If I Were a Boxing Matchmaker: Amir Khan

I pick his best matchups
Source: Independent

Howdy folks. Today I’d like to discuss some potential bouts to go after for a man who is past his prime, but still has some talent left to show.

Amir “King” Khan 34-5 (21 KOs)

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Beginning his career back in 2005, Amir Khan started out with 18 consecutive victories before his unexpected upset loss to another young 19-0 prospect of the time, Breidis Prescott. Following that tough defeat, Khan went on another winning streak of 8 straight wins, tallying respectable wins over Hall of Famer Marco Antonio Barrera (not in his prime), Andriy Kotelnik, Dmitriy Salita, Paul Malignaggi, Marcos Maidana, Paul McCloskey and Zab Judah, before being defeated by a skilled Lamont Peterson by split decision and then another defeat to another talented young man in Danny Garcia. He then reeled off five more victories against respectable opposition in Carlos Molina, Julio Diaz, Luis Collazo, Devon Alexander and Chris Algieri.

He then took a leap of faith by jumping up two weight classes to square off with Saul Alvarez at middleweight. Khan did really well in that fight, possibly even winning prior to the highlight reel knockout that put Khan’s lights out. On a comeback trail, Khan has won three out of four bouts since 2016, one being a loss to undefeated Terence Crawford. Amir Khan is certainly not in prime form anymore, but he still is a very talented boxer, who deserves a tremendous amount of credit. Khan was correct when he so passionately stated after the Canelo match that guys like him deserve respect for wanting to take on the best fighters at any given time. He has most definitely earned a great deal of respect from me and I’m sure many other fight fans. Especially the ones who have actually been in the ring, who understand the sacrifices you go through trying to be the best, or even just a good contender in such a complex and complicated sport.

Every man has their specific talent and skill-sets, which is the beauty of boxing. The old saying goes “styles make fights”. Khan may not have the sturdiest chin in the world, but he most definitely has the speed and combination punching to give anybody in the boxing industry a world of trouble. Khan probably isn’t in any position to demand the best fighters in the world at this given time, but he should be strongly considered by many, if they are taking a lesser opponent before a more desirable bout for the fans. Yet, keeping in mind that styles do make fights and Khan has the potential to upset some of the more well-known men in the sport.

Let’s figure out what matchups can still possibly be feasible for Amir, while still considering the entertainment value, along with getting him paid properly for his services.

#1 Matchup: Manny Pacquaio 62-7-2 (39 KOs)

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“Pac Man” would clear and away be the most significant match to try to make happen today. The most obvious reason being the money. The second would be the international attention. The next would be the opportunity to prove that he can beat the living legend, even at his elder age. Pacquiao is currently the WBA titleholder and a legitimate top-5 welterweight. This bout has been discussed since the days of both men being trained by Freddie Roach at the Wildcard gym and all of their sparring sessions. Now, if any, would be the proper time to get this signed on the dotted line. Spence is on the shelf, Pacquiao just defeated Thurman, Danny Garcia is fighting Ivan Redkach in January, and the talk of Mikey Garcia are gone for now, as he is signed to fight Jessie Vargas in February.

Crawford and Porter are the best options available and what we would prefer to see, but from an international perspective, this could draw more of a crowd than possibly the Porter bout and maybe even the Crawford match. This was also included on my Pacquaio matchmaker article and seems more suitable than ever. If Pac Man isn’t going to take on Crawford, or Porter right now, get this one going. He can fight Khan first, then decide on the other opponents after their conclusions. There is money to be made here and it could be sold anywhere from Las Vegas, to China, to the UK, Saudi Arabia (if they want to keep throwing around hundreds of millions of dollars). Khan is of Pakistani decent. You name it and it’s probably possible.

#2 Matchup: Kell Brook 38-2 (26 KOs)

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These two have been back and forth for what seems like a lifetime now. They want to fight, they don’t want to fight. Catch-weights to gained weight limits. The negotiations have been in the works for years and still have not quite materialized. For Pete’s sake, JUST GET IT DONE AND OVER WITH ALREADY! It can easily be settled in the UK, as both men are from there. It would be a good payday for both of them, because the great UK fans will show up for their hometown men. It would also be a good fight stylistically. Khan clearly would have the advantage in speed and combination punching, but Brook has the upper hand in power and chin, so it would be a very intriguing matchup. Not to mention, they are both in similar circumstances. They are both a little past their best days, but still looking for the opportunity to prove their worth in the sport. Everything lines up and makes perfect sense. They really don’t need to be fighting guys like a massively undersized Billy Dib. Come to an agreement and make it happen.

#3 Matchup: Adrien Broner 33-4-1 (24 KOs)

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I don’t usually like to mention Adrien Broner’s name for much of anything because I can’t stand him and to be honest, I hope he never really gets a chance to fight anybody again. However, he does make for good matchups against middle of the road guys like Amir Khan because Broner is a talented fighter, just not as phenomenal as he thinks he is. This kind of fight makes a lot of sense, considering the track records and their current status in the sport. Both are solid contenders, but probably not world level anymore. Both can produce a fan base to fill the seats and stylistically it could be entertaining. Khan can use his quick hands to fluster Broner and Broner would actually need to move his hands in order to have a chance to stop Khan. Those would be the questions that need to be answered. Both of them have enough of a crowd pull to put this together as a main event and make some good money. It could be set up in New York.

#4 Matchup: Liam Smith 28-2-1 (16 KOs)

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There are plenty of options for Khan around 147 and 154 to matchup against some solid local U.K. guys. Knowing this would be put together at super welterweight, it gives Khan an opportunity to show his worth in a different division. I think he has a better chance to be a player at 154 than he does at 147, simply because the division is weaker. I don’t usually encourage boxers to do that, unless you’re at a stage similar to Khan. He has proven himself in the sport and deserves more options. Guys who are still younger in the sport should be fighting the best of the best in their specific weight class, especially when they haven’t proven their status as an elite talent against other elite fighters.

For Khan he can look for boxers who have a solid reputation, like Smith who can generate a large enough crowd to get them both a good payday and a chance to prove where they stand in the division as future contenders. Liam Smith is a reputable name who shows up for the crowd every time. He is not known to be a big puncher, which is a plus for Khan, but he is a good boxer with a wide variety of skills. It would be interesting to see if Khan can outwork “Beefy” with his speedy combinations, or if Smith can counter effectively enough to cause major problems for Amir. Somewhere in the U.K. would be a perfect landing spot.

#5 Matchup: Sadam Ali 27-3 (14 KOs)

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These two men are very similar in terms of styles and how their careers have played out. Ali hasn’t quite had the level of competition that Khan has, but they have both had their fair share of upsets and big blowouts with brutal knockouts. This could produce some major entertainment. They are both very fast and throw good technically solid punches. Ali is a very good boxer-mover at range, while Khan is a slightly aggressive boxer from the middle of the ring. We could potentially end up seeing approximately 10 to 12 awkward looking knockdowns in this bout, or just one very awkward knockout, due to the brittle chins on both of these guys. They are both looking for the next step to resurrect their careers and this is a perfect opportunity for both to do that. This would be perfect in New York, or the U.K.

Another couple potential opponents are Jessie Vargas or Erislandy Lara.

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