even then he was gifted a disgraceful technical decision over a man fighting with one eye. He also mananaged to beat up that little and very limited school teacher and lo and behold suddenly he is fighting for a world title. Personally i dont think Khan is much about good domestic level and has never done anything to prove otherwise. I shall be betting heavily on Khan not hearing the final bell on saturday night as i think he will be outclassed.

  • Comment number 80.

    I've always felt racism plays a part in the dislike of Khan. If you read opinions on him on unregulated message boards, some of the hate-filled racist comments about him are shocking. The sad truth is that young men of Pakistani origins living in the north of England have gained a negative reputation, which maybe why Khan has such vocal detractors.
    Also his Muslim faith may also not sit well with many people.
    Khan is always getting criticised for not fighting 'world class' opponents. These people ignore the fact that the likes of Calzaghe and Hatton hadn't fought anybody of note at the same point in their respective careers. Yet Khan is expected to be fighting the best while still a baby.
    Add the general British disease of wanting failure for our promising sportsmen, it's clear to me why Khan has become an almost hate-figure despite doing nothing to warrant it.
    If he was American he'd be idolised. What a pity for him that he has the misfortune of being a Brit!

  • Comment number 81.

    I actually like Khan's ambition, his fights are exciting, and he nearly won an Olympic gold medal at 17/18 years old kickstarting British interest in Olympic boxing again.
    I`m not one for this great British loser thing - smile like Tim Henman while always coming second, but doing it in the right spirit.
    This isn`t the Victorian era and I don`t expect sport to be teaching moral fibre and values. I expect it to be entertaining, and in the case of boxing to see one guy out on his back.
    To be a little bit Goldfinger "No Mr Sportman I don`t expect you to be a role model for kids, I expect you to win".

    Having said all of that, on the negative side..
    he hasn`t beaten his obvious domestic opponents yet (Thaxton, Murray and Mitchell), and at JWW would have to be ranked behind Witter & Hatton at least
    He hasn`t actually beaten a (non-shot) world class opponent fighting at their natural weight,
    He lacks charisma and humour - his interviews are nowehere near as exciting as his fights,
    he has the spectre of Hamed sitting on his shoulder (I think the disappointment in Hamed (and to an extent Audley) is transferring onto Khan),
    he is talking as though he is in the p4p mix when he is nowhere near,
    He doesn`t seem to be very keen on reversing the loss to Prescott.
    Essentially I think he`d win over a lot more people if he beat someone very good, before he goes round talking about how very very good he is.
    Anyway I`ll be cheering him on as I see him as entertainment in the ring, not as any kind of boxing messiah or cross-cultural peacemaker.
    With a chin like that we`d better enjoy him while we can.

  • Comment number 82.

    If he had been in America he would have been found out much quicker and probably have packed up the game by now after a couple of brutal knockout defeats. The American domestic fighters he would have fought would have been much better than the likes of Limond and Gomez and both of them nearly beat the golden child of british boxing. Facts are he has done nothing to justify his standing in the boxing world i mean can you really think of any really top notch fighters that would struggle to beat the men that have put Khan on his backside so many times in his very short career.
    He has even been found wanting with the limited fighters he has fought so far and i believe Saturday night he will be exposed for what he is, when he takes a step up in class.
    I have nothing against his race or religion i just dont think he is even close to the hype Frank Warren has created around him due to a current lack of real money makers in his stable.

  • Comment number 83.

    If he had been in America he would have been found out much quicker and probably have packed up the game by now after a couple of brutal knockout defeats.
    .............................................................
    Alternatively he would have ended up with Roach much sooner, and would be a technically better fighter.

    The US isn`t averse to overhyping a young star with a good story - look at Goldenboy promotions and Victor Ortiz.

    Forget the hype and goldenchild stuff and just look at the skills, and who else is going to be around at world level for the next 7-8 years.

    Khan can be up there. His chin will keep him off p4p lists but he`ll always be a dangerous fight because if he can last the distance, his speed will see him decision people.

  • Comment number 84.

    Nice one Ben, about time some stuck up for Khan, he is a nice person does alot for his local community and is a very skillful boxer.

    I haven't read any of the comments written about this article as it never ceases to maze me some of the crap that people come out with, where has the love gone?

  • Comment number 85.

    Khan will knock him out in 4, he is just too fast and too powerful.

  • Comment number 86.

    Khan will knock him out in 4, he is just too fast and too powerful.
    ...............................................................
    I agree Khan could do with some love, but I think that is a bit too much love.
    Kotelnik has gone the distance with Witter, and Maidana (who blew out Victor Ortiz).
    He`s solid even if not box office.
    Any kind of stoppage win would be a great result for Khan.

  • Comment number 87.

  • Comment number 88.

