What does one get when they cross boxing hall of fame trainer Freddie Roach, the Oscar De La Hoya-led Golden Boy Promotions and a quick-handed young boxer? If trends continue, a superstar.
That is exactly what Amir Khan is hoping for. The brash 23-year-old has racked up an impressive record of 23-1, 17 of which were by knockout, a silver medal at the 2004 Summer Olympics and he is currently the holder of the WBA World Light-Welterweight Championship.
The “Pride of Bolton” has hitched his career to Freddie Roach and Golden Boy Promotions primarily because his career, though impressive, has been virtually unheralded outside of the United Kingdom.
However, Khan, as a Muslim, has to fight more than the boxers in the ring.
Even in his native home of England he feels his Pakistani heritage and religious beliefs prevent him from being the star a boxer of his ability and record deserves.
"I know if I was a white English fighter I would be a superstar in Britain," he said.
That’s what the well-documented Midas touch of Roach and Golden Boy aim to change.
Of the six non-heavyweight events to sell over one million pay per views, Golden Boy founder Oscar De La Hoya either fought or promoted five of them.
And the list of fighters Freddie Roach has trained is a who's who of future hall of famers in boxing and mixed martial arts, including Manny Pacquiao, De La Hoya, James Toney, Wladimir Klitschko, Anderson Silva, BJ Penn, Georges St-Pierre; even Shaquille O’Neal, during an episode of the basketball stars reality show, was trained by Roach. They have had almost instant impact on his career.
His sparring partner is now Manny Pacquiao and although blessed with blazing hand speed and immaculate footwork, the biggest weakness of Khan is his defense.
Under the tutelage of Roach, however, it has drastically improved, having not been knocked down once since taking on Roach as a trainer; something that plagued the young fighter early in his career.
Golden Boy Promotions got him his first fight in America at Madison Square Garden in New York City last May against the American Paulie Malignaggi, which Khan won easily by TKO.
The next stop on “King” Khan’s plan for boxing world domination will need to be a match with knockout artist, Marcos Maidana, holder of the WBA Super Lightweight Championship.
Khan is on record saying he wants to unify the lightweight division titles; that would be the perfect start and would also be a major challenge that through victory would silence many of his critics.
But further from his skill as a boxing star is also as a diplomat for his religion.
He embraces the challenge of opening up the eyes of people around the globe.
"In the ring, I’m doing what I love but in the world I’m a man of peace," he said. "If, as a sportsman and an icon, I can send a message that will help people, I will do that."
Khan is in a deep division and will be unproven until he fights the other top 140 fighters. You hear about him being Muslim, but I am glad the media doesn't focus on it and lets him just be a boxer. You can be Muslim, and your faith doesn't always have to be a banner you wear. Just practice and let people get to know you as an individual because it’s respected more with a personal connection. That way if I disagree can narrow it down to topic, or tact and I am not always generalizing a whole faith. I look at Khan as a boxer and his religious views are his own.
July 27, 2010
if the public is proud of him they need to show it. He is a much better fighter than Rick Hatton but will not receive the type of support Hatton gets. Considering their in the same division, it would be go to see them fight. Both would make millions though Hatton would not fight another Roach fighter. On the other hand he's not a buffoon like Prince Naseem Hamed and conduct himself different. Nothing against Hamed but his attraction was his circus act, and I'm sure the the great Brits loved their own version of a England Minstrel Show. Ouch...
June 30, 2010
June 28, 2010
good job! keep up the good work
June 23, 2010
Im a white British guy and I admire Amir for 2 reasons, 1st because after being beaten badly by Prescot he picked himself up, found Roach and has become a great fighter. 2nd because with all the anti-muslim cr*p going around, Amir embraces his religion and also is very proud of being British. I hope he knows that the general public in Britain are very proud of him
June 23, 2010
Great job vince, very well written
June 22, 2010