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Khan and Roach on the right road

Ben Dirs | 11:03 UK time, Sunday, 15 March 2009

The boos following Amir Khan's defeat of Marco Antonio Barrera suggest the Bolton lightweight still has some way to go to placate his more trenchant critics - and that the British disease of wanting to see their own fail has yet to be eradicated.

Put simply, Khan did what he had to do at the MEN Arena in Manchester, although the manner of victory wasn't entirely satisfactory. However, promoter Frank Warren, having seen three of his fighters suffer potentially career-ending defeats on the undercard, would surely disagree.

The cut sustained by Mexican legend Barrera in the opening round certainly spoilt the fight as a spectacle, but Khan still did enough to show that his partnership with venerable American trainer Freddie Roach, only two fights old, is having the desired effect.

Khan was too fast, too strong and ultimately too young for his 35-year-old opponent, although it shouldn't be forgotten that Barrera was effectively one-eyed for most of the fight. Crucially, Roach is also succeeding in moulding a more patient, cerebral fighter.

amirkhansalutesvictory.jpg

"I thought I had everything, but as soon as I got together with Freddie I realised I was making a lot of mistakes and that I had to change," said Khan after his fifth-round technical decision over the bloodied Barrera, a former three-weight world champion.

"When I saw the blood, I stayed focused and stepped back - the old Amir Khan would have tried to knock him out.

"Training with Freddie was like doing a jigsaw, everything just fell into place. Freddie is the man who can take me all the way. He makes champions and hopefully I'm his next one."

Roach declared the victory Khan's "first step on the road to greatness". And as the trainer of pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao and former trainer of Mike Tyson, Bernard Hopkins and James Toney among others, the softly-spoken Roach, who learnt under the legendary Eddie Futch, presumably knows what he's talking about.

Questions will persist about the fragility of Khan's chin, but only because he used his physical advantages to such great effect that Barrera was unable to get near him. Which is, of course, half the battle.

Warren, who had suggested beforehand that the fight was effectively an eliminator for the WBO lightweight crown, sounded more cautious at the post-fight press conference, revealing that Khan could instead have one or two more tune-ups.

The good news is that Juan Manuel Marquez, who beat Barrera in 2007 and who some believe to be the best fighter in the world, has vacated his WBA and WBO belts and is rumoured to be stepping up to light-welterweight to fight the 'retired' Floyd Mayweather.

As for Barrera, who turned pro at the age of 15 and who has engaged in 72 fights (almost unheard of in the modern era), surely it's time to hang 'em up and get fat, just as Naseem Hamed decided to do after losing to Barrera in 2001. Barrera is neither "Baby-Faced", nor an "Assassin", any longer.

While Khan put his impressive display down to old-fashioned discipline and attention to detail, Enzo Maccarinelli admitted after his knockout defeat to Nigeria's Ola Afolabi that he hadn't sparred a single round in the lead-up to the fight.

"I find that amazing," said Warren, who also expressed surprise that Enzo Calzaghe, Maccarinelli's trainer, had been spending time in court with his son Joe, who is involved in a legal battle with Warren, instead of in the gym with his charge.

Afolabi, who was born in London and who now lives in the United States, fought the perfect fight against Maccarinelli, sensing the Welshman was struggling early on and letting him blow himself out before delivering the coup de grace in round nine. It is difficult to see where Maccarinelli goes from here.

So too Nicky Cook, who looked to be in control of his bout with Puerto Rican Roman Martinez before walking onto a scything left hook in round four and bidding farewell to his WBO super-featherweight title.

Add Newbridge's Commonwealth light-middlweight champion Bradley Pryce, knocked bandy by Manchester's Matthew Hall, to the list, and it was shaping up to be a night to forget for Warren, whose list of headline fighters is dwindling.

Thankfully for Warren, the new and improved Khan was on hand to ease the pain. The first step on the road to greatness? Let's just say it was a step in the right direction.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    I have to ask, and i am sure people will correct me, but if the cut that stops the fight is caused by a clash of heads does it go down as a win to Khan?? For some reason i remember Lewis beating Vladimir Klitschko and the Klitschko's camp claiming it was from the clash of heads and therefore not valid. If anyone could enlighten me that would be great.

    As for the fight. Khan looked fast, his punches seemed a lot more powerful then in his last few fights. He also seemed able to take punches, something i wasn't sure he could.

    Nice blog Ben, can't wait for your thoughts on the Cricket in the summer.

  • Comment number 2.

    Regardless of the cut, the manner in which Khan boxed right from the word go suggested that he would have most certainly have beaten Barrera if the fight had gone the distance. The only way Barrera may have stopped him would have been to land a KO punch. But Khan didnt look like he would allow Barrera close enough. Kept him at bay with the long jab and high speed.
    The speed is just phenomenal. Combine that with Roach's expert training and in a few years time (not now. I am not sure if Khan should get carried away at this moment) he can become a world beater.

  • Comment number 3.

    Khan will struggle to win people over now because before his previous fights he was too ahead of himself; too cocksure in his own ability when he hadn't mixed it with anyone of note. He might be difficult to hit under Roach's regime but unlike Floyd Mayweather, who is a nightmare to tag down, he can't take a punch if be makes a mistake. Put him in with a world class fighter who can punch on the button and it's lights out for Khan... this is why he will never be a genuinely world class fighter.

  • Comment number 4.

    Here here Ben, good post and totally agree with your last sentiments. Yes it was a decent win for Khan but lets not get ahead of ourselves. It was against an aged fighter who was fighting at a higher weight thatn he has for practically his entire career and he picked up a nasty cut in the first round. Yes Khan did what he did well, hit him with some good combinations and didn't get caught by too many shots but he was practically fighting against someone who was blind in one eye. Its not so hard to look good when you're opponent can't see the shots coming clearly. All in all I'd say a good workout for him and would have boosted his confidence but if I was him I wouldn't start calling out any of the champions of the division just yet.

    As for Maccarinelli what are the excuses being rolled out for the lack of sparring Ben? Is Warren trying to win points on Enzo Calzaghe by blaming it on him or was this Maccarinelli's fault? Its hard to believe after the way Haye took him apart and the excuses that came out then that he went in poorly prepared to this fight as well. It seems the fact is he's just not good enough to fight at the top-level. His career was managed well enough that he got a world title without facing anyone particularly dangerous, defended it a few times until he came up against one of the top boxers from the division. And now maybe he realises he's been found out and the confidence has been drained from him. I hope we don't see him box on too much longer though, he can't go on and win a title again and he's likely to do serious damage to himself if he tries, particularly in a heavy-punching division like cruiserweight.

  • Comment number 5.

    Icecold - Hello mate, just on the train down so thought I'd log on and have a chat. The rule is that if four rounds of a fight are completed, then it has to go to the judges' scorecards, any less and it's a no contest. There were some consipracy theorists at ringside suggesting that the ref deliberately stretched things out to avoid a no ncntest, but that is, I must stress, idle conjecture. Although, it is interesting to note that Barrera's cut wasn't really any worse in round five than in round one.

    I agree, I thought Khan looked controlled and sharp. It was a solid performance.

  • Comment number 6.

    If he been stopped inside 4 rounds its a non- contest, makes you think.

    Regards the boo's, dont underestimate just how beloved MAB is by british boxing fans, aswell as any supposed dislike for Khan.

