Boxing


Khan Says He Is Looking At Fighting Either Michael Katsidis Or Joel Casamayor Next

by James Slater - There is still a lot of speculation going around about who Amir Khan will fight in his next bout. The reigning WBA 140-pound champion, fresh off his stoppage win over Paulie Malignaggi, in what was the 23-year-old's U.S debut, is adamant he will fight again in late July; in the U.K. Names that have been mentioned as possibilities for the Bolton man include Michael Katsidis, Breidis Prescott (in what would be a rematch) and Joel Casamayor, to name just three.

Looking forward to getting a fight in before August's Ramadan, the deeply religious Khan says he will box on the last weekend of July; maybe in London.. And, in an interview article in The Bolton News, Khan says the two men he and his team are focusing on are the tough Australian and the ageing yet still classy Cuban defector.

"There are a few names," Khan told the newspaper. "There's Katsidis, who knocked out Kevin Mitchell, and there's Casamayor and he knocked out Katsidis. I'll fight anyone to be honest, but a lot of guys in my [weight] category are busy. Those are the two names we're looking at, but I'll leave it up to my team.

"I want to fight the last weekend of July. We're looking at the North West or London. I want to give my fans the chance to see me fight here."

Though both Katsidis and Casamayor are very good fighters (although the Cuban is now close to 40 and past his best), they are both lightweights, and Khan's critics are sure to ask the question: why is Khan not facing 140-pounders? Still, these same fans would very likely make Katsidis, the current interim WBO champ at 135-pounds, the favourite to beat Khan if the fight were signed. Certainly, Brendan Smith, Katsidis' trainer and manager, says he feels Khan's people will not take the fight as it is too risky a proposition for the 23-year-old.

So we may be looking at a Khan-Casamayor clash in two months time. How will the fans take to such a match-up if it does get made? Well, one of the first things the critics will point to is the age and recent inactivity of the former super-featherweight and lightweight titlist. Turning 39 in July, "El Cepillo" has had just one fight since his September 2008 11th-round stoppage loss to Juan Manuel Marquez. The clever southpaw out-pointed Jason Davis in November of last year in a routine eight-rounder, and he has not boxed since.

Casamayor did score that great off-the-floor win over Katsidis, in March of 2008, yet that performance may have been his last truly impressive one. How much does the 37-4-1(22) warrior have left? The Davis win was up at welterweight, and Casamayor carried the weight reasonably well, so he could possibly be competitive against Khan at 140. But as ring-rusty as he is almost sure to be having had so little action recently, would the once dominant fighter run the risk of being taken out quickly by the speedy WBA ruler?

The fight is by no means a certainty to go ahead yet (according to Boxrec.com, Casamayor is to fight against a TBA on the July 31st Marquez-Diaz II card in Las Vegas), but if it does I feel the Khan critics will have a field day in the days leading up to the fight. And as to what the critics would say if Khan DID take the veteran out quickly? Well, considering the age and wear and tear of Casamayor, it's unlikely they would give "King Khan" too much praise.

Article posted on 31.05.2010



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