19 Apr 19
Amir Khan will look to dethrone one of the greatest boxers of the modern era on Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The former two-time world champion has his eyes on Terence Crawford’s WBO welterweight title.
Amir Khan and Terence Crawford go head-to-head this weekend
Crawford is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet, but boxing promoter Frank Warren made a case for the 32-year-old Khan upsetting the bookmakers.
“Let’s look at the pluses for Khan,” he told talkSPORT. “Amir is comfortable at this weight. He’s had a long layoff, come back and had two decent fights. He’s still only 32 – he’s only a couple of years older than Anthony Joshua and a year older than Crawford himself – they are the pluses. You can also add that he’s got speed, great footwork and he’s certainly got a big heart.
“But he’s up against one of the best fighters in recent times in Terence Crawford. He’s won three world titles in three different weight divisions. He’s only one of six boxers in history to be a four-belt unified champion – and he’s undefeated. It’s tough for Amir. On paper, you’d have to go with Crawford But, anything can happen in boxing.”
It’s a tall order for Khan, much like the one Anthony Crolla faced last week in Los Angeles against Vasyl Lomachenko. That endeavour ended in a fourth-round knockout defeat for Crolla.
Vasyl Lomachenko put Anthony Crolla away in the fourth round
If Khan is at his best, there is no doubt the Olympic Games silver medallist has the tools to trouble the world’s best. But does Warren think Khan is close to his prime?
“That I don’t know,” Warren confessed. “On his day, he can be and has been an excellent fighter. The losses he’s had haven’t been to mugs, have they? [Saul] Alvarez and [Danny] Garcia… but then again, Crawford is no mug. I think if he has a chance, he has more of a chance than Crolla had [Vs Lomachenko] – I think he had zero chance of winning that fight. But, no question – Amir is going to have his hands full.”
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Prior to agreeing to face Crawford, Khan seemed destined to finally lock horn with bitter domestic rival Kell Brook. The lustre of a world title fight, a big purse and MSG seemed too much for Khan to spurn, but will the fight with Brook ever happen?
“I don’t know whether it will still happen or not, but it says a lot about Amir that he opted for the tougher option. I think the Kell Brook and Amir Khan fight has gone past its sell-by date now. It’s been talked about for a number of years and unless Amir was to win this title [WBO welterweight] and defend against Kell Brook, then that would be a huge fight. Otherwise, I think that fight now is way past its sell-by date.
“He’s made a choice and it was a tough choice for him, but that says a lot about Amir and that’s the guy he has always been. He’s not the type to shy away from a challenge, never has been.”
When James DeGale was announced to face Chris Eubank Jr, the former stated that it was a retirement fight for either man. Many in the media saw through DeGale’s proclamation and viewed it as the beginning of his demise that it ultimately was.
Chris Eubank Jr retired James DeGale on February 23
DeGale would indeed retire following that defeat; is Khan using a high-profile chance against the odds as a similar tool? He has said so himself this week that he is in his ‘final chapter’ and he’d be retired by now if it wasn’t for his kids.
“I think with James DeGale’s last fight, the signs were there, weren’t they? When [Caleb] Truax beat him – on my show actually, I promoted that – he looked terrible, didn’t look good at all. And you’ve got to look at what Truax was: I think he was ranked about 40 in the world so it was a real bad loss for James and, for me, he never looked like the same fighter after that. That night, he just became an old man.
“I don’t think Amir has become an old man yet. There are times when you think he should have retired and so forth, but he’s certainly got the bit between his teeth, he’s got the belief and he looked OK in his last fight – he believes he’s going to go out there and cause an upset. If confidence wins fights – he’s there. He really does fancy his chances but it’s a tough, tough call for him.”
So what is Warren’s final prediction for Khan Vs Crawford? Can the Bolton-born star pull of one of boxing’s greatest upsets?
Frank Warren used to promote Amir Khan
“Heart says Amir, but head says Crawford. I think he’s a super fighter. He’s a fighter I think we should cherish. If Amir does win, it will be a magnificent win. You could put that in front of [Lloyd] Honeyghan and Don Curry [1986 upset].”
talkSPORT spoke to Warren ahead of Amir Khan’s clash with WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford this Saturday, April 20 and you can watch that live on BT Sport Box Office from 11:30pm UK time.
Khan takes on Crawford in New York on Saturday night