  • Comment number 7.

    sublimesuperspur - Enzo Calzaghe has basically come out and said "Macca never spars anyway", but then it seems strange that Macca would bother pointing out specifically that he hadn't sparred for this one. Who knows, because neither of them turned up for the post-fight presser. I thought Alofabi fought a very clever fight. He rocked Macca early, so knew full well he had the power to take him out, before rope-a-doping Macca and letting him blow himself out. Some might think I'm giving Alofabi too much credit, but I'm convinced it was deliberate because depite doing very little in the middle rounds he wasn't blowing hard either.

  • Comment number 8.

    James-Toneys-gut - Agreed, Barrera's reception was rapturous. But would Barrera's fans have returned the favour had the fight been in Mexico City? Don't think so. And there certainly wouldn't have been anyone booing him. Even more extraordinary, when James DeGale, who was ringside, was announced, he didn't just receive the odd boo, pretty much the whole crowd booed him. You seriously have to question the mentality of some boxing fans. He won an Olympic gold medal a few months ago!

  • Comment number 9.

    I agree Ben, Ive defended Degale before on these boards, I think unfortunatley future olympians are going to suffer from some very suspicious boxing fans in the UK, who had their fingers burnt by Harrison and to some extent Khan himself. Not that that is an excuse to boo a fellow countryman on his debut.

  • Comment number 10.

    There was a guy (called andy something) commenting on another 606 thread that he went to the MEM last night. He claimed that he heard racist things being said about Amir Khan and that some of these people had come specially to see Khan lose. When Khan won, these same fans apparently booed him.

  • Comment number 11.

    Ben - picking up on the gold medal thing, it did make me laugh when they announced MAB's long list of achievements - and what a list - then they start Khan's with he recently won the Olympic...silver. Not knocking his achievement, it just sounded a little, well, insignificant after MABs long list of World titles.

    Also, was the Maccarinelli fight a TKO? If he got knocked out why is it a TKO and not a KO?

  • Comment number 12.

    And he said these people were not Mexicans but locals from the Manchester area judging from their accents

  • Comment number 13.

    Ellis, its because he made the count, and the referee decided he couldnt continue

  • Comment number 14.

    Ah ha. Thanks James_Toneys_gut.

  • Comment number 15.

    Its a shame the main event went the way it did, it was a really good night of boxing up to that point, especially with Macklin on ITV4 aswell.

  • Comment number 16.

    I can't help thinking this idea that Khan has a chandelier chin is a little over cooked. Yeah he got knocked out by Prescott, but it was helluva punch that for my 2cents would have knocked out most fighters in the division.

    For me, much more of a concern was that he allowed himself to get tagged in that way so early in the fight. It seems to me that fault has been addressed. I think it is far too early to be able to totally assume that any half decent shot from any fighter and the lights will be out.

    I wonder if what will end up transpiring is that getting knocked out by Prescott will end up being the best thing that ever happens to Khan?

    One thing I will say, is that as a fraternity us fight fans are worse than any other types of fanboys in the way we seem to have unshakable pre-conceived ideas. I sometimes despair when reading the comments on these blogs, and on the 606 boards. Once people like/dislike a fighter they seem blind to reason.

    The facts about Khan is that he is young, quick and skillfull and *may* have a suspect chin. Until he has fought a bit more at the otp level none of us can know really....

    I look forward to watching his career with interest!

  • Comment number 17.

    The cut really did ruin it. Khan did look a better fighter, his guard was virtually glued to his head and he seemed a lot more composed. At the end MAB said he couldn't even feel Khan's punches (of course, he would), I didn't really see him that affected by anything Khan hit him with though. I wonder how it would have played out without the cut. I'm guessing a Khan win on points for his sheer industry, then people putting it down to Barrera's age rather than the cut.

  • Comment number 18.

    It's not being a trenchant critic to not let the evidence of one fight change your mind. It's intelligence. After 4 or 5 mostly unimpressive fights where a cast of palookas and never will bes managed to embarrass Khan one win should not change anyone's opinion. This is probably a case trenchant fandom seeing what they want to and extrapolating one fight.

    Indeed it is not the critics but Khan who has condemned himself saying stuff along the lines of I never realised this was a business where you had to work. Khan knocked himself down and whilst we mostly hope he'll now be professional, train and learn it is surely the individuals who want to leap up and damn the critics who are being reactionary and weak here?

    Cautious optimism that he clearly has learned something to mitigate his world class weaknesses as Gomez called them is surely as far as anyone rational and reasoned would go? Boxing/sport is full of fighters/people rededicating to prove people wrong and then reverting to type.

    This Blairite polarisation where you are either dyed in the wool fan or a critic is childish and without meaning any insult churlish. Almost everything is shades of grey and nuance.

  • Comment number 19.

    Its easy to beat old men past there time, come on am I the only guy who thinks this was a discrace to boxing!
    Frank Warren promotions at its very worst MAB's is a spent force! yes great in his day but every dog has its day and it was a very long time ago indeed.

  • Comment number 20.

    ---" 8. At 12:57pm on 15 Mar 2009, Ben Dirs - BBC Sport wrote:
    Even more extraordinary, when James DeGale, who was ringside, was announced, he didn't just receive the odd boo, pretty much the whole crowd booed him. You seriously have to question the mentality of some boxing fans. He won an Olympic gold medal a few months ago! "---

    James DeGale's booing does seem a bit unnecessary but hopefully it will act as a wake up call to the lad who has been talking himself up as a World Champion professional; even though in his first fight against a very weak opponent he boxed like he was still wearing his amateur vest (pitter-patter punches and then move out of the way). 'Funtime' Frankie and The Other One Who Got The Least Billing But Has Come On The Most Out Of The Three looked significantly better professional boxers on the night.


    ---" There were some consipracy theorists at ringside suggesting that the ref deliberately stretched things out to avoid a no ncntest, but that is, I must stress, idle conjecture. Although, it is interesting to note that Barrera's cut wasn't really any worse in round five than in round one "---

    Yes. That was interesting. Idle conjecture is interesting.

    Amir did what he had to do. He's built on his strengths: His handspeed, the throwing of punches in bunches and his power. BUT what we don't know from that fight is whether he has improved on his negatives: The chin (or lack thereof) and the defence when under pressure. And as soon as Barrerra's forehead started to peel like an orange, we were never going to find out.

  • Comment number 21.

    10 and 12
    That was me that posted that on the 606 forum. Yes i did witness that unfortunently. Granted it wasnt all, but there was a element that wasnt there to boo Khan because they were massive Barrera or Mexican (if they were mexican why didnt the boo Nicky Cook because he was heavily cheered by the crowd when fighting a mexican) Whether people like to hear it or not there was a racial undertone last night and those people have to ask themselves the real reason why they did what they did last night. And it wasnt just the boos it was what was being shouted during the fight. Interesting to hear Degale get booed during the ringside introductions - clearly he has not won over the fans - do they people think Audley part 2? We were saying what has he done to deserve those booes?

    But not to take away from a great evening of boxing, i really enjoyed it the whole card seemed to be about Knockouts - Bradly Price took 3 bad knockdowns and Enzo getting Koed too - that was a real shocker but he just couldnt seem to deal with his opponents style who only had 5 ko's before last night. Nicky Cook loss didnt surprise me as i have never been totally convinced by him and when you fight an mandotary unbeaten mexican you should be very wary.

