After last night's shocking stoppage defeat to Danny Garcia there are several reactions from the fans who were as insistent in their view that Khan would walk away with the victory as they were in their critique of how open and chinny the Bolton star was and has been as of late. The reactions range from shock to disappointment to sadness given how much bad luck has crossed King Khan's path within the last few months.
I think we should take away two important points from this loss that will ultimately define Amir Khan as a fighter going forward.
1. He's not a P4P talent and Never Will Be
I've said for about a year or so now that Amir Khan is a talented dazzling fighter who is as deceptively invincible as he is fast and explosive. He looks like a world beater who will never crack the top ten of any pound for pound list because despite having undeniable talent he lacks the intelligence, the ring awareness, IQ, and overall clever approach to win in ways outside of his speed and combination punching prowess. I don't expect Amir Khan to put different tools together like an Andre Ward who can beat you with boxing, speed and reflexes, but can also beat you with his mind and his ability to craft a plan and take away your strengths. Ward is unpredictable in that you never quite know how he's going to beat you even though you might think you have an idea going into a fight with him. Amir Khan is one of the most predictable fighters out there because outside of his speed and outside fighting there's not much else he can do effectively. He can't fight in a phone booth and he's not a very good defensive fighter in the true sense of the word.
Another thing I'm starting to notice is that no one fears his speed anymore. The blueprint for Amir Khan is to walk him down, time him and make him commit to fighting your fight, which apparently is easier done as it is said. As slow as Maidana, Peterson, and now Danny Garcia are, it's telling just how easily they hit Amir Khan when they fought him; a guy that fast shouldn't get hit with hard shots as easily as he does.
2. Cart Before Horse Syndrome
Amir Khan more than any other fighter I've seen the last two years suffers from a severe case of "Cart Before Horse Syndrome". In his case this seems like a chronic illness that has yet to be cured. He falls in love with his own hype, he's constantly talking about fighting Floyd Mayweather, apparently according to Angel Garcia all Khan and his team could talk about at the pre-fight presser were the number of endorsement deals Khan was getting. He comes off as a dismissive smug fighter who is more concerned about being a superstar outside the ring than inside.
It made me laugh when during an interview with Sky Sports Amir was asked about fighting fellow Brit Kell Brook. Khan dismissed the question by saying he was more famous in America than Kell was in the UK. Now i'm not the smartest guy on the planet but usually the famous fighters in America who have tons and tons of fans, at some point their fame and popularity is tested on something called Pay Per View. Amir Khan's been in America for how long? he's been fighting on HBO for how long? He's been on Lopez Tonight, endorsed by Reebok, trains in LA, and yet he's never headlined a major boxing PPV. I mean if Canelo Alvarez, who you could argue is loads more famous and popular than Amir Khan, if he hasn't been on PPV as a headliner than I don't understand this idea that Amir Khan was a star. He was a name, not a super star or even a star; big difference.
Hopefully Amir will start to focus more on improving as he is an obviously and now twice exposed flawed fighter with little regard for how much you should value your ring intelligence. Skill will always prevail because if a guy has skill over another guy then there's no argument. But stupidity and lack of a ring IQ can and often derails even the most naturally gifted fighter.
When you have these lapses in judgement sooner or later when your skill starts to recede you're going to need something to fall back on. Roy Jones has all the skill in the world but when those god given gifts starting to fail him due to age he couldn't past the smell test. However Bernard Hopkins was able to last decades into new eras dethroning young champions and denying father time because B-Hop is an all time great when it comes to craftiness, ring awareness, IQ, experience, and knowing how to precisely render an opponent with the proper use of your boxing brain. Hop never had the apparent skill of Roy Jones Jr. but he understood the ins and outs of boxing and use it to his advantage.
Here are a few things Khan can do to bounce back:
1. Leave Freddy Roach, hire a trainer that can teach you how to fight inside
2. Learn the basics of defense and intelligent fighting. Reflexes aren't enough
3. Drop the big crew and focus on being a great fighter, not a superstar
4. You thought you arrived when you came over here from the UK, as most UK fighters tend to do they play a role and fall for the spotlight.
5. Learn how to respect your opponent beforehand so you won't have to respect them when you lose.
If he can follow those five points then he'll bounce back and put all this stuff behind him. I don't think 147 is a place he should venture until 2013. Berto, Ortiz, Alexander, Bailey, Brook, Pacquiao, and to some extent Mayweather all have the power to either knock him out or touch him something horrible.
So what do you guys think? Is it a matter of him constantly putting the cart before the horse and simply overlooking his opponents or is this who Amir Khan is at the end of the day, a flawed fighter who will never reach the absolute peak of the mountain? You know sort of like a double edged sword in a sense because he's very talented but very vulnerable and very beatable at the same time.
And no, Khan doesn't deserve a rematch because he was sparked and there's no sense in a second fight if you got sparked in the first one. I don't know why Freddie Roach threw that out there, perhaps he was just grasping for straws.