Well, well, well. Amir Khan suffered another devastating loss at the hands of Danny Garcia this past weekend via Round 4 knockout.
Before I get into the specifics of this fight and the full-on exposure of Amir Khan, I would like to recognize Khan and Garcia and give them props for putting forth an excellent fight, as both fighters displayed tenacity and courage. Garcia should be given full credit for his performance and there should be no excuses for Khan. And to his credit, Khan fought with a lot of heart.
This last fight illustrates and reinforces what I have always thought about Khan. He, along with his trainer Freddie Roach, is overrated.
Garcia is an up-and-coming champion, blossoming into his own in front of our very eyes, but he is still green in a couple of areas in his game. Garcia did have major problems against a faded Mexican legend in Erik Morales prior to his meeting with Khan and was fortunate that youth was on his side, ultimately propelling him toward victory. Garcia throws many wide, looping, wild punches and needs to sharpen up on his defensive skills moving forward. But even with that said, Garcia displayed the ability to adjust and throw effective counterpunches, which ultimately led to his upset victory over Khan.
Khan is just a flashy, fast-handed fighter—that’s it. He fights like an amateur. His defense is terrible, he can’t fight going backward, can’t counterpunch, constantly leaves his chin exposed and lacks any kind of head movement. He actually fights a lot like Manny Pacquiao, minus the strong chin. In his fight against Garcia, most notably, Khan did not even move in and out of range consistently when he was on the offensive. He threw his combinations and then stayed in range for the incoming attack with his chin exposed as an easily accessible open target.
Many members of the British media say Khan is a brilliant technician, but I don’t see it. He has no command of his offense. He just throws random combinations and relies on his blistering hand speed to overwhelm his opponent.
His offense is predictable and at the elite level the top notch fighters usually expose one-dimensional fighters. His idea of defense is running around the ring and when he does engage up close he clinches illegally, often pushing down the head of his opponent or placing his opponent in some sort of wrestling headlock. Sometimes he’ll push off his opponent to avoid fighting on the inside altogether. These tactics are thoroughly displayed in most of his fights, especially in his recent fights against Garcia, Marcos Maidana and Lamont Peterson.
In regards to the Round 4 stoppage, many Khan supporters claim that the fight ended prematurely, but that statement is far from reality. The referee Kenny Bayless, who is generally regarded as one of the best in the business, actually helped Khan by providing him with more than enough time on multiple occasions to recover. I thought the fight should have been stopped after the first knockdown in Round 3 because after the initial knock down, Khan’s legs looked like noodles.
Now to Khan’s credit, I haven’t heard any excuses thus far for his performance.
“It wasn’t my night. After watching the replays a little bit, I thought I was coming in with my hands down and Danny took advantage,” said Khan in a post-fight interview (via The Telegraph). “I respect Danny, he was countering very well against me. We got a little complacent and he took advantage and caught me.”
There was nothing but honesty in that statement, but within that quote lies the problem. Khan claims to be amongst the elite and ready for the likes of Floyd Mayweather, Timothy Bradley and the Manny Pacquiao’s of the world, but he is getting countered and knocked out by Danny Garcia? He is supposed to be a brilliant technician, his supporters laud him as amazing ring general yet he is complacent inside the ring? Why would you even walk in with your hands down? Certainly a great trainer like Freddie Roach would have addressed these issues in training camp, right? Certainly adjustments would have been made in between rounds, correct? Apparently not.
Despite the terrible, biased HBO commentary, Khan was not as dominant as the commentators wanted the viewers to believe. Yes, Khan won Rounds 1 and 2 primarily based on his high punch output, but Garcia was coming very close to catching Khan with counter hooks and did actually
land some significant punches on Khan.
As the fight progressed, Garcia’s nerves settled, his timing and counterpunches improved and we saw what happened. But instead of giving the viewer insight on how the fight is transpiring so that they can see what is happening and actually digest both strategies implored by the fighters, the HBO commentary team focused on riding the coattails of their favorite fighters. They tried to persuade viewers to think a certain way, rather than delivering valuable, honest analysis.
As for the fight, Khan got off to a fast start by using his superior hand speed and throwing punches in bunches. But as the fight went on, Garcia was timing Khan coming in and throwing counterhooks. Garcia also attacked Khan’s body, which helped set up the counter left hook that sent Khan crashing to the canvas.
Khan has defensive deficiencies. Johnny Nelson, former boxing champion and current member of the Sky Sports boxing panel, alluded to Khan repeatedly catching left hooks in sparring leading up to the fight. And that goes back to Khan’s trainer Freddie Roach. Wouldn’t you think that Roach would address that problem?
Some people may bring up the absence of health and conditioning specialist Alex Ariza who in recent fights has been in Khan’s corner. He was absent for this fight and being as valuable as he is to the success of Amir Khan, it may be wise to resolve whatever issues they have going on and pay the man. The funny thing is that with Lamont Peterson and all of the other steroid busts recently in the sport of boxing—and the history of Alex Ariza and Freddie Roach being connected to fighters caught using steroids in the past—Ariza did not work in Khan’s corner for his recent defeat and look what happened? Whatever means or regiments Ariza implements with his fighters surely pays off, and Khan could use him in his corner right now.
Moving forward, it appears we have two fighters moving in two different directions. For Garcia, the sky is the limit and being one of boxing’s new brightest stars, he potentially has the option of going up against the likes of Zab Judah, Juan Manuel Marquez, Lucas Matthysse, Marcos Maidana, and whoever else is of relevance in the junior welterweight division. Even though Khan is coming off a string of disappointing performances from Peterson to Garcia, the star of Khan still illuminates. He is an exciting fighter win or lose, has a high profile and is still young enough in his career where he can overcome this recent set back.
On the road to recovery, Amir Khan should probably stop talking trash about Floyd Mayweather because every time he does, he ends up losing and he just sounds like an idiot.
“Styles make fights. I know Mayweather’s fought other styles and has looked so good against them, but he’s never fought anyone with my style, someone young, hungry, fit and strong who can punch,” said Khan.
Really, Amir? I could of sworn that Victor Ortiz was a young, hungry, power-punching fighter, and he got annihilated against Mayweather.
“I know I will cause Mayweather problems. He’s getting older and slower now. It’s the best time to catch him. I really do believe I have the style to beat him,” said Khan (via Boxing Scene).
Well Amir it appears you have been studying the philosophy of your trainer Freddie Roach. Chasing
after guys that are on the downside of their physical prowess is something that he has done for some of the other fighters he trains.
Even though Floyd is slowing down as each day passes, if you entered the ring with him, Amir, you would leave the ring in a body bag. Not like that fight is going to happen anyways, any chance of that blew up in smoke with the recent KO defeat.
Perhaps it is time for Khan to realize that he is not in Mayweather’s league. He is not in Pacquiao’s league or Carl Froch’s league. Hell, Khan is not even in Garcia’s league apparently. A rematch with Garcia is not likely and a campaign north in the welterweight division should be avoided.
There are some impressive victories on Khan’s resume, but they may be overshadowed by his devastating defeats. Although there is plenty of time for Khan to make a comeback and prove critics wrong. I think he will ultimately be considered a good fighter, but not the great fighter that lived up to the hype.