    As for Khan - watching it live i didnt see the headclash as it happened so quick but the pics and brief clips i have seen it was significant. But Barrera looked old in there and Khan was sharp and his combos were like lightening, i think without the cuts he wins by a mile on points or stops him late. He will still have to convince a lot of people that he is the real deal, because now his critics will blame the headclash, the cut ot the fact Barrera is not the fighter he was... but the one thing he has got is box office appeal - whether you like him or not - people will flock in to watch him. Whether he is read for a world title fight i dont know - personally i would give him two more fights than go for it, but if its Marquez than that is going to be a tough hurdle to conquer

  • Comment number 22.

    I hate to sound negative, but last night's result stunk to high heaven.

    As Barrera commented after the fight, if they were going to stop the fight, then it should actually have been stopped in the 1st when the clash of heads first occured, thus giving us a no contest....Barrera's injury did not improve nor worsen from the moment it happened.

    Was it just coincidence that the officials allowed the fight to develop to the point where we were ensured of a decision??...I don't think so.

    As for the fight itself, well Khan looked good, quick on his feet, quick hands, solid looking defence, however, fighting a virtually blind veteran boxer isn't exactly showing us anything we didn't already know Khan possessed.

    There are plenty of much harder tests out there for Khan, anybody trying to say that last night proves he's reached the peak are merely deluding themselves....Be interesting to see what happens when Khan meets somebody of a similar reputation and ambition (a la Prescott), will his new found skills learnt from Roach be enough to protect that suspect chin??

    Talking of suspect chins, come on down Enzo Maccranelli!!!...Funniest sight of the night was watching the over-rated Welshman clinging on for dear life during round 2, and then getting his lights put out late on by a guy, who while durable, was very, very average.

    Maccaranelli is, and always has been, a classic example of Frank Warren's astute matchmaking...Match him with bum after bum, building up his reputation, and then watch as once exposed to a half decent fighter, he gets shown up for the one trick pony he is.

  • Comment number 23.

    Khan looked awfull. Powder puff punching and jumping in and out like a maniac against an old man who couldnt chase him back. Freddie Roach is a good trainer but the money is the same colour for him as it is everybody else. Don't be dazzled by his hand speed the quality of his shots and his balance are poor. I lost count of the amount of times his back foot was of the floor when he threw his back hand.
    The fight should have been stopped in the first round anyway because the cut was no worse at the end than it was in the begining so why wait??
    Barrera is a spent force the name was beaten - not the man.
    I feel sorry for Khan actually because I think that he believes his own hype. Nobody can fight like that for twelve rounds and the first decent guy he comes up against it's lights out. If he has " come of age" (lol) then when will he fight Bredis Prescott again??

  • Comment number 24.

    come on khan! north west is best

    p.s the daily mail readers need to stop putting him down he may be given too much media attention but at least hes exciting to watch and has the balls to gamble against the likes of barrera. I don't see anyone else making such moves

  • Comment number 25.

    Khan wins, Barrera loses and on to the next match......
    Khan looked technically sound and fast. Can't see Roach letting him get too far ahead of himself, even tho he reckons Khan will be his next world champ.
    Barrera at 35 is still a decent test and whilst the cut spoilt the spectacle Khan did what was required.
    Don't think he'll be calling out Marquez or Pacquiao yet though. Not if he wants to continue his career.
    As for Enzo, time for the job centre, he surely can't have any significant mark to make in the cruiserweight ranks now and heavyweight would be an even bigger risk.

  • Comment number 26.

    I think khans had enough time to "bring himself on". What are we waitng for like? Evander Holyfield fought for the title in his 13th fight. By the way I read the daily mail and I've just been to the gym this morning traing with two lads that have a british title eliminator and a european title fight respectivley coming up.

  • Comment number 27.

    As long as Khan avoids any of the top 100 Mexicans he will do OK. With Frank running the show he should be a World Champion for years without fighting anyone, well anyone at their peak.

    Frank has done this in the past with Hamed and Calzaghe, and should be able to do the same with Khan.

  • Comment number 28.

    i was at the M.E.N arena yesterday aswell and yeah there was a racist vibe. I heard people say "paki" while i was there and when i slipped and fell flat on my arse beacause of all the wet floor, i had a skinhead square up to me!

  • Comment number 29.

    Ben Dirs said:
    The boos following Amir Khan's defeat of Marco Antonio Barrera suggest the Bolton lightweight still has some way to go to placate his more trenchant critics - and that the British disease of wanting to see their own fail has yet to be eradicated
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I am afraid that he will never win the love of a certain section of supporters. Unless he has plastic surgery and changes his name to a Christian one.
    Sorry to be so direct but it is starting to become obvious why certain people dislike him.
    Go and check the comments people are posting on youtube under the Amir Khan vs Barrera fight promotion and discussion videos. It is sickening. They wont post that stuff here on 606 as it will get deleted.
    There should be a policy (if it dosent exist already) that if anyone is heard saying racist things inside a boxing arena should be punished.

  • Comment number 30.

    Right lets get things straight ,To me khan already shows how bad english boxing is at the moment,I mean to me a great champion avenges his defeats,not fight old fighters obviously past their best,why hasnt he even mentioned a rematch with the fellow that knocked him sparko,isnt that the only wat to show how so called great khan is?And the most obvious way to show as he keeps saying that it was a fluke,But no frank warren yet again side steps and gives a khan another easy feast ripp us all of 15quid a whack on sky for the wrong fight,the public want to see him avenge his first defeat,but no doubt he will be fed with these one sided fights,untill one day they actually put him in with someone whos average enough to expose his weak chin,obviously frank warren already knows this,so ENGLAND you wont see him in a real fight with the guy who took him apart,because theres no profit in putting him in with someone decent and on form,and please dont insult my intelligence and say barrera was credible?he looked old worn,and not even a shadow of his former self,and anyone in the top 20 would have done the same to him last night,it was never a risky fight,they dont happen in english boxing anymore.Its the same with joe calazaghke all his fight were hand picked and well managed i mean roy jones was past his peak,chris eubank,in fact everybody joe fought was past their sell by date,even that kessler bloke from america looked shot before he even walked into the ring,and lets face it whom had he really fought in terms of greatness,If joe was a great fighter why not end his carrer fighting the likes of antonio jarvier instead of a faded fighter just with a good name of past?
    Lennox lewis same thing,never wanted to step in the ring with holyfield at his best,or tyson,very clever management,he never fought bowe,and the first real fight he gets into with klitchko he bloody retires.And so typical of english sporting heroes overated and very well managed,im a true boxing fan,but im no mug,these guys have the cheek to call themselves great fighters,none of them have fought a peaked fighter in their careers,Hagler,holyfield,ali all fought with their fists not bullshit management and over rated hype.
    unless khan avenges his first defeat the public will never really support him,so is this going to happen?
    Or is another naseem well managed fight a few worn out bums lose his first real fight scenario really what their protecting..
    Frank warren must be laughing all the way to the bank.
    But that aint greatness...

  • Comment number 31.

    intellectualdanny,
    There are all kinds of conspiracy theories. I wont dismiss them out of hand cos some of them may be true. But until it is proven we cant say it is fact.
    There are rumours that RJJ failed drug tests repeatedly from 1996 or something. And some people posted some documents proving the testing authority had exposed it (could be fake documents who knows). But apparently this was kept hush for some reason and it didnt come out into the open.
    Barrera himself has been accused of using drugs aswell (he made some funny fart that is supposed to be diarrhoea induced by stanazolol) as putting hard substance under his gloves (like Antonio Margarito).

  • Comment number 32.

    Some guy even has video footage where he claims that Tyson can be seen talking to Razor Ruddock and telling him exactly when to fall down to what kind of punch he is going throw next.

