Is Amir Khan the Most Hated Boxer In The UK?
By William Mackay: Rightly or wrongly, lightweight Amir Khan (20-1, 15 KOs) is making his first title challenge on June 27th against Ukrainian Andriy Kotelnik (31-2-1, 13 KOs), the World Boxing Association light welterweight champion. Under most circumstances, this should be a moment that’s looked forward to by most British boxing fans due to Khan, the 2004 Olympic Silver Medalist for Britain, getting such a fast shot at the title in his career.
However, Khan seems to be under fire by many fans that level criticism at him that he’s dodging the best lightweight talent in the division. But more than that, they seem to have a general dislike of him as a whole, and not just because he was blown out in the 1st round by Colombian Breidis Prescott last year.
Khan, 22, was receiving a great deal of negative publicity even before that fight by fans and writers, some of it because of his shaky chin at times and others because of his so-called weak opposition. I think most of it is unfair to be honest. I’ve checked the early records of Joe Calzaghe and Ricky Hatton, both of which were fighting mostly soft opponents through four years of their professional boxing career.
So, if it was okay for them to fight lower level opponents, then why isn’t it okay for Khan? I think he’s proven that the loss to Prescott was a fluke thing in Amir’s recent 5th round technical decision victory over Marco Antonio Barrera. When Khan is fighting smart and thinking defensively, there’s few better fighters than him in the sport.
So, is there a fighter that is more hated than Khan in the UK, and if so, who? I can’t think any fighter that is as polarizing as Amir Khan, and it just seems so odd that he’s been the one that’s getting so much abuse. Is it that the UK eats their young?
I remember all the abuse that Audley Harrison, another Olympic Gold Medal winner for Britain, took from the British public early in his career. Why was that? It seemed unfair because he was being pushed much too fast for the skills that he needed to learn. Harrison seemed to never get a chance by many fans, as they ripped him to shreds even at the very infancy of his pro career.
Now that James DeGale has emerged as another Gold Medal winner for Britain from the 2008 Olympics, he’s receiving a similar fate. However, none of those fighters are criticized as much as Amir Khan. He holds a special place for many fans who take pleasure seemingly in blasting him and questioning his talent.
I wonder what they’ll say when Khan defeats Kotelnik and wins the WBA title? My guess is that even then Khan won’t get much credit for it.
Khan has received a lot of attacks recently because he’s chosen to jump at the chance to move up to the light welterweight division and get a title shot against Kotelnik.
Why on Earth should Khan be criticized for this I ask you? If he had stayed at lightweight, he wasn’t going to get a title shot for at least year so he did the wise thing and moved up for an opportunity. Fighters do it all the time and don’t face abuse, yet Khan is vilified for doing so.
If there’s a fighter in the UK that is hated more than Khan, I don’t know who they are because his name seems to be first and foremost when getting skewered by fans. It’s not right and I think British fans have become spoiled by Ricky Hatton and Calzaghe’s success and not remembered how long it took them to get to where they achieved anything.