By Clive Bernath: As soon as Breidis Prescott rendered Amir Khan unconscious with a thunderous left hook in September 2008 it looked as though the Olympic silver medallist’s highly promising career was pretty much over before it had even started. But less than two years later the 23 year-old has not only proved all the doubters wrong and won a genuine world title he now stands to become a huge box office star in the USA.
Following his Impressive 11th round tko win over Paulie Malignaggi on his US debut last weekend HBO’s Vice President of programming Kery Davis said: "Amir has an extremely intelligent style. Speed sells, power sells, explosiveness sells and he has all of those things."
Impressive words indeed from one of the most powerful men responsible for delivering top class boxing to HBO’s customer base. And with a serious pool of American champions and contenders lining up to face him it looks like ‘King’ Khan is set to feature on American tv screens for some time to come.
Khan has made no secret of the fact that he will be seeking unification fights with WBC/WBO king Timothy Bradley, WBA champ Devon Alexander and Argentine WBA interim titleholder Marcos Maidana. Khan has even asked for a box off between all of them to find out who is the No.1 140lbs fighter on the planet. So far the top spot is generally accepted to be occupied by the undefeated Bradley, who faces unbeaten Argentine Luis Carlos Aberegu in Rancho Mirage, California on July 17.
There are plenty of options for the British fighter, who could find himself back in the ring as soon as July, according to Khan’s father, Shah. Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Shah said: "If we get the dates we will do it. It is possible. We can get him ready in the short time and then he can have a break after Ramadan. We want him to fight three times a year."
However, with Bradley already boxing in July, Maidana sidelined with a back injury and Devon Alexander scheduled to fight in August, Khan’s promoter Richard Schaefer, the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions has hinted Australian tough guy Michael Katsidis may be next.
The Australian WBO interim lightweight king impressively dismantled the previously unbeaten Kevin Mitchell inside three rounds last weekend and may look to entice Katsidis to move up to 140lbs. "There are so many possibilities and we have many big names at 140lbs. Michael Katsidis has just had a spectacular performance in England and he is an option." Insisted Schaefer.
There is of course the fact that Khan has just completed 11 tough rounds of world championship boxing and two months rest before he fights again may not be enough time to recharge his batteries, according to his respected trainer Freddie Roach.
"It might be rushing it a little bit for July," said Roach. "I’d like a little bit longer to get him ready, but he will be OK. If I was getting him ready for a major, major world-title fight then July would be too soon, but we can do it."
If I or any other boxing writer had said after the defeat to Prescott that in two years time Khan would be stepping up a division, win a world title, headline at Madison Square Garden and emerge as a potential box office star on HBO, you may well have sent for the men in white coats to cart me away.
I accept that Khan still has a long way to go to emulate the success of Lennox Lewis, Ricky Hatton, Joe Calzaghe and Naseem Hamed but last Saturday night In New York the boy from Bolton set the foundations to adding his name to the list of British fighters that successfully conquered the notoriously tough US market.
May 18, 2010