Can Khan re-invent himself?

  • By: Derek Bilton
  • Last Updated: January 6 2013, 19:56 GMT

Derek Bilton gives us his latest Sportinglife.com British pound-for-pound top 10 list.

Amir Khan: Back winning
Amir Khan: Back winning

Amir Khan got back in the winner's enclosure in December to end a troubled year on something of a high note.

Khan went into 2012 smarting following his controversial loss to Lamont Peterson at the back end of 2011 - the now infamous 'Man in the Hat' contest in Washington DC.

However things would get worse before they got better. Khan lost a split decision to Peterson in a fight many had him winning. However in July of last year he went in with the unbeaten but limited Danny Garcia and he was stunned in four crazy rounds.

Down once in the third and twice in round four before ref Kenny Bayless called a halt to the carnage, Khan's career looked well and truly in the balance at the age of just 25.

Inevitably Khan, rather than look inside himself for reasons for his third pro defeat or concede he'd been beaten by the better man on the night, simply made some noises about his preparation before eventually getting rid of trainer Freddie Roach (promising fans the whole thing was just a blip).

He has since teamed up with Virgil Hill and in truth he did look a more thoughtful, studious fighter as he picked apart Carlos Molina a few weeks before Christmas.

However Molina was made to order, a blown up lightweight with the sort of punch power than would struggle to take the salt off a peanut.

Team Khan seemed well impressed with their night's work in LA, however we will only see if the move to Hill has been worthwhile when Amir again goes in with a puncher.

To his credit Khan has called out Garcia and he is certain that if they met again it would be a totally different story.

It may well be, but I have a nagging doubt that if he was caught cleanly again Khan would revert to type.

Amir loves a war and while this means he will always be great to watch, it doesn't bode well in terms of career longevity, especially when we know he can come apart alarmingly when caught clean.

A fight with Kell Brook in 2013 looks a natural and right now I have Brook just above Khan in the 'pound-for-pound' stakes. We'll know more when 'The Special One' goes to America himself to box Devon Alexander. However I still feel Amir is a better fighter, 'pound-for-pound', than someone like Ricky Burns.

Burns did everything right in 2012 and scored that sensational win over Kevin Mitchell. But has the Scot beaten a fighter of the calibre of a Zab Judah or a Marcos Maidana (as Khan has) in his career to date? The simple answer to that is no.

Burns' career to date has been a lesson in persistence but at 29 'Rickster' now needs to take his show on the road and mix it with the other world champions at lightweight.

Adrien Broner of course will have to wait, with the magical American recently agreeing to fight Gavin Rees. It's a huge ask for Rees, but 'The Rock' has never ducked a challenge in his career and props to him for accepting such an assignment across the pond.

George Groves looked good in feasting on what is left of Glen Johnson recently, and Groves now looks a legitimate challenger to Car Froch, who was voted British Fighter of the Year by trade paper Boxing News the other week.

Froch v Groves would be an awesome domestic scrap where it to happen this year, as would Froch against Nathan Cleverly.

'Clev' stayed unbeaten in 2012 but for me lost a bit of ground after posting wins over less than stellar opposition in Tommy Karpency and Shawn Hawk.

At 25 the Welshman has time on his side but if he is serious about leaving a proper legacy in the sport, making serious money and, who knows, even one day topping our fabled list, his level of opposition will need to improve dramatically.

Sportinglife.com pound-for-pound British top 10:

1 Carl Froch

2 David Haye

3 Kell Brook

4 Amir Khan

5 Ricky Burns

6 Nathan Cleverly

7 David Price

8 Scott Quigg

9 Matthew Macklin

10 Tyson Fury

Honourable mentions: Gavin Rees, Carl Frampton, George Groves, Martin Murray and Tony Bellew.


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