    Very nice article, it is time for the old saying 'actions speak louder than words'. Let's see if Khan can become a world champ.

  • Comment number 89.

    you keep telling someone they are great and they'll start to believe it. Thats whats happened with Khan. Skys immaginative and cringe worthy titles for his fights like ''coming of age'' Amir Khan fights an over the hill Barrerra and wins on the biggest miscarriage of justice ever (not saying he wouldn't have won anyway his in and out quickly style actually looked pretty good).Then he takes the easiest world title fight available to him (again not saying he shouldn't. it's a good decision for his 1st world title shot) And we're treated to the wretched slogan ''the man who would be king'' Thought that was Prince Charles myself. His arrogant manner and the quote above show why hes not liked. Every fight its the same. This fight is to catapult him to the biggest fights out there? doubt it, isnt he signed on for a few more fights with sky yet???? they won't want to risk a repeat of the Prescott match. If he wins tomorrow (I dont think its a foregone conclusion) he claims it puts him in the frame with Manny PBF Marquez et al. the only result being the end of this god awful publicity with an early K.O for the lad from Bolton. I know national pride exists everywhere. (I'm Irish) but it seems that Khan was heralded as a future hall of famer without throwing a punch in a professional boxing match by the British press) same thing with footballers. They are heralded as sens8ions before there out of nappys. (anyone remember a 15 year old prodigy named Cherno Samba?) heralded as the next Pele. Last seen sporting a bemused expression on his face wondering where it all went wrong on the FC Haka bench in Finland. Same things gonna happen to Khan. Your not that good Amir. If you were half as good as the press would have us belive you'd have unified the light welterweight division by nw. Not his faul the press over sell him.... but he doesnt help himself by being an arrogant git. Could prove me wrong. and if he does i'll be the first to admit it.

  • Comment number 90.


    I can't believe how much the "racial" card is being pulled, among these posts.
    There is no point in using Youtube to adjudge the level of racism directed at him, because it attracts all the scum of the earth, and you'll find racist comments on sports stars videos, musicians videos and generally littered throughout the site.
    I am a member of a number of boxing sites, and I have rarely, if ever, witnessed any racism directed at him from genuine boxing fans.
    If there are any racial undertones, they are not coming from genuine boxing fans, they are coming from racists, plain and simple, and should be regarded as such.


    56. I completely disagree with most of your post.
    "What has Haye ever done aside from shoot his mouth?"
    Well, what he did do was become the unified Cruiserweight World Champion, and he did it by beating the champion in his own backyard (with a brutal knockout at that), and by demolishing his big domestic rival and fellow world titlist Enzo Maccarinelli, inside 2 rounds.
    Add to this the fact that he has delivered 8 knockdowns in his 2 fights over 6 rounds at heavyweight, and I don't think his career to date can really be questioned.
    He talks the talk far more than Khan, yes, but most importantly, HE WALKS THE WALK.
    I won't bother getting into the whole JC career argument, but let's just say, that a number of fighters were offered fights with him earlier in his career (Hopkins for example) and they refused to fight HIM.
    Also he was just not in the right division at the right time.
    It took him until Lacy and Kessler to really announce himself in the division after a few years of his career stagnating to be perfectly honest.


    Anyway, I will reiterate again.
    If Khan manages to beat Kotelnik in style (and does not rely on a dodgy doctors stoppage, or a hugely premature stoppage from an over-eager ref, or some lopsided scorecards which do not reflect the real fight) then he will find it easy to convert the genuine boxing fans.
    Kotelnik IS a genuine world class fighter, and a tricky operator, and yes, he is the weakest world champion within 4 divisions, but that certainly does not make him an easy opponent.
    Khan should find this his toughest opponent to date, and the fact that he is not over the hill or mediocre increases my respect for him already.

    He should keep his ill-advised comments to himself, concentrate on delivering something worthy of all the hype he is receiving, and fight-fans may actually start buying into it.



  • Comment number 91.

    90 -

    To be honest, Haye hasn't done that much to be in the position he is today. He has good wins over Mormeck, Maccarinelli, and Barrett, but that's is about it. Enzo Maccarinelli was never that good, and doesn't have a decent win to his name. If Khan has been protected, Maccarinelli was locked in a safe and wrapped in a duvet. That leaves Mormeck who was a decent world level challenger, and Barrett who was a gatekeeper. Also Haye was knocked down in both of these fights. And let's be honest, he didn't exactly go out of his way to fight Adamek and Cunningham did he? While he is undoubtedly a world class fighter, does Haye deserve his shot at a Heavyweight title skipping the likes of Thompson, Povetkin, Chambers, and Arreola? Probably not, but that is boxing for you. It rarely makes sense. So while Khan may not deserve his title shot, he will be fighting Kotelnik on Saturday night and that is that. Instead of the boxing community aiming all this hate and vile at the young man, we should just hope we get to see a great fight, and let the best man win. If Khan isn't world class, he won't win, simple as.

