Khan-Mayweather: Perception v reality
By Shaun Ayres: Amir Khan v Floyd Mayweather Jr. is all but sealed for 3rd May at the MGM Grand. I have read countless articles and the subsequent opinions which then follow on from the article. There is a wealth of opinion, some justified, some not so much. So the question I am asking is how can a fight divide so many fight fans?
The first element of this question was poised by Amir Khan’s trainer Virgil Hunter in which he raised the issue of Perception vs. Reality? This is an intrinsically good point to start with as there is a massive perception that Khan has a “Glass Jaw”! The reality is somewhat different. Yes, Prescott did knock Khan out; however, in Khan’s 4th round TKO loss to Danny Garcia in 2012, he finished on his feet. Further, he was out-boxing Garcia, and Garcia looked very bedraggled until he landed his trademark hook. In regards to the Lamont Peterson fight, I think we all agree the loss was at best very dubious.
Khan has always divided opinion, even early on here in the UK, some fans have really warmed to him, whilst others have taken pleasure in seeing him lose. Love him or hate him, I believe he has a real chance against Mayweather for several reasons. Firstly, he has possibly the fastest hands in Boxing, as he “throws punches in bunches” inevitably some will get through Mayweather’s slick defensive skills. Secondly, he is not a flat footed fighter, if you watch a lot of the fighters Mayweather has beaten, they have needed to plant their feet in order to let their big shots go. Khan however, can punch extremely quickly and accurately whilst walking forward or retreating on his back foot. We have seen in the past that Mayweather’s greatest struggles have come against Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley (first few rounds) and Zab Judah, who were able to throw lots of fast and accurate punches. De La Hoya himself has said he believes this is the blueprint to defeating Mayweather (pre-Mayweather v Alvarez). Although whilst I like to watch Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, I was never convinced he was quick enough to overwhelm Mayweather.
Another major factor which many are over looking comes in the form of Andre Ward. I have read many articles which state Adrien Broner is set to take over from Mayweather (well pre-Maidana). However, the reality is pound for pound #2 Ward is already close to Mayweather and has all the evasive skills and counter punching ability that Mayweather possesses. So my point is this, how many previous Mayweather opponents would have had the opportunity to spar day in day out against a bigger but just as athletic and able sparring partner who is a carbon copy of Floyd? Khan will be learning every day, that when he gets over zealous (such as when he fought Danny Garcia) he gets hit. Ward will highlight his weaknesses and he will be able to use these to his advantage in the fight, as he will know, how/why he gets caught and avoid those precarious situations.
Finally, there is no doubt Mayweather will be the favourite, he has proven over the course of time that he is possibly one of the best fighters in the history of boxing. However, every fighter has an opponent who can nullify everything they do well. So the reality is somewhat different to the perception. Amir Khan will poise questions to Mayweather which he has not had to answer in his last few fights. You write off an Olympic Silver Medallist at your peril!