TSS Universe, what say you? Is Khan on a path to the P4P pinnacle? Or do you see fatal flaws in his arsenal? Tell us in the Forum. (Hogan)
Prior to Amir Khan's Dec. 11 faceoff with Marcos Maidana, I decided that in that fight, Khan would make a statement in that bout, and cement himself into the top ten of the pound for pound list.
The fight was a fan-friendly thriller, with Khan escaping, essentially, with a UD12, after he needing to summon every ounce of his will survive a brutal round ten.
But no, Khan didn't leap up the ranks with the win, emerge as a certain next generation superstar in a sport which is in need of replacement heroes for their aging all-stars.
Khan (24-1 with 17 KOs) might have, arguably, slipped another notch last weekend, when Maidana had a difficult time with 34-year-old, thought to be far past his prime, Erik Morales. You could make a case for downgrading Maidana as a talent based on that showing, and thus, ask yourself what it means that Khan, who is by all accounts supposed to be on the short list of boxing's megastars by 2012, had so many iffy moments against him?
The WBA junior welter champ Khan, you probably know, is set to glove up at M.E.N. in Manchester, England, on Saturday, and it must be said, there is a distinct lack of buzz surrounding his fight. Seriously, can you name his opponent?
It's one Paul McCloskey, a 22-0 Irishman with mediocre pop, just 12 KOs since turning pro in 2005. Cesar Bazan is the best known scalp on the resume of the 31-year-old from Derry.
I say a distinct lack of buzz, and I mean here in the States. The buzz over there isn't appreciable, either. The bout was set for PPV, but late last week disappointing pre-sales forced the organizers to dump the bout onto free TV, to the Sky network, albeit the lowest tier Sky 3. Team Khan nixed that, and instead placed Khan-McCloskey on a lesser grade PPV channel, Primetime, which isn't offered as widely. It's possible no more than 10,000 homes will screen the fight, and if that occurs, that's a straight on fiasco.
Golden Boy, Khan's promoter, cannot be happy that the boxer's momentum has ground to a virtual halt. They've taken a hit from McCloskey's promoter, Eddie Hearn, who says that Khan will lose out on around 1.5 million pounds because his bout will be shown on the minor-league PPV channel. Oscar De la Hoya countered, saying HBO is cutting Khan a nice check, thank you very much, so it's not like the kid is fighting for free on Saturday.
That's true. But this reads to me like a wasted date for the 24-year-old Khan. Sure, he'll bank some cash. But a win over a no-name won't build his rep. And one has to wonder if his team believes in him like we thought they did, or they have tabbed the southpaw McCloskey because they think Amir needed some more time to develop after holes were spotted against Maidana. I, in my inexpert opinion, grimace a bit when I see Khan get on his bike, and work so hard to get out of range when he gets into trouble. You'd like to see him, if he is to be the pound for pounder we expect, simply weather the storm with rolls, slips, feints…instead of using so much energy moving laterally out of harm's way.
That said, Khan is just 24. We keyboard tappers do tend to rush things, get ahead of ourselves, lack the patience to let situations play out and fighters get the seasoning they need. Maybe this outing is just a mini speedbump, and Khan will proceed smoothly in the second half of the year, with a fight against WBC/WBO titlist Tim Bradley, to where I thought he'd be–in the pound for pound top ten.
I am less certain that will happen now than I was last winter. What about you, TSS Universe?
Weigh in, in our Forum!
FOLLOW WOODS ON TWITTEER here http://twitter.com/#!/Woodsy1069