    Regarding Joe Calzaghe he fought Eubank in 1997, and didn't fight Kessler until 2007. That's a 10 year gap between fighting legitimate world class opponents. I class Calzaghe as a British legend for the last couple years of his career, but he was also one of the biggest disappointments. He could have done so much more with his career. At least Khan is taking a few risks now. Because if Khan doesn't win tommorow, his career at world level is effectively over.

  • Comment number 92.

    "I've been lucky enough to probably make more in 10 fights than they have in their whole lives."


    No need to write an whole article, all you had to do was put that and i was finished reading.

  • Comment number 93.

    The doubters and haters have good reason. In reality Khan has not fought anyone of real top quality bar barrera and even barrera was clearly not at his best.
    ==============

    blah blah blah blah. We do this with every British fighter, "They havent fouht anyoen, they need to fight so and so", then when they fight and win it's "Oh but they were past their best by then" or "They were overhyped and never that good in teh first place".

    Joe Calzaghe suffered more than most from that attitudfe, every one of his last 10 fights was aparently going to be the one to "find him out", until he won, after which rpeviously thought of as world class fightrers like Lacey are considered nobodies.

    Khan has fought some decent fighters for a man who still has less than 20 bouts under his belt, he got caught out once, which can happen to almost any fighter but other than that has done well. yes he is recieving a shot probably 5 or 6 decent fights too soon but so what? Judge him based on his performances, not on whether you thing he is arrogant or not.

  • Comment number 94.

    Yes, but Mormeck was considered THE best fighter in the division.
    We all know Macca has been protected as a fighter also, but even in Braithwaite, he has fought a better calibre of opponent than Khan has to date. Adamek was fighting at Light Heavy while Haye was in the division, so was never in consideration, while Cunningham had already dropped a loss to Wlodarczyk at the same time Haye was taking care of Fragmonei (who also went on to become a world champion against that very same man) and also went on to lose to Adamek. Cunningham was almost as protected as Macca at the time, and had no real wins of note, so he never missed a trick in moving to heavyweight and skipping the chance to get all 4 belts, particularly with his well documented weight issues in the division. He has not been active enough for my liking since moving up either, but he already managed to secure fights with the best 2 fighters in the division.
    Can you honestly see Khan signing up to fight Pacquiao or Juan Manuel Marquez tomorrow? I seriously doubt it.

    Prescott was not considered to be a risk, because his record was padded with jounreymen and never-were men, and you can see examples of these "club-style" fighters the world over, who will go around knocking guys out who shouldn't even be fighting.
    It's no surprise that he was ranked well outside the top 100 in the division, and they were attempting to play on the fact that his record on paper looked good, if you didn't analyse his opponents.
    It was obviously a ploy which backfired badly however.
    Let's take a look at his last 10 opponents;


    Barrera - Spent, carrying an injury, unbelievable actions from ringside doctor in pushing the fight through to the 5th before instantly stopping it.
    Fagan - How this man managed to rustle up 20-odd wins, I'll never know. He is one of the few boxers who have actually made me laugh with their technique.
    Prescott - Paper record. Padded. KTFO.
    Gomez - Shot. Featherweight. Given nightmares. KD.
    Kristjansen - Padded record. Dealt with well however.
    St Clair - Past it. Tough fight, but not completely shot as Barrera. Fair do's at that stage I guess.
    Earl - Shot after war with Katsidis.
    Lawton - Good level of fight at that stage. Dealt with well.
    Limond - Good level of fight at that stage. Given nightmares and KD against a guy who has a 10% KO ratio.
    Bull - Unworthy.

    I know most fighters build up a record and get some ring experience before they go for the big guys, but Khan has been sold as a second coming of Ali, whilst fighting opponents near the same age as Ali ffs!

    I AM looking forward to this fight and it will be make or break as far as Khan is concerned.
    I am not a huge fan of Kotelnik's, so I can't honestly say I hope Khan wins or loses, and I will watch the fight as a neutral.
    However, I will not be taken in by the Khan hype until he actually delivers something that backs it up.

  • Comment number 95.

    Hi.

    I'm going to call the result of this fight. Kotelnik will win this fight by stoppage.

    Kotelnik isn't as stationary a target like a blind Barrera was, he has some good subtle movement and, importantly, he is very hard to hit clean. We saw a genuine 140 lb hitters in Maidana and Witter struggle to have an impact on Kotelnik, so there's no chance a light hitting lightweight like Khan can make an impression. Meanwhile, Kotelnik, while not the busiest, will be throwing stiff shots and won't be discouraged by Khan's speed. It's all very well Khan ripping off fast combinations, but all he's going to do is tire himself out, and once he realises he can't make an impression he'll revert to Khan Panic Mode 101, and things will start to unravel for him.

