By Frank Warren
As a huge tennis fan, I was delighted to see Andy Murray finally win a Grand Slam at the US Open last Monday.
I didn’t think the Scot, who loves his boxing, was capable as he seemed to lack the stamina to get over the line in the big ones. However, since linking with Czech coach Ivan Lendl, Andy appears to have overcome that barrier and, at just 25, can look forward to a fantastic future.
Amir Khan is the same age as Murray but his prospects are rather bleaker after he was knocked out in round four by WBC light-welter champion Danny Garcia last July.
Once again, his chin gave way and it’s a problem that’s blighted him since Oldham’s Craig Watson decked him in the ABAs as an amateur. Even before he was spectacularly wiped out in just 54 seconds by Columbia’s Breidis Prescott at Manchester’s MEN Arena in 2008, the Olympic silver medallist had been put on the carpet by Rachid Drilzane, Willie Limond and Michael Gomez.
There is no question that Khan is highly skilled and has balls of steel but he hasn’t learnt to fight inside and is woefully susceptible to right hands. Clearly he has weak whiskers and, in boxing, there’s an old adage that you can’t put muscles on chins.
You can, however, limit the number of times you get hit by deploying a tight defence and developing appropriate tactical nous. Lately, Khan has shown neither and they can only by developed through quality coaching – just as Murray has eradicated his shortcomings under Lendl.
It is not unusual for a fighter’s trainer to take the flak following a defeat and next week Team Khan is expected to announce a split from Freddie Roach, the Californian who has groomed
Amir for his last ten fights but done little to correct his defence.
There is a huge misconception that American boxers, coaches and gyms are superior to those in the UK. That was ruthlessly exposed at the London Olympics were Britain’s men bagged four medals and the USA got none.
Right now, our trainers compare very favourably and Khan would be wise to choose prudently if he is to resurrect his career.
It’s 12 months since BoxNation launched with last season’s Domestic Fight Of The Year between Liam Walsh and Paul Appleby.
Next Saturday, the rising TV channel looks primed to celebrate its anniversary by showcasing this year’s best fight when Scotland’s Ricky Burns defends his WBO lightweight crown against big hitting Cockney Kevin Mitchell.
Burns, from Coatbridge, has to be the most improved fighter in Britain. He is a model pro who, through dedication, has scalped proven world grade opponents such as Puerto Rico’s Rocky Martinez and Australia’s Michael Katsidis. He will profit from fanatical home support at Glasgow’s 8,500 capacity SECC venue.
However, after conquering a few demons outside the ropes, challenger Mitchell is bang up for this. He carries sleeping pills in both fists and has been in ‘lock down’ for three months with leading trainers Jimmy and Mark Tibbs.
Don’t miss it. It’s guaranteed to be a cracker!
Former two weight world champion Ricky Hatton was granted his licence and later confirmed rumours that he is to make a ring comeback, at the age of 34, on November 24th.
‘The Hitman’ was one of the most exciting, and certainly most popular, fighters that Britain has produced this Millennium. His mooted return will generate huge media coverage and several TV companies, including BoxNation, have expressed interest.
Personally, I wish Hatton would stay away. In his last ring appearance in May 2009, he was left stretched on his back counting birdies, courtesy of a brutal Manny Pacquiao left cross.
Three and a half years sat putting weight on certainly won’t have improved him. In the interim, the Mancunian has been troubled with drug and alcohol problems that ended with a spell in rehab. He bravely and admirably fought his demons and now is working hard in the gym and h should get credit for that, but I wish he wouldn’t fight again.
Great things are being predicted for Mexico’s Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez who defends his WBC light-middle belt against California’s Josesito Lopez, live on BoxNation, in the early hours of Sunday morning.
The flame haired 22 year old has strung together a 41 fight unbeaten run with 29 knockouts and has certainly captured the public’s imagination over in the US.
However, I’ll reserve judgement on whether he’ll emulate fellow Mexican greats such as Salvador Sanchez, Marco Antonio Barrera and Julio Cesar Chavez until we’ve seen a bit more of him.
People are far too keen to label good fighters as ‘great’. This week, we had Eddie Hearn, who’s never managed a world champion is trying to persuade us that Carl Froch is a ‘legend’. Get real!
Trust me, ‘The Cobra’ wanted no part of a prime Joe Calzaghe – now there’s a legend – and I offered him top dollar to challenge the Welshman several times. Froch got beaten by Denmark’s Mikkel Kessler, who Calzaghe ruined, and was comprehensively schooled by Californian Andre Ward last December. Hardly the form of a ‘legend’.
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