Tracing The Roots: Amir Khan

    (July 10, 2012 – Source: David Becker/Getty Images North America)

    Amir “King” Khan (26-2, 18KO’s) is 25 years old. Amir was born and raised in Bolton, England and he is a second generation Pakistani. His grandparents moved to Britain in the 1950’s. Khan speaks three languages English, Urdu and Punjabi. Khan is involved in his local community and has donated over a Million dollars of his own money to open the Gloves Community Center and Boxing Gym in his hometown of Bolton dedicated to getting the youth off of the streets. Amir is a practicing Muslim who is engaged to Faryal Makhdoom. Amir Khan is taking his fight with Danny Garcia a week before the holy month of Ramadan begins. Ramadan is the Islamic month of fasting in which Muslims, hoping for reward from Allah, will — only from dawn until dusk — refrain from eating & drinking, sexual relations, forged speech & evil actions, such as fighting and quarreling and increased recitation of the Quran.


    At the age of 17 Khan won a Silver medal in the 2004 Summer Olympics as the lone Britain representative. Amir joined such names as Andre Ward, Guillermo Rigondeaux, Yuriorkis Gamboa, Gennady Golovkin, Alexander Povetkin, and Andre Dirrell as medalist in the Athens games. Khan lost to Cuba’s 2000 Olympic Gold Medal winner Mario Kindelan in the finals. Kindelan, who only fought as an amateur since boxing is forbidden professionally in Cuba, came out of retirement to allow Khan to avenge his previous losses. Khan beat Kandalen by points 19-13 in what would be both boxers’ last amateur fights.


    Amir turned professional and won his first 18 bouts, collecting a Commonwealth title at lightweight along the way.  In 17 of those victories Khan was trained by Oliver Harrison.


    After leaving Harrison, Khan hired Cuba’s Jorge Rubio to become his trainer in his 19th fight against Breides Prescott. Khan ended up getting knocked out against Prescott in only 54 seconds. Not only was it Amir’s first loss but it was his Sky debut. As a result to the surprising knockout loss Amir changed his trainer and joined forces with Freddie Roach. Khan went on to beat a Fagan in his first fight under the tutelage of Roach in the 2nd round.


    The next fight came against legendary Mexican fighter Marco Antonio Barrera. Barrera, who ranks #43 on ESPN’s Greatest boxers of all times, was 35 years old at the time he fought Khan and lost 2 of his previous 4 fights to Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao. Khan would beat Barrera via 5th round technical decision. After a first round unintentional clash of heads, Barrera suffered a deep cut on his forehead. The gash would not stop bleeding and ring side doctors decided to stop the fight in the 5th round. The timing of the stoppage was controversial due to the cuts being sustained in the 1st round and the fight being able to continue until the 5th round. Khan was easily ahead on all 3 judges score card and was awarded the victory in his last fight at 135lbs.

    On July 18, 2009 moved up to 140lbs to take on Andreas Kotelnik for the WBA title. Khan easily won a decision victory over Kotelnik and became a champion at the age of 22. Khan would then complete his last fight under his Promoter Frank Warren against Dmitry Salita. Khan defeated the previously unbeaten Salita, a practicing Orthodox Jew, in a first round technical knockout. This fight was heavily promoted on the basis of religion. Salita was knocked down three times and was eventually stopped 76 seconds into the bout.


    In January of 2010, Amir King Khan made a decision to be an International star and signed with Golden Boy Promotions. Khan left promoter Frank Warren after 5 years. Warren was frustrated because he was told about Khan’s decision two days after he had heard the report on the news.


    In his United States debut Amir Khan fought Paulie Mallignaggi. The fight took place in the Theater of Madison Square Garden in New York on May 15, 2010. Amir Khan put on a showcase performance for the U.S. fans. Amir showed his power, hand speed, and ring generalship against a well-known Mallignaggi. The fight was stopped in the 11th round by referee Steve Smoger.


    In the post-fight interview with Max Kellerman, Khan called out for a 4 man tournament. Stating that Devon Alexander should fight Timothy Bradley and he would face Marcos Maidana with the winners meeting up so that they could unify the division. Both fights happened and instead of the winner Bradley facing Khan for a 1.3 million dollar pay day and half of the United Kingdom Pay per View Bradley instead took his chances and signed with Top Rank and eventually got a 5 million dollar pay day against Manny Pacquiao.


    In the 2010 fight of the year, Amir Khan outlasted Marcos Maidana to earn a 12 round decision. Khan knocked the Argentinean Maidana down in the 1st round with a body shot. Maidana was deducted a point in the 5th round for an illegal elbow. Maidana came back to dominate the 10th round and almost had Khan out on his feet. Amir Khan proved that he could take a punch and closed the show. Coincidently enough, Lamont Peterson vs. Victor Ortiz draw took place on the undercard of Khan-Maidana.


    Khan went home to England and took on Irishman Paul McCloskey last year. McCloskey’s southpaw style gave Khan some trouble but nothing of value. Khan was shutting out McCloskey on all three judges’ scorecards until an unintentional head but caused a gash on Paul’s eye and the fight was stopped. While Amir didn’t do enough to impress the world, he certainly did enough to outpoint McCloskey.

