Amir Khan was largely expected to chalk up an easy victory against Julio Diaz on Saturday, yet it was far more complicated than that for the British star.
Khan was pushed all the way by Diaz, who shouldn't have been a big test on the night. Whilst Khan did manage to emerge with a unanimous decision in hand, it certainly wasn't the dominant performance that many were expecting, with Diaz rocking Khan several times throughout the fight.
This was supposed to be Khan's big step up towards the big time. All this fight showed was that the Englishman is a long way from getting his name in the bright lights of America and fielding plenty of fight offers.
Khan thinks he'll get those now, but it's hard to see him thriving against some of the bigger stars if he fights the way he did against Diaz on Saturday.
Coming off back-to-back losses, Khan was unable to topple a 33-year-old who had chalked up six years since his IBF lightweight championship.
What's more, he gave him plenty of opportunities to end the fight, with Diaz knocking him down once and rocking him several times.
Had Diaz been better at finishing opponents, and had stronger hand and foot speed, he'd have surely defeated Khan here. If Khan tries to take on other fighters in the division and fights like he did here, they won't fail to capitalize on the opportunities that Diaz did.
They'll make sure Khan isn't able to get back up.
Simply put, there's no way that Khan could beat Lucas Matthysse now, let alone any of the fighters that are awaiting him if he moves up to 147 pounds.
He must make major changes to his fighting style and defense, and needs to ensure that his heart is not bigger than his chin. Khan seemingly recognizes this, as he admitted to a news conference after the fight (via The Express Tribune).
I know there’s a lot of improvement still to be made...
I’m probably going to fly over to San Francisco between fights now and do a mini-camp so we can work on things that need to be improved upon. I’m going to spend more time there. The more time I spend with Virgil, the better I will get.
I know what mistakes I made.
The recognition is a good start from Khan, who will no doubt benefit from having Virgil Hunter in his corner. However, unless the recognition turns into action from Khan, and we start to see changes regarding his lackadaisical approach and defense, then the results are going to be the same.
He'll chalk up narrow, unconvincing wins over lesser-known fighters and then struggle on the big stage once more. We've seen it before and we'll see it again from Khan unless he can start to change.
Doing the same thing and expecting different results each time isn't going to work for the British superstar. That's just what they call insanity.
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