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Tough decisions ahead for Khan

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At the age of 21, Amir Khan is facing up to some of the most important decisions of his fledgling career.

Nothing other than an early knockout against Michael Gomez on Saturday will satisfy the more cynical members of the British public and writers still unsure of Khan’s credentials as the bright young hope of British boxing.

Gomez talks a good game and his life has certainly had more twists and turns than an Alton Towers rollercoaster. But he’s past his best and should have neither the hand-speed nor the ring-craft to trouble Khan unduly. But while the result seems a formality, it promises to be a cracking fight for the few rounds it lasts.

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But it is the questions Khan will have to answer after the bout at Birmingham’s National Indoor Arena that will define the next stage of his career.

The most pertinent being, is he ready for a world title fight? Khan has spoken at length of wanting to become a world champion at the age of 21. And with time running out before his 22nd birthday (8 December) Khan must decide whether he is ready to make that step up.

His promoter, Frank Warren, was cautious about Khan’s world title aspirations following his seventh-round stoppage of Martin Kristjansen in April, no doubt spooked by the fact that the light-punching Dane had little problem locating Khan’s chin.

Warren recently held talks with Don King, promoter of WBA, IBF and WBO lightweight title-holder Nate Campbell, but a clash with the 36-year-old would be extremely risky at this stage of Khan’s career.

However, Khan’s current deal with Warren comes to an end after the Gomez fight and the former Olympic silver medallist will have to decide whether his ambitions are being thwarted or whether Warren’s caution is well-placed.

Having split with previous trainer Oliver Harrison following the Kristjansen fight, Khan has been linked with American trainers Buddy McGirt and Roger Mayweather and you would assume any permanent union would necessitate a move across the Atlantic.

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Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, now the biggest players Stateside, would also welcome Khan with open arms, although Warren appears confident their current three-year deal will be extended.

Perhaps to placate the hungry Khan, Warren has promised him a fight in America later this year, probably on the same card as Joe Calzaghe in Las Vegas, which would also introduce him to American fans.

And with ITV pulling out of boxing, Warren will also need to find Khan a new home on television, with Setanta the most likely hosts, although Warren has spoken of “terrestrial exposure”.

The most interesting aspect of Khan’s final fling on ITV will be how much of an impact stand-in trainer Dean Powell has had in his short time in charge.

Indeed, whether or not he has taught Khan to keep his chin out of harm’s way could have big implications for his immediate future: stay out of trouble and Khan may feel he’s ready for the likes of Campbell. Get tagged and he may decide he’s still got plenty of years to make that step up.

How do you think the next year of Khan’s career should pan out?

1332 BST: Just a quick update to my original article above Amir Khan has said he wants to fight the winner of next week's world title clash between Manny Pacquiao and David Diaz if he disposes of Michael Gomez on Saturday.

news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/box...

Is this the type of opponent Khan should be eyeing up, or are the likes of Pacquiao and Diaz in a different league to Khan?

Latest 10 comments

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posted Jun 21, 2008

I like Khan but come on - Manny would take him out for sure....

A thing to note is the Pac Man was world champion at the age of 20. Sure some of his fights may have been carefully selected but he stepped up at an early age. How long do you continue caarefully selecting opponents.

I want Khan to do well and feel he has to step up in class.... the Joe Calzaghe point above actually undermines the position because Joe still comes in for stick because some corners believe he waited too long - whilst Joe is a great fighter - how many big fights has he had?

Okay so the article suggests picking the fights at the right time, the difference Stateside seem to be a career that is faster and quicker.... take the gamble and step up is my thoughts, otherwise it will all get a bit boring and predictable.

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posted Jun 21, 2008

I was very surprised when I saw that Gomez was Khans next opponent.Gomez`s best win came when stopping Alex Arthur at Superfeatherweight.I can`t see this fight going beyond 3 rounds,once Khan finds his range it will be all over.Its a bit of a meaningless fight really,I`d sooner see Khan fighting someone in the top ten on a Calzaghe or Hatton undercard.