  • Comment number 33.

    Intellectualdanny,
    Joe Louis did not have rematch with Schmelling straight away. And there are other fighters who had rematches much later. Khan may have rematch with Prescott at anytime in the future.
    Dont forget that Sugar Ray Robinson refused to fight against Charlie Burley (whom is regarded as the greatest p4p fighter but never achieved fame because he was ducked by everyone). Charley Burley was apparently so brilliant that he hardly ever got hit cleanly.

  • Comment number 34.

    Whether the booing was racially motivated, I honestly couldn't say - I'm not deliberately sidestepping the issue, but I simply didn't hear anything of that nature.

    leonthebarbarian - "Khan looked awful"? That's just a bizarre comment I'm afraid. How exactly was it "awful"? That strikes me as a comment by someone who wants everyone else on here to believe that he knows more about the dark arts of boxing than everybody else.

    As for DeGale, I kind of understand why people might have the hump with him. I don't think Warren does his fighters many favours by hyping them up so early, it clearly gets people's backs up. That said, it's still not an excuse for the treatment he's being given. How many people in that crowd have won a gold medal for Britain? None, probably.

  • Comment number 35.

    leonthebarbarian
    Just read yor post after posting mine....
    Yes you really see it..
    Its not boxing its management....

  • Comment number 36.

    Having just watched the replay on Sky Box Office, maybe I was being a bit harsh on Khan last night. He was obviously half a second ahead of Barerra in every department which is obviously down to Barerra's age and career catching up with him.

    What disappointed me most about last night was that the questions about Khan still remain, how hard does he really punch at World level? and Can he take a punch at World level, yeah his defensive work and speed had improved, but the two key questions about him remain unanswered. If Barerra had not been cut so bad in the first round due to an accidental headbutt, those two questions may have been answered last night. But fair play to Khan, he did what he had to do and I am sure those questions will be answered in the future. However, I am not sure whether we will like the answers!

  • Comment number 37.

    Have to say, the "British Disease" syndrome is half engendered by the athlete themselves, showing more arrogance than acceptable, while their achievements don't reflect that, but also by the cynical management and match making which pushes certain boxers prematurely into the limelight.
    For instance, I don't think anyone would have a problem with Khan if he'd gone the traditional route of British and European titles, before talking about a world title tilt, but Frank Warren seems to have a habit of fast-tracking his fighters beyond these straps, thus robbing them of valuable experience, while at the same time boasting that they're to good for the domestic competition.
    I'm sure that's now the reason that Macca's failing.
    Khan had a good win last night, but as already said on here, the cut must be taken into account.
    No judgement on his being "world level" can really be made until he has beaten all his domestic rivals and been in with some no nonsense prime top ten fighters.
    Hope he does well though....I for one don't suffer from "British Disease"..
    Great Blog Ben, keep up the good work!

  • Comment number 38.

    By the way, Intellectual Danny, I think it's a bit harsh to label Naz as overmanaged.
    He did have some really thrilling fights against gritty fighters (Kevin Kelley springs to mind), where his chin and heart were tested and he came out on top.
    This may sound like an excuse, but many people think that if he'd trained properly for the Barerra fight and not split with Brendan Ingle, he may well have won......but he didn't and thats history.
    But he's definately not an overmanaged Macca type figure.
    I didn't care for the arrogance (although i think it was tongue in cheek), or the antics, but he was definately an amazingly talented fighter with a knock out punch in either hand.

  • Comment number 39.

    I also think Frank Warren's done DeGale no favours whatsoever.
    The higher they hoist him when he's not done anything yet, the further he'll fall.
    Why doesn't Warren realise that the most valuable development for a fighter normally takes place in obscurity, not under the glare of publicity, when they're gonna be to worried about they're image to train properly.....

  • Comment number 40.

    Ben,

    Enjoy reading your blogs. However, I think people need to stop making excuses for some of the disgraceful and boorish behaviour by the alleged 'fans' last night. I was there and unfortunately it was clearly evident that a lot of the boos, jeering and support of barrera was racially motivated. A lot of these 'fans' tried to mask their 'bias' by pretending they were 'fans' of the legendary mexican, but ultimately they betrayed this line of thought with some of the racist language they used (which I cannot repeat on a public forum).

    Unfortunately, a lot of them came not to see a fight, not to support a ring legend like barrera, not to oppose khan because of his lack of previous performances or even jealousy, but simply because they wanted to see a p-word get bashed.

    Disgraceful behaviour.

  • Comment number 41.

    If that's true, lefthook7, thats pretty worrying.
    That people will pay money just to shout the P word.
    Ironic really, cos Khan has always stressed his pro Britishness, with his Dad having two flags etc etc, unlike Naz, who seemed to take pleasure in pointing out that he was really Yemeni and that this was merely where he grew up.
    Shame if Khan is now attracting these hooligans.

  • Comment number 42.


    Well done Amir, I'm living out here in LA now, and popped along with my 11yr old son to see Amir at the Wildcard Gym a few days before he returned to the UK for the Barrera fight...He worked the pads with Freddie and Michael Moorer and I tell you that the whole gym stopped and realised when there was a class act present.

    The boy deserves all the praise, don't knock him..... He and his Dad were outgoing, appreciative of our support, and took the time. Credit to themselves they were and a positive representation of the UK abroad. Not often you can say that I fear !!!!

    BTW..... Stuff it up the Aussies in the Summer.....!

  • Comment number 43.

    I disagree with anyone, who based on what happened in the first round, thinks Mr Khan was going to win. Clearly, if you watch the video over, can you call it accidental. There is a great angle in the replay, where you see Barrera's eyes are not on Khan, but Khan clearly sees that he will headbutt. Always the person who initiates a headbutt will have much less damage. Khan did nothing to avoid it, seeing it was coming, and even came forward to butt. As far as the skills etc. Notice that at the end of the fight Barrera has almost no damage, but Khan's right eye has a welt. I boxed for years and I can say with confidence that this win should be nullified and a rematch should take place. As Barrera said, Khan didn't hurt him and his face shows it. Very dodgy indeed.

  • Comment number 44.

    Khan's performance highlights Roach's genius. The change in Khan was obvious in the first 30 seconds. How do you defeat an old man; you make him chase you and then launch just as he thinks he's caught you. Khan's in-out attack was superb, but most important, was the way Roach has schooled him to protect THAT chin. Khan's high guard was an obvious major adjustment from Roach. I think the booing won't go away any time soon, it is the English mentality, the same as chanting. In the case of Degale, he simply won't be accepted until he achieves something. He's been paid too much so far as a professional for nowt. I'm a die-hard fan, but Olympic medals don't mean a thing to me, it is the same 'sport' but simply not comparable

  • Comment number 45.

    I agree that there may have been an element of conspiracy in order to keep the fight going to the 5th to get a result, in order not to be faced with lots of dissapointed fans who'd paid a lot to see a fight, but the history of boxing is littered with such controversies.
    And as far as the record books will tell, for Khan its a win, and a win is a win is a win after all.

  • Comment number 46.

    "Clearly, if you watch the video over, can you call it accidental."

    LMAO.....

    Deary me, these boards illustrate my point from my earlier post...... sheesh!

  • Comment number 47.

    As soon as the fight was finished my intial rant demanded a rematch, but when I watched the replay, Khan just looked marginally too quick for Barerra, but this was obviously after the headbutt. It would've been interesting to see what would've happened without the headbutt, because in the post fight interview Khan's face did look pretty bruised considering Barerra only landed a handful of punches.

