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Khan expects to be better fight from KO loss

By Scott Gilfoid: Amir Khan believes that it was a good thing for his career to be knocked unconscious by Saul Canelo Alvarez two years ago in May 2016, and he thinks he’ll be a better fighter when he gets inside the ring this Saturday night in his 12 round comeback fight against the always tough Phil Lo Greco at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.

Khan, 31, points out that he came back strong after he was starched by Briedis Prescott in a 1st round knockout in 2008. Khan responded to the loss by winning his next eight fights including two world titles during that three-year time frame. Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) thinks he can duplicate that same success now in the twilight of his career.

You can bet that Lo Greco is going to be head-hunting like mad on Saturday to try and KO Khan in the same way that Saul Canelo Alvarez and Prescott both did. The fight is a terrible one in terms of interest on paper, but it should still be fun to watch for as long as it lasts. If Khan loses, he might need to come up with a good retirement speech to give at the post-fight press conference.

There’s a lot of question marks about Khan going into the Lo Greco (28-3, 15 KOs) fight this Saturday night, and this may not be a good enough opponent for those question marks to be answered. Some boxing fans feel that Khan is the welterweight division’s version of David Price and Enzo Maccarinelli. Those are two fighters who have seen their careers implode due to their inability to take hard head shots.

Lo Greco has power, and he’s got the same Marcos Maidana-esque pressure style that has given Khan fits his entire career. Lo Greco has failed when stepping up against better fighters like Errol Spence Jr. and Shawn Porter, but he’s still a hard thrower and he’s got the aggressive style that has always given Khan major problems.

“I jumped back from being knocked out by Prescott to win the light-welterweight world title,” Khan said to “I jumped back with good performances against Collazo and Alexander after being beaten by Garcia. I have had my best performances after being beaten. I go back to the drawing board, work on my skills and become better.”

What’s disappointing about Khan’s response to his losses to Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson is how he never really came back from those defeats, which took place in 2011 and 2012. Khan took five tune-up fights against Julio Diaz, Carlos Molina, Luis Collazo, Devon Alexander and Chris Algieri, and then he moved up to middleweight and fought Saul Canelo Alvarez. Khan burned through 4 years of his career taking those give tune-up fights.

Khan fought only five times in four years. During all those guys, Khan was traveling a lot and he didn’t seem to have his head focused on boxing the way he should have, because he should have fought 12 times in those 4 years instead of just 5. The other thing is, Khan didn’t come back to the welterweight division after those four years of tune-up fights. He moved up to middleweight and fought Canelo in a fight that he had basically no chance to win.

Let’s be honest here. Khan’s win over Devon Alexander came against a fighter who was having personal problems outside of the ring at the time that he fought him. This wasn’t Alexander at his best that Khan beat. Khan’s win over Collazo was nothing special because he was no longer a top five contender at the time the two of them fought.

“I’d rather get knocked out by one punch than take numerous punches,” Khan said.

I don’t think it’s good for a fighter to be knocked out period. It doesn’t matter if they were hit by one shot or 200. It’s still good for Khan to have been knocked out the way he was by Canelo. Khan can try and try and paint a picture that it’s an excellent thing for a fighter like him to be knocked out, but I think most boxing fans would disagree with that. When a fighter is getting knocked out the way Khan has, it’s a major negative for them, because it suggests that he cannot take a head shot.

If Khan beats Lo Greco on Saturday, there’s a high likelihood that he’ll be facing fellow Matchroom Boxing stable-mate Kell Brook in the summer. Their promoter Eddie Hearn wants to make that fight straightaway, and it’s kind of important that he makes the fight because he has to put the fight together before either of them suffers another knockout loss. Up until recently, Brook had been stopped in back to back fights to Gennady Golovkin and Errol Spence. Brook came back from those defeats to stop fringe contender Sergey Rabchenko on March 3 in Sheffield. Brook made a big deal out of the win over Rabchenko, as if he defeated someone good rather than a hand-picked guy with limited hand speed.

It’s important that Hearn make the Khan-Brook fight as soon as possible, because Brook is starting to get ideas in his head that he can mix it up with the likes of Jermell Charlo and Jarrett Hurd. I think it’ll end badly for Brook if he faces either of those guys. I’m sure Hearn will resist making those fights, but if Brook insists, then we could soon be seeing one of those two guys face him. It won’t matter if Brook loses to those guys if he’s already fought Khan. That’s the reason why Hearn needs to make the Khan vs. Brook fight as soon as possible.

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