Amir Khan should take example of Sadam Ali
By Mohamed Horomtallah: Amir Khan is at a crossroads. His upcoming fight against Devon Alexander is a must win not only to be in the mix for a potential Floyd Mayweather Jr fight but also and perhaps mostly to prove that he could be an elite fighter at 147 pounds.
Khan knows that he must win and win big against Alexander. That could give him a boost but it could also prove to be a handicap, especially if the fight doesn’t play out as he initially planned.
Khan is a talented fighter, there’s no disputing that. His boxing skills, his combinations and hand speed always give him an early advantage in his fights. However, he tends to find a way to complicate for himself what could and should have been an easy fight.
Khan biggest problem in my opinion is not his chin contrary to popular believe but rather his ring IQ. He lacks in that department and his losses to Garcia and Peterson are a direct consequence of that fact. Khan could have cruised to comfortable decisions in both fights but his lack of ring IQ made him act otherwise.
In the Peterson fight, Khan could have and should have out boxed him for 12 rounds but chose instead to stay close, lay against the ropes and cover up which gave Peterson an opportunity to go to work, mostly on the body and score easy points. When you take into consideration the fact that Khan lost that fight by one point after having points deducting from him by the referee, one cannot help but wonder what would the judges scores have been had Khan kept boxing.
With respect to the Garcia fight, the lack of ring IQ was even more flagrant. For the first 3 rounds, Khan was schooling Garcia, even making him look amateurish at times. He was looking good and Garcia’s face was already busted as his father was yelling at him “he is picking you apart! He is picking you apart!”.
Instead of sticking to what was working wonderfully for him and get a unanimous decision or even a late stoppage, Khan got cocky, overconfident and started showing off, looking to finish off Garcia. He got careless and that hail Mary, eyes closed, left hook found him and it was the beginning of the end for Khan.
After beating the count and surviving that round, Khan did not take the time to regroup but chose instead to trade, letting his ego be in the driver’s seat. Some said that Garcia was timing him and that he got his timing right with that left hook. That is simply not true. Garcia was throwing that hook from the very beginning and when Khan was fighting with his brains instead of his vanity, he was making him miss widely. No, Garcia did not time Khan. It was rather Khan that “helped” Garcia land that devastating left hook just as he “helped” him further by trading with him while being hurt.
Enter Sadam Ali. The Brooklyn fighter was in a similar position to Khan’s current situation. This past November, he had a big step up fight with a tremendous amount of pressure on his shoulders. Ali, a promising talent, was given his first opportunity at the big stage, on the Hopkins vs Kovalev card as the co-main event in a fight televised by HBO.
It was a make or brake type of fight against a battle tested fighter known for his power with 29 knock outs and only one defeat to pound for pound Tim Bradley. A win would put Ali on the map but a loss would make him lose everything he had worked so hard to accomplish. Sadam Ali delivered big time and passed the test with flying colors!
For the first 5 rounds, he was taking his time, being patient, making Abregu miss and not allowing him to have the fight he wanted. The crowd started booing but Sadam ignored it and stayed focused on his game plan while displaying wonderful movement and ring generalship. It was to see for the trained eye.
However, in the 6th round, he stepped it up, dropping Abregu with a beautiful and sneaky shot and started beating him up, showing flashes of boxing brilliance in the process. Ali got caught with some shots and unlike Khan, he knew how to get out of the way which frustrated Abregu even further and set the stage for what was about to happen in round 9 when Ali dropped him again and finished him off shortly after.
Sadam Ali showed tremendous skills and maturity as well as discipline and patience and those are the qualities that can take a young fighter to the next level. Critics had nothing but great things to say about Ali after the fight and one of them even comparing him to a young Mayweather.
He gave us fans a good and exciting fight while keeping his composure and letting his ring IQ control the fight. I believe Khan has something to learn from Sadam Ali which is mainly how to manage the different stages of a fight and take advantage of one’s qualities.
Should Khan finally start fighting like that, he would no doubt be a force at 147 pounds which will take him to bigger opportunities. All he has to do is take example on “World Kid”.