    I'm all for a rematch, this fight proved nothing about Khan or Barerra.

    PS As long as SKY don't charge another £15 for it, that was my last PPV that I'll ever pay for, the only thing that made it worth it was Maccarinelli's knock out loss, I was howling with laughter at the way he got clocked and went down. It proved he was all hype, just like Amir I fear.

  • Comment number 48.

    You were referring to me Ferrettbadger, and I'm guessing you think I was partisan as to Barrera, hardly, I only saw what I saw on a replay I have on my comp. In actual time its so fast and from the initial angles barely visible. But in replay, its obvious, Khan saw it, went for it, and Barrera's eyes were up in the air. It was an obvious shot to take and he took it. I am sure if Barrera pushes it the decision to not stop initially or to call it a clash of heads will be overturned. You can download the fight on torrent sites and see it clearly.

  • Comment number 49.

    Should have been a no-contest and stopped earlier. Disgraceful that loss goes on Barrera's record. Absolute disgrace. In the eyes of all boxing fans that was a no-contest. Only Ben Dirs and Frank Warren think that was a win!

  • Comment number 50.

    I was embarrassed by the way Khan celebrated 'winning' the fight. He acted as if he had knocked the living daylights out of Barrera, when maybe just raising his fist in the air would have been appropriate. In a way one gets the feeling he was grateful for the cut.
    That fight should not have progressed beyond round 2, as whatever points Khan may have raked up subsequently were no doubt due to the fact he was fighting a boxer who was blind in one eye. In my opinion he should have done better considering MAB's age, and the conditions MAB was boxing under. But I dont think I can say there was a single punch that really rocked MAB. Khan is a fraud, who can only slap. He will be exposed the minute he meets an average Mexican/Pueto Rican.
    As for Enzo he was just outclassed. He spent half the time pushing his opponent to the ropes, where he couldn't even inflict ny sort of damage. We were talking with my mates and I said the minute that fight is going to stay in the middle of the ring Macca is getting knocked out, and it happened just like that. Credit to Ola, he had a superior jab and his right was always looking like it would cause damage if it connected. To sum it up, last night was a disgrace to British boxing. I wasn't ringside, but had I been there I would have booed Khan not for his race(am black), but for being the fraud that he is.

  • Comment number 51.

    WiStAhM - "Only Ben Dirs and Frank Warren think that was a win". That's right mate, only me and Frank Warren... Good God, there are some seriously paranoid customers out there...

  • Comment number 52.

    I wasn't so clear with my comment, I should have a ?. Clearly, if you watch the video over, can you call it accidental?

  • Comment number 53.

    The only decent thing to do after last night would be for Khan to offer Barerra a rematch and let all the people who ordered last nights fight or bought tickets get a good discount on the rematch, or he should fight Briedis Prescott again in his next fight, if it's going to be on PPV.

    Otherwise, whoever they put in front of Khan I certainly won't be paying to watch, unless it's Pacquiao or Marquez and Khan is a long way away from that.

    The solution? Take him off PPV for at least two fights, then when he is ready for a big title shot put him back on again. His next PPV bout, if Warren is anything to go by, will just infuriate fans even more, who are being asked to fork out their hard earned money for a fighter that hasn't even fought for a world title yet!

    We don't have to pay, just becuase Khan signed a lucrative contract with SKY, he's already a millionaire, I don't need it rammed down by throat that he is the next superstar, when his performances after 21 fights has done little to convince me of that!

    PS If Khan and the media were a little more humble last night, my view may have been slightly different.

  • Comment number 54.

    I admit i had a tear in my eye seeing great Barrera pretty much ending in his career in a way that so many ther greats have done. Watching Marco Antonio Barrera 2009 nothing more than a shadow of himself reminded me of Ceasar Chavez and Ruberto Duran. Barrera was trying to 'establish his career again'..... come on do me a favour, why the hell does he need to do that. One of the greatest fighters we've seen in the last 20 years, worth hopefully millions and one of the most down to earth champions ive seen to date and he needs to kick start his career against Khan 13 years younger who obviously was 10lbs+ heavier.

    A title eliminator? Why first would Khan deserve that and Barrera if he had won would surely have done himself no favours long term. Khan held himself very well against the fading great which even now would be very intimidating but come on that victory proved absolutely nothing except Amir now moves back with his hands up, thankfully for him down to Mr Roach!

    As Barrera said he had 6 title defences at Khans age which not only speaks for its self but shows how British fighters these days have a much easier route or is it down to their lack of ability.

    Macca's career looks over because the lack of sparring? If that was the case it shows he's no good. Ive never heard of so much twaddle in all my life. He in my eyes has always been a bully boy who is expected to produce much more than he actually can.

  • Comment number 55.

    PPS Ben you are a great blogger. At least you have the balls to defend your points, unlike a certain Mr Bose in cricket or Mr Cram in athletics, who both seem to think they are above us mere public folk!

  • Comment number 56.

    JobyJak - Well, I thought I might as well, it's either this or watching the Antiques Roadshow..

  • Comment number 57.

    Khan won the fight and congrats to him. Personally, the cut was disappointing and really hampered Barerra and didn't really show what would have happened in the later rounds.

    Good to see Khan with a greater defence, Roach has done a great job and proves why he's one of the best coaches out there.

    In my opinion, Khan is still chinny. Sure enough he has the speed and hopefully he will win quickly otherwise the longer fights go the lower his hand will fall and this is when he will be vunerable to a big puncher.

    Good luck to him.

  • Comment number 58.

    Joby, dont get me started on Cram and his Chambers obsession.

    I dont totally agree with your assessment, Ben, but it was generally accurate and far better than the dreadful Sky team. You'd think they had just witnessed Ali vs Williams mark II the way they went on.

  • Comment number 59.

    james_toneys_gut - To be honest, I haven't seen Sky's coverage so can't really comment, but I guess that's just the Sky way, and indeed the way with a lot of broadcasters today. Colin Hart tells a story about getting the boot from a TV channel a few years back for saying a boxer (I can't remember which one) wasn't actually that good. As far as his bosses were concerned, he wasn't doing his job properly.

  • Comment number 60.

    A strange fight, and one which leaves more questions than answers. But in a way that's how Warren will like it... people will still pay to hopefully see him win, pay to hopefully see him lose, or perhaps just pay to see a near-certain knockout.

    And if I were inclined to pay good money to Sky/Warren for these fights, I'd be in the last of these camps. Powerful punches, thrown in bunches, with a dodgy chin and possible defensive weakness? Excitement guaranteed!

  • Comment number 61.

    Murray, Romanov and then Prescott

    Then I'll happily jump on Amir's bandwagon, and urge him on for a world title shot. I do feel he has some more to offer though.

    He looked good, too many factors hindering the win but on the whole its decent to get a 'name' under your belt, regardless of the fight circumstances.

    P.S Can anyone seriously see him in the ring with Casamoya, Diaz, Marquez or Nate Campbell?

  • Comment number 62.

    CNN just posted that they were shocked that Amir Khan was booed in his own area and Barrera was cheered so loudly! See? Everyone across the world is puzzled.
    This is a disgrace! It is clear that many of these racist people went to the arena in the hope that Khan will get humiliated. But he didnt. So now they come on the interent and are spewing out the hate like i have not seen before. Ofcourse on BBC due to the strict rules you wont see such hateful comments.
    Some of these fans say they hate Khan because he has a glass chin and/or he is overhyped. But then the real sinister reasons emerge as soon as the P word comes out of their mouths.
    Welcome to the year 2009 people. Some people still living in Medieval times with their narrow minded bigotry.

