Khan Presents a Unique Challenge to Mayweather
By Craig Hilton: A potential fight between Amir Khan and Floyd Mayweather has been subject to growing media attention and speculation. Amir Khan has elevated himself up the world rankings to a position where a fight between Floyd and himself is now becoming likely.
Amir seems to have been talking up a fight between the pair for a few years now and his dream contest is fast turning into reality. This clash of styles should be hyped over one significant factor: Amir Khan’s notoriously fast hand speed.
Floyd Mayweather has not contested fast puncher since his split decision victory over Oscar De La Hoya back in May 2007. Famed trainer, Freddie Roach, has often remarked upon Mayweather’s weakness against fighters with fast hands when promoting Amir Khan’s unique quickness. In the recent Mayweather vs. Guerrero All Access series, Robert Guerrero’s camp sought to threaten Mayweather by performing constant speed training on the double end bag in preparation for the fight. However, Guerrero did not deliver the degree of quickness required in order to make it a close encounter. In my opinion, Khan is one of the few fighters that endanger Mayweather with real mobility and rapidity.
Although Amir’s weak chin has been exposed on more than one occasion, Khan’s trainer, Virgil Hunter, is working with him to improve his defences in preparation for a move up in weight to one-hundred and forty-seven pounds. Khan was stunned by a few shots in his recent bout with Julio Diaz but showed a good automatic response by tying up when hurt and under pressure. Mayweather is not a big puncher in the Welterweight Division and often uses the full twelve rounds to dismantle his opposition. Therefore, Khan’s excellent stamina should allow him to express his skills against Floyd over the full scheduled distance.
Amir Khan is a swift mover with excellent footwork. This could hinder Floyd’s effectiveness at controlling the pace of the fight. Floyd Mayweather recently commented on his ability to make any fighter fight at his pace. However, he appeared to have some trouble controlling the dynamism of Ricky Hatton. Khan may be able to put Mayweather under a similar kind of pressure with speedy footwork and movement.
We all marvel at Mayweather’s defences – even at thirty-six years’ of age – but would they be so effective against a young, fast, volume puncher like Khan? Amir looks sensational when being the aggressor in fights, launching his charges from varied angles; would Mayweather’s Philly Shell defence and shoulder roll technique prove successful in thwarting such assaults? Mayweather would surely have to assume the role of aggressor in the bout as Khan has looked world class against counter-punchers that stand off him whilst on the back-foot. Amir dispatched Zab Judah in five rounds and stopped Paulie Malignaggi in eleven. It is also questionable whether Mayweather would be able to land sharp right hand leads and quick left hooks successfully against a tall, rangy mover like Khan.
I believe that a potential confrontation between Khan and Mayweather would prove highly entertaining. Although Amir Khan may not have all attributes necessary to beat Mayweather, his rapid hand speed and body movement surely present a unique challenge to him.
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