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Warren wants Amir Khan vs. Bradley Skeete

Image: Warren wants Amir Khan vs. Bradley Skeete

By Jeff Aranow: British promoter Frank Warren is hoping former light welterweight champion Amir “King” Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) will be interested in fighting highly ranked #3 WBO welterweight contender Bradley Skeete (27-1, 12 KOs) when he returns to the ring in the near future.

Due to personal problems as well a hand injury, the 30-year-old Khan has not fought since his knockout loss to Saul Canelo Alvarez last year in May 2016. Khan needs a comeback opponent, and Warren sees the 6’1” Skeete as the ideal guy for him. Skeete isn’t a big puncher. He’s more of a crafty type of fighter, who uses his rangy boxing skills to frustrate his opponents.

It would be a tough fight for Khan to be coming back to, but it would definitely be a winnable one for him. Khan does well against fighters that don’t have much power. With Skeete’s meager 43% knockout percentage, he clearly isn’t a puncher or anything close to that.

”Khan is in no man’s land as he has not fought in the UK since his 2013 win over Julio Diaz and he has only been in a British ring twice since 2009,” said Warren in his column at the ”He needs to come home and rebuild his career and what better way to start by taking on Londoner Skeete.”

Warren is right about Khan needing to go back to the UK to start rebuilding his brand over in that country. In hindsight, Khan should have never left the UK to begin with. There are some stars that can make it big in the U.S, but Khan isn’t one of them. He’s not a knockout puncher like foreign fighters Gennady Golovkin, Manny Pacquiao and Saul Canelo Alvarez, and he doesn’t have the punch resistance to make handle the stronger punchers in boxing. Khan never really did build much of a fan base in the States.

Khan was on his way on his way to becoming popular in the U.S in 2011 when he was beaten by Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia in back to back fights. Since then, Khan’s career in the States has in a stall. He’s not been able to regain the momentum that he once had for whatever reason. You can blame a lot of that on Khan simply not being active enough to get his career back on track. After being knocked out in the 4th round by Danny Garcia on July 14, 2012, Khan fought only once in 2013, 2 times in 2014 and once in 2015 and once in 2016. Khan hasn’t been fighting nearly enough to keep his career afloat.

Khan has been doing a lot of traveling around the world, enjoying the money he’s made in the sport, but not keeping active. As a result, Khan has let his career wane and he’s now in the position where he’s no longer mentioned among the top fighters at 147 by boxing fans and fighters. Khan isn’t being called out by top fighters any longer. He couldn’t even get a fight against a past his prime Manny Pacquiao earlier this year. Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum went with little known entity Jeff Horn in matching the Filipino star against him last summer on July 2. That’s the fight that Khan wanted against Pacquiao, but he couldn’t get it. Now it’s down to Khan being offered to fight little known British welterweight champion Skeete.

If Khan takes this fight and loses, then it’s probably time for him to retire from boxing, because this is a fighter that he should be able to beat if he’s got anything left. Khan will be turning 31 in December, and he’s not a young 31. He’s fighting more like someone in his last 30s than someone at 31.

”I met Khan at the Boxing Writers’ Club dinner at the Savoy on Monday night and mentioned a clash with the British welterweight champion so hopefully we will hear back soon,” said Warren.

Skeete is still a very tough out for anyone. Jeff Horn passed up on the idea of fighting Skeete in his next fight, and he’s expected to take the lower ranked #11 WBO Gary Corcoran for his first title defense of his World Boxing Organization belt. Why would Horn pass up on a fight against Skeete? It’s pretty obvious. Skeete is a crafty fighter, who would make Horn dig deep to find a way to beat him. It wouldn’t be nearly the same easy fight that Horn had in beating the older, smaller stationary 38-year-old Pacquiao.

Skeete, 6’1”, is much taller than the 5’6” Pacquiao, younger at 30, and he’s a lot more mobile. Horn would have a really tough time against Skeete. Khan is 5’8”, and he would have to use his speed and quick combinations to try and wear Skeete down. Supposedly, Khan’s right hand is up to full strength now that he’s had hand surgery to fix a problem that he’s had with it since he turned pro in 2005. If Khan is really hitting with more power with his right hand, then it’s quite possible he’ll be able to knockout a guy like Skeete.

In the past, Khan has make frequent boasts about how his game will be improved when he does this or that, but it has never has. Khan moved up from 135 to 140, thinking it would help his punch resistance after he was knocked out in the 1st round by Briedis Prescott on September 6, 2008. It didn’t help. 3 years later, Khan was knocked out in the 4th round by Danny Garcia at 140. Khan then moved up to 147, and he’s fought 4 times in that weight class against largely weak opposition. Julio Diaz dropped Khan and staggered him several times in his first fight at welterweight in 2013, which showed that his chin hadn’t improved in him moving to 147.

Khan would be showing a lot of courage if he were to take on Skeete in his comeback fight. I don’t think Khan will take that fight. It’s Khan’s manager Al Haymon who will ultimately choose his opponent. I would guess that Khan will likely face someone like journeyman Saul Corral (26-10, 17 KOs). He’s become quite useful to fading fighters and fringe level guys like Victor Ortiz, Josesito Lopez, Mike Alvarado and Sadam Ali. The 30-year-old Corral isn’t a big puncher, so he’s pretty safe for a fighter like Khan to fight. Corral isn’t going to out-box Khan and make him look bad the way someone like Skeete would be looking to do.

Skeete’s best win of his 7-year career is a narrow 12 round unanimous decision over volume puncher Sam Eggington on March 5 last year. Skeete won the fight by the scores 117-112, 116-112, and 115-113. Boxing News 24 scored that fight for Skeete 116-112. Eggington’s face looked badly bruised by the end of the fight. Eggington took a lot of punishment in that fight. Skeete showed that he doesn’t need a lot of power for him to do damage to his opponent’s faces.

Skeete definitely isn’t a knockout puncher though. He’s someone that touches up his opponents and bruises them up during the courage of winning decisions. Khan would have to put a lot of pressure on the rangy Skeete for him to get him out of there or to win a decision. Skeete’s only loss of his career came against Frankie Gavin in losing a 12 round unanimous decision on November 29, 2014. Khan would seem to be the better fighter than Gavin, but that doesn’t mean he matches up well against Skeete.

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