  • Comment number 63.

    Those of you who think i am being paranoid. Go to youtube and look at the comments under the Khan videos. It is just shocking. And many of these comments coming from British members on youtube. It is also reported that Facebook has got a large number of racists spewing hate about Khan on there also. You will see the P word being used very very often

  • Comment number 64.

    Funny how Prince Harry can use the P word and the BBC news presenters can use it when describing the story about Harry but we can't use it on this site.

  • Comment number 65.

    JobyJak,
    Prince Harry? Dont need to start about him. I remember him photographed in a nightclub wearing a Nazi symbol on his shirt. I dont want to start talking about him as it is a bit off topic.
    I do think that Ben Dirs is a bit more lenient on comments because he dosent appear to delete comments as readily as some of the other 606 threads. But using the P word here i am sure will get deleted.

  • Comment number 66.

    I do think this racism at Khan is a serious problem and is really getting out of hand. I also remember how Amir and his brother were racially abused all the way out of an arena after Amirs brother had won a match.
    The authorities are going to have to make some effort (though i dont know exactly what) to remind people that it is not acceptable.
    No longer can this issue be dismissed as paranoia or 'just the odd fellow doing it'.
    Maybe something similar to Thierry Henry's Nike campaign. Post up warnings on arenas that any people caught saying racist things will be thrown out and fined.
    In football, a club will also be fined if their fans are caught being racist.

  • Comment number 67.

    1) It was very unfortunate that the referee and two of the judges were English. On the international boxing forums, most people think that the decision to keep it going until the fifth round, rather than declare it a no contest, was down to blatant home town bias. Warren may think using UK refs and judges helps his fighters but it harms them if they're any good, because it means the boxer gets much less respect overseas than they deserve. I wish someone would convince Warren of this. Over-protecting his fighters might make sense for fighters who have no talent, but it backfires badly in the case of fighters who do have talent.

    2) Given that the result was controversial, and most people outside the UK think it should have been declared a no contest, I think Khan should offer Barrera a rematch. Barrera would probably say no, because he seems to be ready to retire, but at least Khan would look much better and gain more respect if he made the offer. And if Barrera took him up on it, Khan would be tested much more over 12 rounds in a rematch than he was over 4, especially as Barrera couldn't see properly for most of the four rounds. Only having the use of one eye means your vision has no depth, so you can't judge distance properly. One could expect a considerably sterner test from Barrera in a rematch, and it would be a good learning fight for Khan. Barrera would need 6 months to recover from that cut, so it would have to be Khan's next but one fight.

    3) Having been appallingly over-protected for most of his career in terms of the opponents he has faced, Warren now wants to rush him far too quickly. He's talking about a world title fight this year, in what is one of the deepest and most competitive divisions in boxing. Khan is nowhere near ready for the elite in the division yet. Only two fights ago he was fighting like a complete amateur, and had never been taught the fundamentals of the professional game. His "chinnyness" was mainly due to his lack of fundamentals. And he had never faced any real competition he could learn from.

    Roach has done a superb job with him, but he needs time, and some competitive fights against a variety of styles to bed in the lessons he's been learning. His next fight should be against someone who is just below world class, such as David Diaz or Alex Arthur (NOT John Murray, who is a very long way from being world class and has been even more over-protected than Khan has). After that, he should face someone slightly better but still not elite, like Katsidis. Then he should rematch Prescott, who by then he should be able to outbox handily, and it would do his confidence and standing a huge amount of good to beat him before fighting for a world title. Then he should fight an elite contender like Funeka or Juan Diaz. Only then would he be ready for the likes of Marquez. Those fights could all happen by June 2010, so it wouldn't be a huge delay, but the extra experience would make all the difference in the world to his chances of winning, and more importantly retaining, the world title.

  • Comment number 68.

    "Crucially, Roach is also succeeding in moulding a more patient, cerebral fighter"...... Ben having watched Khan's interviews over the years I had a chuckle at this line.

    I knew Khan would be bigger than Berrera but the height and reach difference was really visible. The cut was very unfortunate and spoiled what may have developed over a longer fight. It looked like Berrera could take Khan's punches and I think his pride and bravery would have carried him through to the latter rounds. It would have been good experience for Khan to have gone the distance.

    I think Berrera possibly had the potential to find a punch that could have worried Khan. To be fair Khan did everything asked of him and by beating Berrera he can now claim to be a legitimate challenger.

  • Comment number 69.

    Re. Strongback's post, I don't think Khan can claim anything after beating a one-eyed faded fighter who was fighting above his peak weight, other than that he did what he had to do to win this fight.

    Khan looked good even before the cut, but it's easy for an athletic fighter to look good for less than a round against a slow pressure fighter. It's much harder to look good for 12 rounds. Ali looked great for the first four rounds in his first fight with Frazier, Frazier barely landed a punch; then Frazier started to catch up with him in round 5 and it became a war of attrition.

    I think Khan would have won handily without the cut, and always did (I bet a lot of points on it, which I'm still waiting for people to pay up on!). But it's not a foregone conclusion, and I think to offer MAB a rematch would be the right thing to do. If Barrera says no, it would make Khan look good. If Barrera says yes, it would be likely to be a much sterner test, and a good learning experience for Khan, with Barrera having 12 rounds with the use of two eyes and Khan's stamina under pressure still being untested at this point.

    And in any case, Barrera at this stage in his career is not a top Lightweight, so although Khan has greatly improved under Roach, no one should lose perspective and claim that he's ready to face the elite in the division yet.

  • Comment number 70.

    intellectualdanny,

    "that Kessler bloke from America", "Antonio Jarvier". You are so well named!

  • Comment number 71.

    I will be honest ben I dont really like this article and find that a lack of enthusiasm for such a great dominating display has been shown here. The cut wasnt close to his eye and the blood would not have hindered barrera in a way to which people are not giving khan credit. Amir put on a brilliant display of boxing at its perfect best, consisting of hitting the opponent and not getting hit whilst looking extremely sharp whilst doing this. Freddie Roach has worked wonders with this kid so far and we will see plenty more from him. I think Barrera is a very well schooled fighter who is someone you have to beat even when he is past his best. I think if you put him in the ring against a good opponent he will still produce the goods as he is still only 35. Especailly when such "legends" as hopkins are producing dominating displays against much younger opponents. Such as the pavlik fight. Amir has handspeed that is second to nobody and has brilliant boxing skills as was shown right from his amature days when he racked up a total of 100 wins from an exceptional 110 fights. The kid has done precious little wrong throughout his career and one bad decision from his trainer to put him in the ring too early with a brilliant puncher in bredis prescott was not even his fault. The young man is only 22 cut the bloke some slack and watch him become one of the worlds best boxers ever to lace on the gloves. Mark my words.

  • Comment number 72.

    A good solid performance by Khan? Yes. Did it tell us anything new? Not really, fighting a guy with one eye should mean you are able to do whatever you want with him pretty much.

    I'll say it time and again, but if Khan gets in with the likes of a Nate Campbell, Juan Diaz or Marquez he's gonna be outta there within 3. I'm not too sure he's safe by those guys moving up as i don't think it'll be too long until he himself outgrows the weight - he is huge for a lightweight after all.

