I CAN’T believe it has been six years since I was sat at ringside as a judge when a body hit the canvas with a thud in front of me. Breidis Prescott retired to a neutral corner as Amir Khan struggled to his feet trying to work out which planet he was on, and I thought to myself ‘That’s another English hopeful up the pictures’.
Amir has had another couple of setbacks since then, gone down a different route, and although he is in some exciting fights I didn’t worry too much about missing them. But on Saturday night, or Sunday morning as it was, I decided to have a look at Amir as nothing else of note was on TV, and boy am I glad I did.
The fight was in Las Vegas, America. The judges were three Americans. The referee was an American, and the opponent, Devon Alexander, was American. All these factors against Khan, yet he went out brimming with confidence, relaxed, and in pristine condition. I thought Amir took the first five rounds, there was a slim case of him losing the sixth – it was a very slim case – but he got back to the job in hand and bar the eighth, which I thought was Devon’s last hurrah, the Englishman was in total control. At the end of the 11th it was clear Alexander was a beaten man.
The commentators were telling us that Devon was going to go for broke, and try to take Khan out, but it was obvious he had nothing left in the tank. My uneasiness over the appointment of all US officials, among other things, was unnecessary as they only gave Devon two rounds between all three of them and the referee Robert Byrd was faultless. I do wonder if the British Boxing Board of Control asserted any pressure to try and get at least one neutral official. I saw the Board President Charles Giles at ringside,but if we couldn’t have some parity at least with the officials, I can’t see the need for a representative from the Board of Control to attend the fight, especially when his attendance costs money.
On Sunday Kell Brook was saying Khan should fight him next as he has put the hard yards in. Well, Kell son, you have put the hard yards in but so has Khan. After four years as a professional, Kell was the British welterweight champion whereas after the same time, Khan had claimed the WBA light-welterweight title – amongst others – after working his way back following that loss to Prescott. Admittedly, Khan was catapulted into the professional ranks with an Olympic silver medal, but he has dealt with high expectancy, come back from three defeats, and tested himself against the best – beating most – in their own backyards.
I know the readers will say Kell won his IBF title abroad in Carson, Calfornia with a great win over Shawn Porter but his overall body of work is inferior to Khan’s. The pairing of Khan against Brook is one to savour but let’s save it for the future. If Khan is in the same frame of mind and condition as he was last weekend Kell needs to leave him alone for a while, and let him fight Mayweather. Let Khan get a wee bit older, because at this moment I think he would beat Manny Pacquiao and I wouldn’t bet against him with Mayweather, either.