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Amir Khan says he’s ready to return


Amir Khan

By Scott Gilfoid: After having been out of the ring for almost 1 ½ years, former light welterweight champion Amir “King” Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) says he’ll be resuming his pro career. Khan, 30, apologized to his boxing fans on social media for his long absence from the ring, mentioning family problems as one of the reasons for his delay at resuming his career.

Khan last fought on May 7 of last year, losing to WBC middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez by a 6th round knockout on HBO pay-per-view from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Khan was knocked unconscious by a right hand counter punch from Alvarez.

Khan never saw the punch coming and it leveled him. Alvarez immediately jumped to his knees to check on Khan. It was a scary knockout. Khan had no business fighting a guy as heavy as Canelo, who looked like he weighed in the mid-170s on the night of the fight. For all intents and purposes, Khan was in the ring with a light heavyweight on the night.

“Can’t wait to get back in the ring, where I belong,” Khan said on his Instagram site. “I apologize to all my fans for not being active for a year. I want this more than anyone. Time to make my come back, right to the top where I belong.”

Khan will have a very difficult time returning to the top of the welterweight division. Even before Khan’s knockout loss to Canelo, he wasn’t at the top of the welterweight division in a true sense. Sure, the World Boxing Council had Khan rated at No.1 at 147 for the longest time, but he hadn’t done anything to earn that ranking. Khan was beating guys like Chris Algieri, Devon Alexander, Luis Collazo and Julio Diaz.

Those are not major players at 147. For Khan to be a top guy at welterweight now, he would need to be able to defeat fighters like Shawn Porter, Errol Spence Jr., Keith “One Time” Thurman, Jeff Horn and Danny Garcia. Horn is probably off limits to Khan due to him being with Top Rank, but the other guys are fighters that Khan would have to beat for him to return to the top.

Khan tried to arrange a fight against the fading Manny Pacquiao earlier this year, but the Filipino star’s promoter Bob Arum nixed that idea. Instead, Arum matched Pacquiao against one of his own Top Rank fighters in Jeff Horn.

Khan has the name to get some of the top fighters to face him like Spence, Porter and Danny Garcia. The problem is Khan would have problems taking the big punches from those guys. He’s not cut out to fight at 147 against punchers like that.

With all the time that Khan has been out of the ring, he’s going to need to take at least 1 or 2 tune-ups to get himself back up to speed before he faces the talented welterweights. In Khan’s last 2 fights against Chris Algieri and Canelo, he showed stamina problems. It’s not surprising. When a fighter competes as seldom as Khan has, their conditioning takes a major hit. I doubt Khan will ever get the stamina back that he once had. Even when Khan does return to action, the odds of him fighting frequently are slim.

For some reason, Khan doesn’t choose to stay active like other fighters. If he only fights once a year, he’s not going to be able to do much with what’s left of his career. It’s unfortunate that Khan took all this time off from boxing, because he probably missed his window to face Kell Brook in a big money fight in the UK. Khan-Brook would have been a big deal in the UK. Had Khan pulled the trigger on the Brook fight, it would have saved the “Special One” from fighting middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin last year. Brook wouldn’t have taken the risky fight against GGG if he could have gotten the big money match he craved against Khan. Things would have been different for Brook’s career. He likely wouldn’t have suffered a bad eye injury, and he would be moving up in weight to 154 under much more favorable circumstances.

Khan’s best chance of finding success right now would be for him to move back down to 140 and go after one of the world titles that will soon be vacated by champion Terence “Bud” Crawford. Khan moved up in weight to the 147 lb. division in 2013, because he believed it would increase his punch resistance. Khan never fought any good welterweights to prove that his chin had improved or not, but I don’t think it did improve. Khan will have major problems if he gets inside the ring with the likes of Spence or Thurman at welterweight. That’s why it would be a good idea for Khan to move back down to 140.

To sum it up, Khan will likely need to do these things to salvage the remaining time in his boxing career:

• Move back down to 140

• Fight at least 3 times per year

• Have his trainer Virgil Hunter teach him some defense to protect his chin

• Jab more frequently. Khan needs to throw his jab with more authority. His knockout loss to Canelo came after Khan threw a slow jab that was countered by the Golden Boy star

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