Amir Khan: The Next Big Thing In Boxing

Joe OneillCorrespondent IIDecember 28, 2009

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 05:  Amir Khan gets ready before his fight against Dmitriy Salita of the U.S. for the WBA Light Welterweight title on December 5, 2009 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.  (Photo by John Gichigi/Getty Images)
John Gichigi/Getty Images

Fighting out of Great Britain with a lineage of Pakistani descent, Amir Khan could be headed for greatness.

He won the WBA World Light-Welterweight championship at the tender age of 22 in July, 2009. He then demolished Dmitry Samita in round one in a title defense in December. His most significant win came over Marco Antonio Barrera in early January, 2009.

Kahn is trained by the great Freddy Roach.

Roach has even come out and said Khan could eventually move up in weight and be as impressive as Manny Pacquiao (no small accolades).

His record is an impressive 22-1 with 16 knockouts. He's a very, very active fighter with great hand speed, excellent defense, and good power.

He's a good looking guy (just ask Oscar De La Hoya if it hurts to be handsome in the sport of boxing). He's articulate, humble, and exceedingly polite.

He's also a practicing Muslim.

It's this last bit that could propel Amir Khan to a world stage. Already, his fight with Samita was promoted in Britain, by the more unscrupulous scribes, as a war between Muslims and Jews (to his credit, Khan refused to even comment along these lines).

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

Undoubtedly his faith will become a bigger story as he engages bigger name fighters.

Yes, the more idiotic in the media will jump on that bandwagon. The more ignorant fans will look at Khan as a representative of Al Queda.

Like it or not, big fights have sometimes gotten political and cultural. It dates back to the days of Joe Louis and Jack Johnson and what their battles represented for, and against, the white establishment. The old wars between Irish and Italian fighters brought out the best and worst of those cultures. Adolf Hitler used Max Schmelling as an example of Nazi greatness (until he was knocked out by Joe Louis).

Ali was a representative of civil rights when he refused to enter the draft for the Vietnam war. His fight against George Frazier seemed to, in some ways, pit the old conservative ways against the new liberalism.

Even now, Manny Pacquiao is literally bringing up the spirits of an entire nation with each of his wins.

Amir Khan could find himself in the middle of such a squall.

Let's face it, the current state of affairs between many Muslims and the US (and even Europe) isn't exactly copacetic. What the world needs now is more olive branches.

A boxing match, or matches, could help ease some of that tension.

The rumor is that Khan will next fight Ricky Hatton in his native Britain. That would be a brilliant fight for Khan. Hatton might be a cooked fighter, but his name still brings people to the gate and PPV buys. The US audience is familiar with Hatton and might tune in to see him fight.

I don't see Hatton lasting longer than 10 rounds against Khan, much less beating him.

This, of course, could set the stage for some very big fights against the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Jr., Paul Williams, or even Sugar Shane Mosley.

The fact that he's being trained by Roach should scare even the most confident of challengers. Roach is, by all measurements, the standard of which all other trainers are measured. He quite frankly knows how to win fights and build champions.

Expect Khan to fight a mega-fight in late 2010 or early 2011. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. would probably love to give him a title shot. He's perfect for Floyd. He's not a knockout puncher, he's lighter than Floyd, and he's somewhat inexperienced.

I personally believe Khan needs some more seasoning before he steps in with the likes of the world-class fighters. Perhaps someone like a Marquez or Zab Judah. They are very good fighters, very dangerous, but with some definite weaknesses.

slash iconYour sports. Delivered.

Enjoy our content? Join our newsletter to get the latest in sports news delivered straight to your inbox!