Amir Khan’s best opponent?
By Gav Duthie: Amir Khan’s new promoter Eddie Hearn has done a good job of garnering interest in who Khan might be fighting on his April 21 comeback fight in Liverpool. The Sky Sports and Matchroom promotions will be going head to head with Frampton-Donaire on BT and Eddie Hearn says Amir doesn’t want a tune up.
Hearn revealed that a list of a dozen possible opponents was sent to Khan and Virgil Hunter and he teased us with 4 of them in a recent interview. They were Sammy Vazquez Jnr, Adrian Granados, Josesito Lopez and Antonio De Marco. Hearn has said that he is impressed that Khan wants a good opponent after 2 years out of the ring as he could have taken a tune up. In all honesty I hope that the other 8 names on the list are better than this. I wouldn’t quite call these guys tune ups, but they are certainly not elite. Eddie usually says things for a reason and there is a good chance that Khan will fight someone else entirely. As it stands though here is my assessment of the list, my order of preference and one wildcard.
Sammy Vazquez Jnr 21-2 (15)
If the goal is to get Amir Khan a homecoming knockout, then this is the right guy. Of the 4 opponents I expect Khan to beat them all but at least with the others I could form an argument that they might win. That’s not really the case with Vazquez. He has lost his last two fights. The first was a lopsided decision against Felix Diaz Jnr at junior welterweight. After that he decided to move up and was brutally knocked out by former Khan victim Luis Collazo. Vazquez is a game fighter, but he would be overwhelmed by Khan’s speed and would offer little in return.
Antonio DeMarco 33-6-1 (24)
DeMarco is the only former world champion of the four and has a good resume but at this stage doesn’t really represent a huge threat. Antonio retired in 2015 following a string of defeats to Jessie Vargas, Rances Barthelemy and Omar Figueroa. De Marco came back in 2017 and fought for the first time at welterweight knocking out 17-0 prospect Eddie Ramirez in just 1 round. He also holds an impressive knockout victory over Jorge Linares which won him a lightweight title. On paper De Marco is a relatively good sell, former world champion, knockout power but, it should be straight forward for Khan. DeMarco has lost all his top-level fights bar Linares, but he had lost every round up to the 10th in that contest also. He has mostly campaigned at either super featherweight or lightweight and is past his best. This is another look good contest for Khan but as with Linares there is always a punchers chance for DeMarco
Adrian Granados 18-6-2 (12)
If Khan wants a proper test, i.e. 12 hard rounds then this is the best fight. Granados record looks the worst on paper, but he is tough as nails. Like Vazquez he has lost his last two fights but as always, he gave everything he had and lost decisions to Adrien Broner and Shawn Porter. All 6 of his losses have been by decision, 4 of them split decision and he holds an impressive win over Amir Imam. He would most likely give Amir 12 rounds and push his stamina to the limit.
Josesito Lopez 35-7 (19)
Lopez is already scheduled to fight on the Lipinets-Mikey Garcia undercard on February 10th. Saying that the card is already stacked with a lot of quality fighters and Lopez doesn’t yet actually have an opponent. Lopez is my first choice for a few reasons. He’s a pretty familiar name for fight fans, he’s a proper welterweight and his fights are entertaining. Again, he has lost most of his big fights besides his won over Victor Ortiz where he broke the film stars jaw. Again, I would expect a Khan victory and most likely a stoppage given that Canelo, Marcos Maidana and Andre Berto have stopped him in the last few years. Lopez always gives it a go though.
Breidis Prescott 30-11 (22)
It is now nearly 10 years since the Columbian Prescott knocked out Khan in 54 seconds. That decade has not been kind to Prescott. In 21 fights since he is 10-11 and lost his last 3. He is certainly a washed-up fighter despite being only 34. Saying that he will always be the guy who knocked Khan out in a minute unless this is rectified. Khan has lost 4 fights and never avenged any of those defeats. Prescott would be a start and would be more marketable to the British public than any of the above names. Despite all those losses beating him would still be a significant mental hurdle for Khan.
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