When you're the champion, you have to put up with a lot of people taking swipes. The fight ends and the crowd cheer, you hold your new belt up for the world to see and it feels like everyone is smiling with you. That doesn't last long; soon out come the trash talkers and the people who think you are overrated and could beat you in the first round.
Amir Khan, IBF and WBA World Light Welweterwiehgt Champion, has had this exact experience. Ever since he beat Andreas Kotelnik to the WBA title in 2009, King Khan has been offered fights left, right and centre. When he steps up, he wins. If he chooses not to take a fight, he is "running scared". If Khan got in the ring every time he was offered out, he would die of exhausation.
Lately the amount of people mentioning Khan's name as a future opponent has intensified. Khan's convincing, though controversial, win over Zab Judah has put him firmly at the top of the Light Welterweight division, meaning those below him use him as their target. He is a goal to them; they will consider themselves successfull if they beat Amir Khan.
It doesn't stop in his own divison either. After his next figtht, Khan intendes to move up to the Welterweight class. He isn't even there yet and he has people planning to fight him, some just using his name to publicize themselves. I have already covered the most likely opponents for Amir Khan here. In this post, I am going to look at his most unlikely future opponents.
1) Marcos Maidana
28 Years Old Light Welterweight 30 Wins (27 KOs) 2 Losses
Marcos Maidana loves to talk up a fight. Until very recently, all his talk was centred around his upcoming fight with Robert Guerro. Once Guerro pulled out with a shoulder injury, Maidana had to change subjects and he started trying to get Khan in the ring. He told Ringtv:
"I don't believe this big mouth has the courage to fight me again. He keeps fooling his own fans by making excuses all the time."
These are big words, especially from someone Khan already beat. The two met at Mandalay Bay on December 11th 2010, with Khan winning a unanimous decision. It was named fight of the year, and was a close one. Maidana made a good account of himself, especially in the last few rounds where he rocked the kid from Bolton. Khan does not want to go back there.
King Khan only has one more fight left at Light Welterweight and it will not be with Marcos Maidana. Instead, he wants to chase another title before he leaves the division. Khan has said:
"I’ll fight anyone, but I really want to fight the winner of Morales and (Lucas) Matthysse. That would be another title in the bank."
2) Zab Judah
33 Years Old
41 Wins (28 KOs)
On July 23rd 2011, Khan beat Zab Judah by 5th round knockout to claim the IBF World Light Welterweight title. It is a fight surrounded by controversy, with Judah claiming that Khan's knockout body shot was a low blow. At the time of the fight, from a limited perspective, it did look low. Subsequent replays show it was on the belt line or slightly above and Judah looked to have his trunks pulled up higher than normal. Not to be deterred by evidence, Judah wants a rematch with Khan.
Judah and his team have now filed a protest over the result of his last fight. They claim that it was definately a low blow, and that referee Vic Drakulich was not in a position to see the punch for what it was. It is hard to imagine his protest going anywhere, and even if it did, Judah doesn't deserve a rematch. He was out-boxed through all the ,admittedly short, fight. He didn't punch enough to worry Khan in the slightest, and following this win Khan's profile is raised sufficiently for him to get better fights.
Khan won't fight Judah again and Zab Judah doesn't deserve it.
3) Kell Brook
25 Years Old
24 Wins (16 KOs)
Here is where Khan's move up in weight class comes into play. It is his stated goal to move up to welterweight, a division in which British fighter Kell Brook and Matthew Hatton are also trying to win titles. Brook, 25, is undefeated after twenty four fights and he holds the WBA Intercontinental Welterweight title. He shows a lot of promise and has proved it in the ring so far, albeit not against a world class opponent. Despite his lack of big fights, Brook still thinks he is ready to face Amir Khan.
Brook recently told the media he wants to fight the current British number one. Not only that, but he will only deign do it if the purse is split straight down the middle. Obviously he is not actually in a position to make such demands, and he seems to realize that himself. Brook has decided that he will win a world title at welterweight and that way, when Khan joins him in the divison Brook will be his first opponent.
If that were true, if Brook won a world title, this fight would actually be pretty likely. It would be a tough test but Khan would come through it with another world title in his hands, allowing him to set up a bigger match with Floyd Mayweather. This is Khan's ultimate dream, and the fight his team are moving him toward. However, Brook will most likely not have a world title in time for Khan's move into the division. What is more probable is that Khan comes up against Victor Ortiz, Andre Berto or Jan Zaveck.
4) Matthew Hatton
30 Years Old
42 Wins (16 KOs)
Thirty year old Matthew Hatton, brother of Ricky "The Hitman", is trying claw out success in the Welterweight division. He is the current IBF International champion, having recently beaten little-known Andrei Ambramenka at the Tower Circus in Blackpool.
Hatton has grand ambitions, both for a world title and to get out of his more famous brother's shadow. He is a talented boxer, though he has never beaten anyone world-class. He fought Saul Alvarez on March 5th but he lost by unanimous decision, not offering much in the way of a threat. Lasting the duration did earn him some credibility, but it didn't do his world title ambitions any favors.
Despite this, he wants Khan. He recently said of a fight with Amir Khan:
“He has cleared up in the light-welterweight division and has spoken about moving up to welterweight which is where I compete so, if I can get hold of one of the titles, it’s a natural fight and it’s something I am very keen to do."
In the near future, this isn't a fight Khan should have on his radar. It would certainly bring in a lot of money in the UK, with both fighters having a large following, but world-wide it wouldn't bring Khan a lot of respect. Khan isn't too keen on the fight either, prefering instead to focus on his ambition of getting in the ring with undefeated Floyd Mayweather.
5) Wladimir Klitschko
35 Years Old
56 Wins (49 KOs)
I threw Wladimir in for the hell of it. At least in the unlikely event Amir Khan ends up fighting all of the above, I can be sure that at least one on the list was correct.
So now it is over to you. Can you see Khan fighting any of these guys? Or do you agree that Khan won't be meeting any of these in the ring any time soon? Let me know.
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