    The fact that Khan has thus far shown absolutely no evidence whatsover he can withstand shots even from the most modest hitters around, and at domestic level (limond, Gomez)(!) does not bode well for when he's in with someone who WILL land and WON'T just lay down...

    Kotelnik is a genuine top ten light welter with legit wins at 140 including an arguable win over Junior Witter. He also beat Marcos Maidana who has since really bolstered his name with a win over the feared Ortiz.

    While Khan has beaten approximately no-one a weight division down and got dismantled in 30 seconds by a guy who is probably top 40 at best.

  • Comment number 96.

    Rob - No worries mate. I reckon Khan should be OK in this one, and the fact Freddie Roach is now in his corner makes me that bit more confident. Kotelnik looks a pretty solid to me, but that's about all. Khan by unanimous decision... if he loses, he might as well go and find something else to do.

  • Comment number 97.

    #94 - good analysis on the opponents

    I never disliked Khan, but I did not rate him for the simple reason his defensive flaws were too obvious. Months in the Roach gym may have changed that and certainly the MAB fight showed definite improvement but the fight never showed whether the improvements would unravel under pressure.

    I also disagree with everyone who states Khan has a glass jaw. He might have but up til now he has made it easy for opponents - chin in air, hands down, accident waiting to happen. Even relatively light hitting opponents are going to have an effect if you give them an easy target and then double their power by walking into the punch. Now he is never going to be an iron jawed fighter for example like Eubank, but tighten up his defence so that he does not get hit cleanly and I think the glass jaw argument may be flawed.

    Kotelnik may not be the greatest champion out there but he is not a muppet. I expect Khan to win but I do not expect it to be easy

  • Comment number 98.

    Khan has shown no capability of besting guys who were capable of fighting back and wouldn't just lie down for him.

    He was decked and almost stopped by a domestic class superfeatherweight in Willie Limond. Luckily Limond was at a sufficiently low level for Khan to turn it around and pull out the win.

    He was decked by Michael Gomez, who was shot, undersized and never proved himself beyond domestic class!

    He was violently dismantled by Breidis Prescott, a guy who, in his fights immediately before and immediately after Khan, showed that he really wasn't all that much of a fearsome puncher when his opponents went the distance and weren't troubled by his so-called 'power' at all! And one of those opponents, Humberto Toledo, was KO'd in 1 round by light-hitting Lamont Petersen!

    He was decked by Rachid Drilzane, a total nonentity on any scene having something like 1 KO in 14 wins.

    Now Khan faces a genuine top 10 guy with legit world-class experience - at the LEVEL ABOVE his comfort zone of lightweight! (Not that it was ever comfortable for him anyway)

    This makes it puzzling to me how anyone can pick Khan to win this. People can exclaim 'Oooh, look how fast and flashy he is!' but at the end of the day, speed, devoid of defence, chin, and ring smarts, does not a fighter make.


  • Comment number 99.

    Its about time boxing changed its approach - both in terms of promoters thinking that the public want to see unbeaten fighters and that is the only way to generate massive revenues. Take a look at the UFC and MMA, unbeaten records count for nothing on the whole, the reason being, the best fighters fight the best fighters! Every fight is exciting as the result could literally go either way. Also the approach to Pay-per-view needs to change, there should be more "events" with several big name fights on the card rather than having to fork out £15 to watch one headliner that may be over in less than a round. The undercards seem to be there as a method of filling air time rather than promoting the event and giving a good reason to PPV.

    Why must the UK build up sports stars just to knock them down?

    Good luck Khan tomorrow, I hope you do it. Having a knockout against you on your record doesnt mean that you are a bad fighter, it means that your fights from now on will be exciting, what will make you a good fighter is your speed, skill and ability to avoid the big punches in the future and using those heavy fists of your own to deliver knockouts of your own!

  • Comment number 100.

    Good summary about Khan there Ben.
    Anyway for all the critism i might give to him. it's certinaly a good step up, and to be honest he's been making them since his Prescott wakeup call.
    Like many i'm expecting khan to take it over 12 rounds, due mainly to his speed and workrate. I expect he might start cagey in the first few rounds and i expect a few dicey moments for him to.
    I just hope if he does win, he doesnt sit on the mandatories for a number of years. With Hatton's decline, the LWW division is ripe for somone to unify all the belts. I doubt a Pacman or Hatton matchup will ever happen (or see either of them be around long enough) so Bradley could be the one to make him the man at 140.

 

Page 1 of 2

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.