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Could Amir Khan already be the best of the light welterweights?

Amir Khan boxing photo and news imageBy Sean McDaniel: It’s to believe but World Boxing Association light welterweight champion Amir Khan may already be the best fighter in the light welterweight division after only three fights at that weight class. It’s hard to believe because Khan looked so horrible in getting knocked out in the 1st round by the very average Breidis Prescott two years ago in 2008. Khan hasn’t anything to avenge that defeat, but he’s done a good job of winning his fights since then, albeit against non lethal punchers. Khan has looked great in beating Andriy Kotelnik, Dmitri Salita and Paulie Malignaggi.

The win over Kotelnik, which seemed like not that big of a deal when Khan beat him last year by a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision in July 2009, is now looking really good now that Kotelnik recently looked so good in losing a 12 round decision to IBF/WBC light welterweight champion Devon Alexander last Saturday night. Many boxing fans felt that Kotelnik should have won the fight, including this writer. Kotelnik was dominating Alexander for the last six rounds of the fight and appeared to do more than enough to get the decision. However, it’s pretty easy to see why Kotelnik lost. He was fighting in Alexander’s home town, and it’s never easy to win fights in another fighters’ home turf. But Kotelnik will be back.

The real story is Khan. He’s looking very good now, and although Alexander’s struggles with Kotelnik may not mean much because it could have been a style problem for Alexander, you can’t help but think that Khan might be that much better than everyone else in the weight class. We won’t know for sure until Khan is one day put in with Alexander, Bradley and Marcos Maidana. Hopefully, Khan’s handlers don’t wait too long to put him in with them, because he may very well be more than good enough to dominate the rest of the field even now. Bradley, 26, is considered by many boxing fans and writers to be the top guy in the division.

That’s the one that Khan needs to go after first. If he can beat Bradley and do it in a dominating fashion much like he did with Kotelnik, then it would make things a lot easier for Khan. There would be less pressure on him to fight such and such fighter, because he would have already beaten the perceived best fighter in the division with Bradley. Maidana is someone that Khan should try to fight soon, though, because he is his mandatory and it looks kind of odd that Khan is avoiding him. But if Bradley takes care of Alexander, and Khan beats both Bradley and Maidana, then Khan’s work will be done at light welterweight. It will be then time to move up in weight to the welterweight division to see what Khan can do at that weight. There would be no point in staying at light welterweight once Alexander, Bradley and Maidana are all beaten, unless Khan is interested in fighting Victor Ortiz. That would be a fight much like the Maidana bout but with more speed coming from Ortiz.

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