I can’t help thinking that WBA Jr. Welterweight Champion Amir Khan (24-1, 17Kos) might be putting too much on the line too soon by fighting Paul McCloskey next month in Manchester. If you asked Paul who? don’t be embarrassed. You’ll be like most other boxing fans.
McCloskey is a 32-year-old junior welterweight from Northern Ireland, who just happens to be the undefeated European champion. He’s got a perfect 22-0 record with 12 Kos. But most of his opponents had to be fingerprinted to find out who they were. Other than Cesar Bazan of Mexico, there’s not really any recognizable international fighter on his resume.
I can understand Khan wanting to hold the fight in his home country of England, and I can understand him wanting to get back in the ring relatively soon after his war with Marcos Maidana last December, but I’m having a hard time understanding why he’s going to risk his belt against a relative unknown like McCloskey.
Khan’s a sizzling commodity right now, one of the hottest in boxing after his unanimous decision over Maidana in Vegas on HBO. He finally put it all together and what better place and way to do it to impress American boxing fans across the nation. Granted, Maidana came this close to turning Khan’s lights out near the end of the fight, but the Englishman showed what champions are made of by withstanding the onslaught. The scrap was so good U.S. boxing writers named it fight of the year.
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Everybody wants a piece of him now because Khan’s made a name for himself and he’s still viewed as being beatable by many of the top contenders. The check books are coming out and huge offers have been laid on the table for the 24-year-old.
However, instead of going for a huge payday, Khan’s settled for fighting McCloskey, which will definitely slow down all of the momentum he’s built up over the last couple of years. On paper, Khan wins hands-down. This isn’t to say McCloskey’s not a good fighter and doesn’t stand a chance, because he does.
Khan was supposed to clean Breidis Prescott’s clock too back in 2008 when looking at their records, but it was Khan who was taken to the cleaners that night in just 54 seconds. Khan’s chin still comes into question, even though it was solid against Maidana, and that’s why it’s hard to figure out why he’s going to risk his title for relative peanuts when he could be raking in the big bucks by taking on a big-name opponent.
Sure, the fight’s going to be a big draw in Britain, and I’m sure McCloskey’s going to bring a few thousand fanatics with him. The atmosphere will be electric, but other than Britain, this is seen as nothing fight against a nothing opponent. If Khan wants to fight an “easier” opponent on April 16, fans around the world would have an interest in watching him take on Prescott in a rematch because of the history between them.
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If Khan happens to lose to McCloskey, he’s going to have to start all over again from square one. If he’s going to put his title and reputation on the line I just think at this point in his career he’d be better off doing it against a top opponent for buckets full of money… just in case he never gets the chance again.