Boxing


Roach, De La Hoya, Haye, Hamed Speak On Khan’s Win Over Maidana

By James Slater - It wasn’t just the regular fight fans who were mightily impressed by the sensationally exciting win Amir Khan scored yesterday over power puncher Marcos Maidana. Fellow fighters and former fighters such as Oscar De La Hoya, Naseem Hamed and David Haye came away from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas with nothing but admiration; not only for Khan but for the great fight itself.

De La Hoya, in speaking with Sky Sports, referred to the fight as “the fight of the decade.” While WBA heavyweight ruler Haye, also speaking with Sky Sports, agreed when he was asked if the fight was one of the fights of the modern era. “Definitely,” Haye said..

Both De La Hoya and Haye were especially impressed, as were we all, with the way Khan’s jaw stood up to the bombs of the Argentine slugger.

“I have no doubt now, Khan can go on to beat the best fighters out there,” Haye said. “It wasn’t as if he just took one great shot, he was hit with 25, 30 bombs!”

And “The Golden Boy,” who of course co-promotes Khan, was equally impressed.

“Maidana wouldn’t give up, right until the last second of this fight, he was throwing bombs,” he said. “Amir got hit by a truck in the 10th-round, but he’s still going. He did it for the UK.”

And it genuinely was amazing to see the “chinny” 24-year-old stand in there and take Maidana’s best shots over and over again. Personally, I think the myth that Khan has a glass jaw has forever been shattered! Maybe his struggling to make 135-pounds was the main factor in his shock loss to Breidis Prescott after all (as well as his trips to the floor in fights against Willie Limond and Michael Gomez).

However, as brave and as tough as Khan was last night, he cannot fight the way he did again and again. Close friend and former featherweight king Naseem Hamed said as much in speaking with BBC radio.

“He boxed brilliantly in coming through a very hard fight,” Hamed said of Khan. “But he’s my brother and I wish him no further fights like that. By the later stages it was really bad, and I don’t want to see him in any more fights like that. Fights like that shorten your career.”

Indeed. And Khan’s trainer Freddie Roach insists his charge take another fight at 140-pounds, so he can “stop making the mistakes he made,” before moving on - hopefully to a mega-fight with the one and only Floyd Mayweather Junior.

“It was a great fight,” Freddie said to Radio Five Live. “He showed a lot of heart and a chin. He went from a boy to a man today. He fought the toughest guy out there. I don’t think him and Pacquiao will fight, they are very good friends. Business is business and I hope Mayweather comes to the table first.

“We need another fight at 140 to make sure he looks good. If he cleans up the 140-pound division and then goes to 147, Mayweather won’t fight Pacquiao but maybe he will fight Amir Khan. It would be a fight I would welcome.”

And now, for the first time, so too would the fans. With his blend of speed, power and resiliency, Khan would have to be given a decent shot at upsetting “Money.” Remember, Floyd is almost 34, whereas Khan is a decade younger, and the way he fought last night - with a blend of boxing skill, speed and a machismo - Khan would be no pushover for Mayweather.

I’m not yet saying Khan would beat Mayweather (let’s not get carried away just yet!), but the match-up can no longer be laughed at as one that will never happen.

Freddie Roach wants it, and I’ll bet if you asked De La Hoya, Haye and Hamed, they’d say that they want to see it too.

Article posted on 12.12.2010



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