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Will Amir Khan ever Be able to Prove the Doubters Wrong?

Amir Khan Andriy KotelnikBy David Mackie: Amir Khan next faces WBA light-welterweight champion Andreas Kotelnik on July 18th at the MEN Arena in Manchester, England. Khan last fought in March where he beat Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera on a controversial fifth round stoppage after a cut opened above Barrera’s eye in the first round.

Before that fight he beat Oisin Fagan in December 2008 after coming off the first loss of his career in September 2008, a devastating first round knockout at the hands off dangerous Colombian banger Breidis Prescott.

Khan continues to have his detractors and is unlikely to prove much with a win over Kotelnik. Although if Khan suffers defeat at the hands of Kotelnik it could prove to be a disaster and destroy any chance of Khan becoming a legitimate world class fighter.

Kotelnik is considered to be the weakest of the current champions at light-welterweight in the boxing world. Considering though that this is the first time that Khan will have fought above lightweight there is always the element of risk that he will literally be out of his depth even agianst a mediocre fighter like Kotelnik. Frank Warren Khans promoter has seen Kotelnik as the easiest way to get his man a world title as soon as possible without hitting another career derailing roadblock like the Prescott fight. Khan could have stayed in the lightweight division and built himself up against more legitimate opponents than those he faced in the past and maybe even a potential fight with someone like Juan Manuel Marquez might have emerged at some point. The step up to light-welter is clearly so that Khan can be fast-tracked to a world title and avoid facing the top talent at lightweight such as WBO lightweight champion Edwin Valero, Juan Diaz, Michael Katsidis, Antonio Demarco, David Diaz and Britain’s own John Murray and Alex Arthur. Also by facing Kotelnik he avoids having to face the top- names at light-welter Juan Urango, Timothy Bradley, Kendall Holt, Nate Campbell or even Zab Judah.

A victory over Kotelnik on July 18th seems to me like a hollow victory and the start of a meaningless world title reign where he will either avoid any top talent or vacate the title and drop back down to lightweight. As long as Khan has World Champion in front of his name for any period of time, then Frank Warren will feel that he has succeeded. If Khan wants to be remembered as a great boxer then at some point he is going to need to face some of the best. That is something I don’t ever see happening. Even if Khan fails in his bid to beat Kotelnik, Warren is smart enough to know Khans popularity and keep him around as a draw in England by feeding him the sort of fighters that have littered Khans career so far outside of Breidis Prescott and Barrera.

Even as the build up continues to the WBA light-welterweight title fight in July there is speculation about a potential mega-fight between Amir Khan and Ricky Hatton. This fight seems to me like an ideal fight for Khan no matter what happens on July 18th. If Khan wins he has beaten one of Britain’s all-time greats. Should Khan lose then he will have been beaten by one of the Greatest boxers Britain has produced and a man who has only been beaten by Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao. For Hatton though it doesn’t seem like he would gain much from this fight and would probably look to retire afterwards with another big payday.

As much as I don’t like the route Khan has taken to get a world title shot, I do hope that he wins on July 18th and hopefully a victory will give him and Frank Warren the confidence to put Khan in against the top guys in the lightweight and light-welterweight divisions.

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