    You have to get in the ring with the big boys at some point - i don't buy into this whole 'he got into the ring with a puncher too early' nonsense. At the end of the day Prescott was an unknown journeyman pro who Khan should have beat, unless of course you wanna see Frank Warren does what he does best and protect Khan by feeding him feather punchers to build his record up?!

    Why not get into the ring with either Juan or David Diaz? That'd shut up the detractors rather than fighting an over the top, one eyed shadow of his former self in Barrera!

  • Comment number 73.

    I must be the only person that thinks that fight was a farce from the beginning....

    Barrera had to come up 2 weights to fight the 'bolton' fighter. Not one of his punches looked like the 'rattled' the Mexican. Ok the first round he tried to gauge Kahn and was unsettled.

    To win after a clash of heads and say you are a 'better' boxer is nonsense.

    A win on a technicality is disappointing any way you look at it and proved nothing of Kahn ability as a world champion. He does not deserve a world title fight after fighting nobodies for 4 years. He came up against a decent fighter, Bredis, and got shown up.

    Barrera was just a trophy fight and nothing more.

  • Comment number 74.

    #16 ferretbadger:

    A breath of fresh air. Well said that man. I sometimes wonder if there's anyone left with a modicum of reason on these boards. Thanks for showing me there is.

  • Comment number 75.

    Ben, what's the science behind the glass jaw? Are there any fighters who, Khan included, don't go down when they get one on the button landed with enough force to impact on the brain-box? I suggest that boxers who don't have glass jaws are simply those that have the defence that Khan is now learning from Roach, good luck to him.

  • Comment number 76.

    minime7471 - Just goes to show how difficult it is for the media to please everyone: some of you are accusing me of going overboard about the win, others reckon I'm not enthusiastic enough. No, the cut wasn't close to his eye, but you must have been watching a different fight to everyone else if you think it didn't hinder him - he had a river of blood pouring into it for four rounds. So no, I don't agree it was a "great dominating display" by Khan, it was a decent display against a bloke who couldn't see properly.

  • Comment number 77.

    fight was a farce

    barrera was stupid for even taking the fight

    how can you fight someone who's taller, got a bigger reach and generally bulkier.

    everyone knew this. so why was the fight taken on???

  • Comment number 78.

    When is Khan going to fight an active proper LIGHTWEIGHT ?!?!

    I am sick and tired of these so called "impressive delays" against blown up feather weights. The last lightweight he fought was Prescott and what happened there.

    I give credit a little to Khan as he boxed superbly but MAB was throwing a couple of shots which gave Khan something to think about and it would have been interesting if the fight went on.

    I was shocked by how mani Anti-Khan supporters were at the MEN. We were sitting near some asian guys who hate Khan and wanted him knocked out, I thought they'd be his biggest supporters due to their race.

    Just goes to prove that Joe Public will not and cannot be fooled by Warren's efforts. So Khan is now the real deal, put him in with a Katsidis or Diaz in the US and see how he gets on. If he beats either of them I'll gladly shut up.

  • Comment number 79.

    Right Ben Dirs - where do I start with you. " Bizzare comment" " know more about the dark arts than anyone else on here" ? How dare you make such accusations. I'm not saying I know more about boxing than anybody else on this site - I'm just expressing an opinion. And without getting hoity toity about this I think 26 years fighting and coaching ( 2 national champions) gives me a right to say if I think somebody looks bad. You strike me as somebody who boxes with his pen.
    He looked bad to me because if you don't have both feet on the floor then your punches will never have the full power in them. Also " Ben" he wa jumping in and out by about a foot each time he threw a combination and as any coach will tell you you only have to move an inch to avoid a punch so moving that much is a complete waste of energy. So schoolboy errors like this in my opinion are - yes awfull.
    Who did you box for Ben? and what gym have you coached ?at or what coaching courses have you been on?? Before you start looking down your pen at me.

  • Comment number 80.

    I was shocked by how mani Anti-Khan supporters were at the MEN. We were sitting near some asian guys who hate Khan and wanted him knocked out, I thought they'd be his biggest supporters due to their race.
    -------------------------------------------

    if im correct, i think these guys are mainly jealous of his success.

    thats why they don't support him. if he showed a little more humility, it could go a long way...

  • Comment number 81.

    Im still a little sceptical of Amir's win maybe this comes from my disliking of him but i dont know. There could have been a totally different outcome in the fight if that cut coming from the clash of heads didnt occur, we all know that Marco Antonio Barrera has a lot of pride and heart and even said in the post fight interview that he didnt really feel Khans punches and he couldnt see because of the blood dripping down from the unintentionally caused cut on his head. i think he could have went on to hurt khan in the later stages, im not saying he would have definitly won but i feel he could have been a much better test for khan at this stage i just feel Amirs future is still questionable, although you did see a vast improvment in Khan, his defence was solid his hands were lightning quick he looked in great physical condition and didnt make any of those amateurish mistakes that he was mking for so long in the beginning of his career, God bless Freddy Roach eh! lol

  • Comment number 82.

    Don't Argue With Me... that's a naive comment.

    I actually asked these guys as it's nice to chat to fellow boxing fans who wanted to watch the fight. Unfortunatley we had some drunk Liverpudlians sitting in front of us who spotted Christiano Ronaldo and were more interested in giving him stick that watching the fight!

    Anyways... the Asian guys said they hate his arrogance and how he hasn't fought anybody but claims to be World Class. Frank Warren is an excellent match maker no doubts. The one time he didn't pick the opponent Khan got knocked out - FACT!

    Jury is out for me on Khan. He has superb speed but I cannot see him being able to contain a Marquez, Diaz (either), Campbell or Katsidis. Khan also gets a lot of favour from UK judges, get him over to the US where the Warren influence isn't as great and that will also highlight his weaknesses.

    One last point... strange how if the fight was stopped in Round 4 it would have been a No Contest but then its stopped in Round 5 so Khan wins on points. Was the cut or the bloodflow any different between these rounds?

  • Comment number 83.


    "There are plenty of much harder tests out there for Khan, anybody trying to say that last night proves he's reached the peak are merely deluding themselves"

    Who said that? I haven't read ANYONE saying he's reqached his peak?, but anyone saying he's not improving is also deluded. The only debate we can realistically have is how much farther can he still improve. No-one knows, but many profess to.

    "By the way I read the daily mail and I've just been to the gym this morning traing with two lads that have a british title eliminator and a european title fight respectivley coming up."

    This is the most enjoyable comment I've read for a while. Just to continue the theme, I read the economist and books about organic farming and this morning I was fighting two dragons and a warlock, and had roast partridge before work.... if anyone's interested.

  • Comment number 84.

    By Uk judges I meant UK referee's... before someone picks up on this.

  • Comment number 85.

    rob mate don't worry about the people on here bigging khan up and calling us all racists because we have an opinion. I know it's annoying but at the end of the day it's them that will have to eat the pie of humbleness after the next quater decent boxer khan fights. I wonder if he will ever fight anyone who is a genuine lightweight again..........

  • Comment number 86.

    Cheers leonthebarbarian. Khan isn't cr*p, he has terrific handspeed but how Frank Warren can keep conning the public I don't know. I detest these fighters sho just pad their record. Yes the first 5-10 fights may be fodder and him learning the game but why doesn't he do what any normal fighter does. Go for the UK title, then Commonwealth, then European and then Worlds.

    The influence of Warren and he overtakes a lot of decent fighters who don't have the hype and he also gets to manipulate the ratings game. I bet the WBO have him in their top 3 now (joke organisation).

