YOU know it’s a mismatch – all right, let’s settle on tune-up – when the majority of questions a boxer faces during fight week concern not the immediate challenge but ones up ahead, and it’s true Amir Khan should come through the test of Colombian Samuel Vargas this Saturday (September 8) in Birmingham with very little difficulty.
That’s not to say Vargas is a pushover, nor is it meant to undermine his ability to win the fight. But, certainly, Saturday’s fight is one built to specification for Khan; one he should win and win well; one that is simply meant to lead to bigger and better further down the line.
The Big One, of course, is showdown with domestic rival Kell Brook. That fight has been teased for several years now but, to the annoyance of British fans, has still come nowhere near happening. There is also a potential clash with Manny Pacquiao, one-time Khan training partner, who is still going strong at 39 years of age and recently stopped Lucas Matthysse in seven rounds.
Frankly, at this point, with Khan’s bar set painfully low, either will do.
“They are both massive fights,” Khan, 31, told the Daily Mail. “With Manny it could be this winter in the Far East or Middle East.
“With Kell, maybe a stadium fight next spring. Since he is on record saying he will come back to 147 lbs there is no reason that shouldn’t happen. I never duck anyone.
“It is my ambition to win a third maybe fourth world title and I’d go back to America to fight any of them. I always want to prove myself against the best.”
There can be no question Khan is entitled to take the softly-softly approach to this comeback, his latest. Back in May 2016, he was badly knocked out in the sixth round of an ill-advised middleweight fight against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, which lead to a near-two-year hiatus, rumours of retirement, and finally an almost farcical 39-second slaying of Phil Lo Greco in April.
That, given the context, was fine, and so too is Saturday’s fight with Vargas. But stall any longer and it’s fair to say the patience of fans, those who remember Khan as a two-time former world champion, will start to wear thin. Worse than that, once-appealing fights will be well past their sell-by date.
At least Jarrell Miller is honest about his intentions as a heavyweight contender.
Unbeaten in 22 pro fights, Miller is clear about his plan and makes no bones about his desire to take the path of least resistance before money-spinning showdowns against the likes of Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte.
In conversation with Tha Boxing Voice, Miller said, “Even though Dillian Whyte’s fought nobody other than Joseph Parker, now he’s going to fight AJ again, supposedly in April. I’m going after Manuel Charr to get the WBA belt and then I’ll fight an English guy.”
Miller, ranked at four by the WBA, is aware the WBA title Charr holds is a title in name only and means little to anyone outside that organisation. A so-called ‘regular’ belt, trumped by the WBA ‘super’ one held by Anthony Joshua, Miller presumably couldn’t care less at this point. He sees it only as leverage; a bargaining chip. He also sees 33-year-old Charr, set to fight 45-year-old Fres Oquendo (inactive in four years) later this month, as a heavyweight he can bypass with very little difficulty.
“I want that WBA belt,” said Miller, who faces former light-heavyweight Tomasz Adamek in Chicago on October 6. “I get more bragging rights and I can take it from there.”
“He (Whyte) gets three, four easy fights and then fights Joseph Parker. I do want Dillian Whyte, but I want that Charr belt first. And if AJ is still being a (expletive), I’ll go fight Dillian Whyte and knock him out. But I want that Manuel Charr belt. You get more bargaining (power with the WBA title).
“I did a two-fight deal with DAZN: this fight (with Adamek) and the next fight. After this fight, it’s Manuel Charr next.”
If honesty is the best policy, here’s a little more: Adamek and Charr might represent a great DAZN deal for Jarrell Miller, 21-0-1 (18), but it means quite the opposite for anyone having to watch.