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Khan talks of Hatton and Marquez fights

Amir Khan Juan Manuel Marquez Ricky HattonBy Liam Santiago: British boxing star Amir Khan (20-1, 15ko’s) will attempt to silence his critics on July 18th at the M.E.N arena, where he will meet Andriy Kotelnik (31-2-1, 13ko’s), in his first world title bout. Every boxer that laces up a pair of gloves will have their critics, but Amir seems to have more than just a few. Does he really deserve this level of criticism, especially from boxing fans in his own country? Khan speaks to me on what the future holds for him.

Only three months ago Khan defeated Mexican legend, Marco Antonio Barrera (65-7, 43ko’s). The fight was stopped in round five due to Barrera’s severe forehead cut, started by an accidental head clash. In all fairness to Barrera the fight should’ve been declared a no-contest, as he had very little vision through most of the fight. However, Khan outboxed and outworked Barrera before the head clash, in the first round, looking like a he was ready to fight anyone. The simple fact is Barrera did not have an answer to Khan’s speed, movement and power from the first bell. If Khan continues to box the way he did against Barrera, very few fighters would trouble him. His slick, precise movement makes up for his weak chin ; Khan proved to be very hard to hit.

Speaking to me over the internet, Khan said He is considering a huge bout with Ricky Hatton after the Kotelnik fight, assuming he beats Kotelnik. Then, assuming he beats Hatton, which might not be as easy, Khan says he wants to set up a huge summer fight with Mexican warrior, Juan Manuel Marquez, ranked 2nd in the pound for pound ratings behind Manny Pacquiao. Yes, these are very ambitious claims to make, but under new trainer Freddie Roache, Khan is looking untouchable. As Khan has said himself, his shock knock-out defeat to Briedis Prescott came as a blessing in disguise, with the result of Khan deciding to let Freddie Roache take him under his wing. Roache has totally changed Khan as a fighter. He no longer sees the need to charge in like a wild bull, instead he uses his exceptionally fast footwork to hit and move. Khan’s chin issues have had the same positive effect that Wladimair Klitschko’s have had. Knowing he could easily get knocked out with one swift shot, Khan does not allow his opponent the chance to test his chin. However, eventually, at some point will get caught flush, and when he does it could very likely be night over for Amir.

If Khan beats Kotelnik and aranges the fight with Hatton, it will be by no means easy. Hatton is not ‘shot’. He lost to the two best pound for pound fighters in the world, one might, arguably, be one of the greatest fighters of all time. The big question is, does Khan have the power to do what Pacquiao did to Hatton? Probably not. Khan has never faced an opponent like Hatton that smothers you, throwing that level of pressure at you. But if Khan can keep hitting and moving, in and out, he has a good chance. It will seem very optimistic, and even stupid to many boxing fans that Khan is even thinking about fights this far ahead, but what’s wrong with self-belief and confidence. He has every talent to back up his claims. But, for now he must concentrate on Kotelnik, a fight that Khan cannot afford to lose.

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