THE biggest surprise tonight (April 21) in Liverpool was the sight of Amir Khan’s new trainer, Joe Goossen, wearing a tracksuit rather than his usual show-stopping fight night attire.
As for the main event, a 39-second demolition of Phil Lo Greco was not only what Amir Khan needed, especially with rival Kell Brook situated at ringside, but exactly what he should be doing to opponents of Lo Greco’s calibre.
The so-called ‘Italian Sensation’ had previously been stopped in three rounds by Errol Spence, as well as lost to Shawn Porter and Joseph Elegele, and boasted nothing on his 28-3 (15) professional record that suggested he’d trouble Khan, let alone defeat him. And so it proved.
Seconds into the fight, Khan cracked the Canadian with a swift right hand that forced him to take a knee. Dazed, he then managed to get to his feet, and tried to continue, but a follow-up flurry of punches, all churned out within the fight’s opening minute, finished proceedings before they had even started.
Tellingly, the crowd, rather than criticise the mismatch, embraced Khan and celebrated the quick nature of his victory. They seemed happy he is back. More than that, they seemed happy about the prospect of Khan and Kell Brook remaining on a collision course to fight each other at some point in 2018.
“I’ve been out the ring for two years,” said the 31-year-old Khan. “I was still in the gym training hard. I had the hand operation and the hand felt good in the fight.
“I wanted to prove a point. I didn’t want to go the distance.
“Fighting someone like Phil Lo Greco, he is a dangerous opponent for anyone. We had that little bit of an argument and misunderstanding at the press conference. I came in not thinking bad of him but wanting to do a job.
Although a first round knockout hardly indicates renewed patience, Khan admits his coach, Goossen, was keen for him to take his time and get some rounds under his belt.
“I wanted to box him,” said Khan, now 32-4 (19). “Joe Goossen said, ‘Don’t go looking for the knockout. Don’t go looking for the openings. You’ll see them.’ I saw the opening and finished him off.
“I was a little bit nervous coming back. I didn’t know how I was going to be after two years out the ring. But guess what? I’m back with a bang.”
He is back. After two years, we know that much. There was also a bang of some description.
Other than that, though, it’s hard to know what tonight meant, much less proved.