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posted Jun 23, 2008

EVERYONE knows that Amir has faced some OK (Frank Warren) hand picked opposition, ALL FIGHT fans know this, but to call out PACMAN or even Diaz will surely be Amir Khan's 1st defeat in his FW (frank warren) tailored Career. Most if not, all his opposition, taking no credit away from them haven't been bangers, hard hitting opposition with super KO status's,... why is this?? because Frank Warren knows and Amir Khan's team and stable mates including his hand picked sparring partners know that he has a chin that has been tested and WILL NOT stand up against the best P4P boxers in the world. He's good, he's maybe European good, but he is not world class.....yet, or if ever, Please see for reference Prince Naseem VS Marco Antonio Barrera another great hopeful that received a boxing lesson, as Amir will if he faces Pacman.

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posted Jun 23, 2008

I think that the time is not right for Amir to take on PacMan. Just like BrilliantMightyMick commented.

Prince Naseem was a brilliant fighter but when he came up against Barrera he was found wanting.

On the other hand Barrera dodged Scott Harrison for a long time and he never got to fight him in the end.

There is a feeling however that Amir has a long way to be the finished article and dont believe that this is the right time for him to step with the big boys just yet. I think he needs to have more of these lessons and scares for him to truely understant the sport.

AFTER HE HAS SERVED HIS APPRENTICESHIP THEN HE WILL GO ON TO BE A GREAT. BUT NOT YET

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posted Jun 23, 2008

Well said both of you (brilliantmightymick&djfervibe). I belive the same about khan at the moment

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posted Jun 24, 2008

I agree about Khan but not about Hamed who I believe was world class. I purley believe that he lost his hunger and edge for the Barrera fight - whilst Barrera was training like a demon, going old school, rocky style, Hamed was taking photo shoots, worrying about his hairdressor from South America coming over etc etc....

Barrera did teach him a lesson but their preparation for the fights were world apart and in the end Hamed lacked the dicipline and the hunger to stay at the top - talent wise I believe he was very good and he also had a strong jaw. Anyway... nevermind....

Khan has a long way to go - Manny would eat him alive right now....

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comment by poyipp (U12369531)

posted Jun 24, 2008

I think people are being too hard on Khan. He has not yet had 20 fights and is only 21. Regardless of his suspect jaw, his attacking skills and speed have been totally different class to all his opponents. I think even world class operators would be wary of of his ability to unload with crisp powerfull heads shots. Khan is not at the required level yet to claim a world championship but I have no doubt he will be. What he needs is a tough trainer and tougher opponents, build him up gradually and he will improve. His chin may not be solid but if trained properly he should'nt have to take any clean hits anyway.
To compare him to harrison is stupid as he clearly has more talent. Too many are quick to slat him but even though caught with a shot he was up and finshed the job within 5. THis kid does have future but I agree it would be best served away from Warren and in the States, he must cut the apron strings.

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posted Jun 24, 2008

Yes maybe a tad hard on Khan - but the best fighters are at the top come 20, 21, 22.... the Pac Man was fighting for a belt at the age Khan is now.......

Maybe it's because he turned professional late - not sure.... I think he is strong, you can see that but he's no where near the level to be calling on world title shots - that is all.

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comment by drichy (U12469584)

posted Jun 24, 2008

i think people should wake up [no dis respect] if your old school youl remember the days of some top talent.amir khan is well over rated, fighting well past it has beens. nate campbell,pac,diaz, they would all send him home after 2 3 rounds max.the only time hell fight anyone like that is when there retiring. of course id love to see amir do it for england, but hes got no chin and carnt hit like the likes of pac, morales,barreas,campbell,diaz,hatton ect. the list goes on.ricky hatton is the best weve got so lets hope he doesnt rerire just yet.

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posted Aug 29, 2008

Amir Kahn needs to take a good look at himself in the mirror before he mentions himself in the same breath as Diaz and the Pac. Now he wants to fight Hatton, he makes these challenges because he knows they wont materialise. Hatton will retire soon so Amir will never have to face the music. The moment someone accepts his challenge, we'll see just what he's made of.

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