Danny Flexen explains why Amir Khan vs Adrien Broner makes sense for a pair who have recently fallen short at top level
While on the surface Amir Khan and Adrien Broner seem like very different people, there is far more that unites than divides them. Britain’s former unified 140lb champ may be better known for charity work and less so for misdemeanours than his counterpart, a four-division champion though that feat says a lot more about the proliferation of world titles than Broner’s ability or dedication. But both men have a certain child-like naivety, certainly a staunch self-belief that can at times border on delusion and a propensity to be cited for their behaviour outside the ring as much as in it. However, it is far more than their status as kindred spirits that makes an Amir Khan vs Adrien Broner fight eminently sensible.
It is arguable if either man ever was elite level, but there can be no reasonable argument against the fact they have regressed from their respective peaks. Despite the disappointing low-blow ending, Khan was found significantly wanting against pound-for-pound contender Terence Crawford back in April. That was his first defeat at welterweight and while the Bolton man bounced back against an undersized Billy Dib last month, he has not beaten a world-class opponent in over four years.
Similarly Broner is without a victory in his last three, albeit in good company, and is in that familiar spot of being good enough to beat the fringe contenders but not the very best.
Still box office
Broner, due to his notoriety and smack talk as much as anything else, remains a reliable draw on US television. His loss to Mikey Garcia averaged almost 900,000 viewers, the draw with Jessie Vargas just under 800,000 and the ppv reverse against Manny Pacquiao garnered over 400,000 buys, no mean feat in the current marketplace. Broner can lose in abject fashion yet still retain his drawing power; it’s an enviable position to be in.
Khan cannot claim those kind of figures but remains a significant crossover name given his long career in the spotlight and various extracurricular exploits. A Muslim of Pakistani origin, Amir is particularly popular in Asia and the Middle East. This was illustrated by the reported £7m he was promised to fight in Saudi Arabia last month, although how much of that he actually received is open to debate. Having spent long periods of his career training and fighting in America, Khan has some status in the US, which is almost certainly where this fight would take place.
Can afford a loss
This isn’t a ’loser must retire’ fight, which may be the case should either fighter fall to a fast-rising prospect or contender they’d have beaten in their prime. Neither is a concussive, one-punch banger, especially not at 147lbs, and Broner has never been stopped, so a distance fight looks likely. They can each survive a points defeat to a boxer, and attraction, of a similar level. In the best-case scenario, styles mesh to produce a closely contested classic with a contentious verdict and they can rematch or even create a trilogy. As safe a way as any other in boxing to bank some coin.