By Scott Gilfoid: Earlier today in London, England, Amir Khan announced the signing of an important 3-fight deal with British powerhouse promotional company Matchroom Sport. Khan’s first fight of his 3-fight contract with Matchroom will take place on April 21 at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, UK.
With the fight taking place in Liverpool, it’s possible that Khan could fight a domestic level fighter from that area.
Khan says he has his eyes on a number of fighters that he wants to face during his last remaining years in the sport. 3 of the guys that Khan wants to face are fighters that defeated him in the past in Briedis Prescott, Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia. Whether Khan will fight any of them is unclear. The reality is it’s unlikely that Khan will opt to fight Prescott and Peterson. The 34-year-old Prescott (30-11, 22 KOs) is now a journeyman with 4 defeats in his last 5 fights.
Unless Khan faces Prescott in his first tune-up fight, it would be a waste of his time to use up one of his 3-fights with his current Matchroom Sport contract on fighting him. I doubt that Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn would be pleased at having Khan use up a valuable fight with his company facing a fading journeyman like Prescott, especially given the risk involved in a fight of this nature. Prescott is not the fighter he once was, but he can still punch plenty hard enough to get Khan out of there once again if he lands anything significant. Prescott blasted Khan out in the 1st round in their fight in 2008.
“Imagine bringing the likes of [Briedis] Prescott, [Danny] Garcia and [Lamont] Peterson to the UK and having those big fights?” said Khan to skysports.com. “Garcia and Peterson are both on the same level as me – I am at that world boxing level,” said Khan.
Khan can forget about Peterson. He’s facing IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. on January 20, and he’s expected to lose to the champion. There won’t be any point in Khan fighting Peterson if he gets obliterated by Spence, will there? Hearn probably won’t be pleased if Khan starts banging the drum to get a recently knocked out Lamont Peterson over to England to fight in one of Khan’s 3-fights in his Matchroom contract.
My guess is Hearn is going to want all 3 of those fights to be Khan fighting quality guys. Yeah, Hearn might give Khan a break for his first fight of his contract with Matchroom by letting him fight a stiff, but he’s not going to let him fight all 3 of his matches against guys that are no longer relevant. Peterson was beaten by Danny Garcia in 2015, and he’s on the verge of losing to Spence on January 20. I guess you can scratch Peterson’s name off Khan’s list of potential opponents in the future unless Hearn is going to bend over backwards to agree to whoever Khan wants to trot into the ring with him with his 3-fight deal.
I don’t know if you can still call Khan world level at this point. 2 years out of the ring, coming off a bad knockout loss to Saul Canelo Alvarez, I don’t think Khan rates still being called world level. When you’ve been out of the ring for 2 years the Khan has, you can’t still call yourself a world level fighter. You have to PROVE that you’re still a world level guy. Honestly, even if Khan is still a world class fighter, he might be more fringe level than a top level guy. If you throw Khan in the ring with welterweight contenders like Shawn Porter, Lucas Matthysse, Danny Garcia, Manny Pacquiao and Terence Crawford right now, he’ll likely get knocked out. I’m just saying. As such, Khan is more of a fringe level welterweight rather than a true top level world class guy at this stage.
“I want to still win another world title,” said Khan. ”I want to come back with a big bang. It has been some time out of the ring,” Khan said.
WBA/WBC welterweight champion Keith ‘One Time’ Thurman is supposed to be fighting on April 16 against Jessie Vargas. Thurman has been talking about fighting Shawn Porter and Danny Garcia in his other 2 fights in 2018. If Khan is going to be given a title shot against Thurman, it’s going to create a lot of anger from boxing fans. Thurman has arguably been ducking the unification fight against Spence. That’s the fight that the boxing public wants to see. The fans will put up with Thurman facing Garcia and Porter in rematches, as his wins over them were very close affairs.
Porter is Thurman’s WBC mandatory challenger. But if Thurman faces Khan instead of one of those fighters in 2018, it’s going to look bad on his part. Given Khan’s long layoff, it’s going to look bad if he’s given preferential treatment by getting a title shot against Thurman straightaway without having to earn the fight the way that Porter did. Garcia hasn’t earned a shot at Thurman as a welterweight, but he accomplished some good things while fighting at 140. At 147, Garcia was the WBC paper champion after beating a past his prime Robert Guerrero.
Khan’s best chance of fighting for a world title right now in 2018 at welterweight would be against IBF champion Errol Spence. He would jump at the chance to defend against Khan. I don’t think it would end well for Khan. I doubt that Hearn has Spence in mind for Khan to be mixing it up with for his title shot at 147. I think its Thurman all the way for Khan, because he holds 2 of the welterweight titles right now and he’s perceived to be the best by casual boxing fans. The hardcore fans see Spence as the best. For some reason, Thurman doesn’t seem to want to fight Spence. If Khan fights Thurman, he’ll get a lot of attention, and the boxing fans won’t give him as much flak if and when he gets knocked out by him. Thurman is a hit and run type of fighter. Against a guy like that, khan has a better shot of surviving the full 12 rounds than he would if he fought a pressure fighter like Spence. Khan would likely get walked down and stopped within 4 rounds by Spence. Thurman’s timid fighting style would give Khan a better chance at going the full 12 round distance.