    Khan then took on Judah. Khan dominated a cautious Judah with a body shot on the beltline. Judah claimed it was a low blow and tried to sell it to referee, Vic Drakulich. Amir won Judah’s IBF title as a result of the victory.


     Lamont Peterson upset Amir Khan winning a highly controversial Split Decision in Peterson’s hometown of Washington D. C. , last December. Khan lost both the WBA and the IBF light welterweight titles as a result. Joe Cooper deducted a point in the 7th round for excess pushing, and a point in the 12th round that changed the outcome of the fight. Cooper deducted a point in the last round for pushing off, not to gain an illegal advantage but to create space; it seemed not only unfair but biased. Judge George Hill scored the contest 113-112 for Peterson; Judge Nelson Vasquez scored the contest 115-110 for Khan, with the final judge Valerie Dorsett scored the contest 113-112 Peterson.

    Without that final point deduction Khan would remain champion via majority draw. To add to complications of the match Team Khan pointed out on video that a man wearing a hat, later to be named Mustafa Ameen, was interfering with the judge’s scorecards. Ameen was an IBF official who held conversations with Michael Welsh the WBA supervisor ringside. Mustafa Ameen was also celebrating with Team Peterson in the ring after the scorecards wear read in Petersons favor. Ameen denied any guilt but admitted that he did correct the score card. Mustafa said “I noticed one error and a subsequent error. I assisted him in correcting it without touching anything. I happened to look down, I believe at the end of the third round, I looked down and I saw Mr. Welsh’s score. I saw, I believe, it could have been nine, nine, and nine-which is 27 all day long. There was an error. It might have been 26 or 28 but he was off by a point or two. I happened to look down and I said “ Michael nine times three is 27” Welsh replied with “oh my god, I’m not feeling well this evening, thank you very much.” And then corrected the score himself.

    To make matters even more badly the IBF declared there was no grounds for a rematch. Golden Boy Promotions, on behalf of Amir Khan, did appeal the decision but later rescinded stating that there was no need since Khan would get a rematch and the most important witness Welsh would not be able to comment in the hearing.


    Khan vs. Peterson 2 was canceled just 11 days before the fight when Lamont Peterson tested positive for a banned substance. Lamont had requested that both boxers take a random blood and urine drug testing administered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA). VADA notified team Peterson of the positive results of the test on April 13th yet didn’t inform Golden Boy until May 7th. VADA claimed that there legal right was to notify team Peterson. Unfortunately, the fans that had already made travel arrangements to attend this fight were only officially told 9 days before the fight that it was canceled. I happen to fall in that category, luckily for me I’m only 240 miles away from Las Vegas. Peterson admitted that he used testosterone pellets prior to the first Khan fight at the request of his doctor because he had the testosterone level of an 80 year old man. Peterson used the pellets by placing them under his armpit until they slowly absorbed into his body. Peterson was stripped of his WBA title but not the IBF belt. Khan was recently reinstated as the WBA champion.

    Enter in his next foe Danny Garcia. Danny Garcia (23-0, 14KO’s) will be defending his WBC light welterweight title that he recently won by beating aging Mexican icon Erik Morales via a twelve round unanimous decision. While Danny Garcia is known domestically to the hardcore boxing enthusiast, Khan is known internationally for his in-ring boxing ability and outside the ring for his vocal and confident personality. Khan rubs many people the wrong way and comes across as whiny and a complainer. Many feel that Khan is overrated and is hyped up because he is from the United Kingdom. Amir’s diehard fans know better, Khan’s army will tell you that he is a top 5 pound for pound fighter with the potential to beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao, thus becoming the most top rated boxer in the world.

    Danny Garcia is in a win, win situation. If he beats Khan he is a Star, and if he hold his own he would have left the fight better than he entered it except for losing the belt.

    Racist remarks by Angel Garcia, Danny Garcia’s trainer and father, have fueled fire under Khan and his team. I have no problem with a trainer, fighter, or even a fan for that matter critiquing the opposition. Angel Garcia called Amir Khan an overrated fighter, a -nobody, and European hype. My problem is with Angel Garcia’s racist rant of “I have never met a Pakistanian who could fight.” Garcia took it one step further by bringing religion into this fight stating: “And I know Khan’s God already. Khan’s God is a punishing God. My God is a loving God.” The Arabic word for God is Allah. In short just to show how ignorant Angels Garcia’s comment is Allah begins the very first sentence that you read in the Quran in the name of Allah “Bismillah (In the name of Allah) al-Rahman (The Most Compassionate) al-Raheem (The Most Merciful)”.

    Danny Garcia has a better chance than odds makers give him credit for (Garcia is currently a 5 to 1 underdog with Khan ranging from 6 to 7 and 1 favorite), Garcia will be able to land on Khan due to Amir’s willingness to exchange. The difference is Khan possess more power than Danny. Garcia has never been behind in a fight and has always coasted to victory. I believe khan will start off strong boxing and using his advantages of being a faster boxer. Garcia will try to come back from behind and knockout Khan, which will leave him more open for Khans assault.

    My Prediction: Khan by l0th round KO.