    I wouldn't be surprised if Amir fights Alex Arthur now and bill it as a fight against an ex World Champion.

    I honestly was surprised by how loud the cheers were for MAB and how many boos Khan got. Also had to laugh at how Degale was booed and sat in his seat all moody.

    Like Adam Booth (David haye's trainer) said a while back to other young fighters. Take risks, there is no point in fighting nobodies and getting wins. I have more respect for fighters who fight people where there is a chance they could lose.

    Khan may become a world champ but he needs to fight some decent contenders. Fight Katsidis, a mega puncher he is. Would love to see how Khan gets on against him.

  • Comment number 87.

    Ben, i felt Kahn won the first round. I was at the m.e.n that night and said after the first round what would happen - the fight would be called off, but not until the 5th. It was a disgraceful decision. The 4 rounds after it shouldn't have counted. After the fight i didn't hear anyone booing Kahn. Kahn needs a lesson in humility- he beat a one- eyed legend and showed no class whatsoever in his post match interview

    Afolabi did get booed on the way to the ring, and during the fight itself. But, in victory, he got alot of respect from the crowd after the win.

    Bottom line - Kahn/Barrera should have been declared a no contest when it was clear in the second Barrera couldn't see.
    I don't see how anyone can argue with that (unless it hould have been stopped before the 2nd started)

  • Comment number 88.

    leonthebarbarian - If you've had 26 years of fighting and then coaching, then surely you should know better than going round saying Khan was "awful" when he clearly wasn't. If you had pointed out his technical deficiences in a more measured way then we wouldn't be having this argument, but the fact was he did what he had to do against an old legend who couldn't see that well, and looked decent enough in doing it. You then suggest in a subsequent comment that Khan should be fighting for world honours because "Evander Holyfield fought for the title in his 13th fight". So what? Leonard fought for a world title in his 26th fight, Hearns in his 29th, Hamed in his 20th.

    Oh, and here we go, a "show me your medals" tirade. No, I have never fought, apart from a bit of sparring down my local gym, but neither did Harry Carpenter, and John Arlott never played cricket, and Martin Samuel never played football, and Jim McGrath wasn't a jockey... it's my job to tell the story of certain events, and it would have been disingenous, as well as unfair, to suggest that Khan was, as you suggest, "awful" against Barrera on Saturday night.

  • Comment number 89.

    I'm sorry but the win was definitely soured by the the manner of victory for me. It was clear for all to see that Khan was too much for Barrera from the word go (although there was always the risk Khan's chin might falter if Barrera did manage to land). So why, then, do they need to pull the wool over our eyes by waiting until the 5th round to stop the fight to enable Khan to get his points victory. Even if it had been ruled a no-contest, any decent fight fan would have applauded Khan for his performance, now they have a right to feel cheated.

  • Comment number 90.

    #43 daveymate: "I boxed for years and I can say with confidence that this win should be nullified and a rematch should take place. As Barrera said, Khan didn't hurt him and his face shows it. Very dodgy indeed."

    Hmm. funny that 'cos I boxed for years too and I see it differently.

    I suppose it only goes to show that boxing for years doesn't preclude us from having differences of opinion. It makes me laugh when people site their boxing experience as if to suggest "I boxed, therefore I'm a boxing expert". If that were the case we'd only need to listen to the pundits to get our opinions, Barry McGuigan could tell us all we need to know, but as we are all aware, the man doesn't always get it right.

    People see things in different lights whether they've boxed or not. I played cricket too, and rugby, and swam competitively, and I ride a bike and do some rock climbing. Strangely I'm not a world authority on any of the above... though I do have reasonably valid opinions on all of them.

  • Comment number 91.

    oh dear ben ruffled feathers eh. Ah well never mind eh mate.

  • Comment number 92.

    "Ben, what's the science behind the glass jaw? Are there any fighters who, Khan included, don't go down when they get one on the button landed with enough force to impact on the brain-box? I suggest that boxers who don't have glass jaws are simply those that have the defence that Khan is now learning from Roach, good luck to him."

    A rare bit of common sense. deserves to be repeated.

  • Comment number 93.

    "91. At 10:13am on 16 Mar 2009, leonthebarbarian wrote:
    oh dear ben ruffled feathers eh. Ah well never mind eh mate."

    Funny. It looked a lot like yours were the feathers that were ruffled at 9:32... ;)

  • Comment number 94.

    "Don't be dazzled by his hand speed the quality of his shots and his balance are poor. I lost count of the amount of times his back foot was of the floor when he threw his back hand."
    From my first post so I did point out these defeiciencies in a technical way. The difference between you and Harry mate is a world of knowledge. I think Khan looked awfull but because you don't you think I should just bow to your opinion and not say it?

  • Comment number 95.

    Guess so.

  • Comment number 96.

    " I suggest that boxers who don't have glass jaws are simply those that have the defence that Khan is now learning from Roach, good luck to him."
    fjsm Did you ever watch wayne mculloch or george chuvalo?

  • Comment number 97.

    fjsm33 - I think that's a good point you make. Some former sportspeople make very good journalists and pundits (Mike Atherton, Nasser Hussain), others don't (I remember the entire MOTD panel during the 2006 World Cup basically laughing at Sven for picking Owen Hargreaves - a man who held down a place in the Bayern Munich midfield - and, funnily enough, he was easily our best player in the tournament). I also remember, as an example, speaking to Richie Woodhall before the Hatton-Mayweather fight and him being convinced that Hatton would win, and Duke Mckenzie after the Calzaghe-Hopkins fight thinking that Calzaghe had lost by three or four rounds. People see things in different ways, and just because you have boxed before, or played football, or whatever, doesn't necessarily mean your opinions are more valid, although I agree that in some cases they should be afforded more respect.

    Boxing is funny in that it is perhaps the only sport where people will say, "I boxed, so therefore I know more than you do...", whereas you would never hear a club cricketer or Sunday league footballer claiming they know more than you on the back of a few scratchy knocks of 30 or a couple of scuffed goals a season.

  • Comment number 98.

    "oh dear ben ruffled feathers eh. Ah well never mind eh mate" - Don't make me laugh leon, you'll be telling me Man Utd are awful next on the back of that result on Saturday! Although I agree on one thing, George Chuvalo could take a punch...

  • Comment number 99.

    I think this was a fair blog to be honest, it echoed the sentiments of most I have spoke to, in that the fight showed what Khan had been working on with Roach, but in the end didnt prove a thing because of the nature of the fight.

    Minime, you cant be serious, look back at the fight and you'll see MAB constanly blinking out his left. Put yourself in an orthodox stance then close your left eye, its near impossible to defend yourself due to lack of vision.

    Also, not mentioned except by a few was that MAB, near bling out of his left eye still landed a good left on Khan, I'm certain Kahn's legs went and he held on, he was lucky it was in the dying seconds, and of course the one eyed sky team never mentioned it. Can anyone seriously say that Diaz, JMM, Campbell, fatty Guzman or even Casamayor wont land a punch of note against Khan, because sadly (and its in no way Khans fault) thats all it will take.

  • Comment number 100.

    My mate was a centre half for Everton and the other lads have played for preston ,flynt and some obscure team in Aregentina, and they always talk down to me when it comes to football Ben! So I don't think its ringposted to boxing mate. Saying that I don't think that I'm more qualified than anybody else to comment on this. I havn't knocked your opinion mate so all I'm asking is that you don't ridicule mine by calling it bizzare.

 

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