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Amir Khan vs. Rees In June?

Amir Khan Gavin ReesBy Nate Anderson: In the latest boxing news, former WBA light welterweight champion Gavin Rees (27-1, 13 KOs) is reportedly high on the list for future opponents for the undefeated Amir Khan’s (17-0, 13 KOs) next bout on June 21st. Previous to Rees recent 12th round TKO title loss to Andreas Kotelnik on March 22nd, there had been talk of a potential bout between Khan and Rees, but it had come to nothing, with Rees opting for a bout with the Ukrainian Kotelnik. Whatever the case, if Khan decides upon Rees as his next opponent, he’ll be taking tremendous leap up in competition for Rees is light years better than the easy C-level fodder that Khan has fought up to this point his career.

Rees, 27, is like a carbon copy replicate of Ricky Hatton, only without all the hype that Hatton has behind him. It would be a very tough matchup for Khan, who has shown to be a little chinny since turning professional in 2005. This would be a stern test for Khan’s tender chin and one guaranteed to see him take a lot of big shots from Rees. While Rees may be seven inches shorter than the 5’10” Khan, the bout wouldn’t be taking place at long range, no matter how hard Khan attempts to keep it at that distance. Rees, perhaps one of the two best inside fighters in the game, would keep the fight on the inside with Khan, forcing him up against the ropes where Khan would be forced to fight Rees in a much handicapped position.

So far, Khan has shown himself to be only an average inside fighter, usually not able to get much power behind his shots due to his long frame and long arms. Rees, however, has short arms and is quite at home on the inside where’s able to get maximum leverage on his short punches. He’s particularly adept at landing short uppercuts to the head of his opponents on the inside and causing a lot of punishment in the process. In his recent bout with Kotelnick, Rees looked especially impressive as he appeared to win almost all the rounds of the fight before tiring out and being stopped in the 12th round.

The fight looked to have been stopped too soon, as Rees appeared strong and able to continue fighting. Rees has nothing to be ashamed of in his loss, as he fought superbly and did the best he could under the circumstances. Kotelnik was quite good at blocking punches to the head, yet he was still hit an enormous amount of time by Rees, who used his buzz saw offense to create huge problems for Kotelnik up to the point of the quick stoppage. Khan, however, has shown himself to have particularly poor defensive skills, getting hit with a lot of head shots by many of his opponents.

Lucky for him that he’s fought very soft opposition, for if he had fought tough opponents like Rees all this time, I have no doubt that Khan would have lost once or twice by this point in time. I have my doubts that Khan will go though with a bout with Rees, mainly because it would be a sky rocketing leap up in competition for Khan, one that he’d likely not be ready for given the weak opposition that he’s feasted on since turning professional. Rees is the real deal, and has enough skills to be a champion again in the junior welterweight division when given another shot.

With Khan, however, it’s unclear that he can make the leap because his chin looks very fragile, and he often looks scared and worried when taking big shots. In order to beat a fighter like Rees, Khan would have to endure a tremendous amount of shots if he were to hope to win. This wouldn’t be a fight that he could simply win on the cheap like in his other bouts, because Rees would make him fight at close quarters all fight long.

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