Time To Listen: Enough Is Enough For Amir Khan

Tom Dunstan

Part-time fighter and full-time celebrity, Amir Khan, reappeared on the boxing scene. Instead of preparing his audition tape for the next series of ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!’ the former Olympian is trying to reignite boxing fans hopes of a dream clash with bitter rival Kell Brook. However, instead of hyping his homecoming should Khan be more focused on hanging up the gloves?

For those of you who do have a good memory, you will remember that the last time we saw Amir Khan inside a ring he was crashing to the canvas, already unconscious following a devastating right hand from Canelo Alvarez in May 2016, since then, Khan has quickly transformed himself into British boxing’s forgotten man.

In 2004, Khan quickly announced himself as a household name after winning a silver medal at the Athens Olympics and simultaneously becoming the poster boy for the next wave of British boxing talent. Since then, the self-proclaimed ‘King’ has only fought on British soil twice since 2009 and now aged 30, the former unified light-welterweight champion is looking to rebuild what remains of his dwindling career.

For what feels like an eternity now, the British public have been silently praying for an all British grudge match between long time rivals Amir Khan and Kell Brook, but, much like Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao, many fight fans feel that the ship has sailed and the fight has gone past it sell-by date, thanks to Khan’s continued stalling tactics.

Khan first shunned the idea of a clash with Kell Brook almost four years ago, claiming that first Brook needed to win a world title in order to prove himself worthy. Then, after Brook successfully won a world title and defended it several times, Khan’s new excuse was that Kell needed to take on a dangerous challenge first, so then Brook opted to face off with Gennady Golovkin, arguably the most feared boxer on the planet.

Now, though, along with being Britain’s most forgotten man, Khan is also the king of the excuses, last week he claimed that after four years of waiting, the fight still isn’t at it’s prime. If there was ever a case of a fighter ducking another, this is it.

Over the past year, Khan seems to have had his finger firmly on the self-destruct button, instead of cashing in on a career that was at its peak, Khan has been involved in a very public divorce that has seen him at the centre of some embarrassing battles on social media, rather than producing performances inside the ring.

Now a fighter who has been brutally knocked out at lightweight, light-welterweight and middleweight, Khan’s stock in America has reached an all-time low. After several long periods of inactivity, Khan is now a fighter who not only hasn’t held a world title in over five years, he is also a fighter who has only boxed twice in the last three years.

At what point do health issues take a toll? Along with being rendered unconscious by Canelo in 2016, Khan has built a name on bouncing back from devastating losses. In 2012, the Bolton born ‘fighter’ was dropped three times by Danny Garcia in 2012 and was also brutally KO’d by relatively unheard of American Bredis Prescott, a man who has lost 11 times in his career. Retiring with your mind in one piece is a blessing from a sport as brutal as boxing and instead of tarnishing his legacy anymore, Khan should listen to the advice of some of boxing’s wisest figures.

He should retire. He should retire for his own health. These people won’t listen. He says he’s got three or four fights left in him. Does that mean three or four times he’s going to get knocked out? Because if he fights Kell Brook, he gets knocked out, and he knows that as well. We all know that. It’s a fight that we would all have loved to have seen, but frankly it’s gone past it’s sell-by date and Amir Khan has gone by his sell-by date as well. The only person who doesn’t know it, is Amir Khan. – Barry Hearn


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