Amir Khan and the eight million dollar question

posted on: 07/02/2016

ALAN HUBBARD’S PUNCHLINES – 7.2.16

 I will be astonished if Saul Alverez doesn’t clobber Amir Khan when they meet in Las Vegas on May 7. But then, didn’t we say the same thing about Wladimir Klitschko and Tyson Fury?

Stuff happens in boxing and sometimes it is strange stuff indeed, which is  why for some risk-takers Amir may be worth a punt, though personally I’d be reluctant to risk the housekeeping on it.

Amir Khan

Whatever else we may think about the wisdom of this catchweight confrontation there is no doubt it has the Wow! factor.

That is, in ‘Wow, we never saw this one coming.’

Why on earth has Khan taken this fight?” is the question I have been asked repeatedly since it was announced. Well, there are eight millon reasons why- every one of them a green-backed dollar bill.

Not bad recompense for a challenger. It is the same as Carl Froch pocketed for fighting George Groves at Wembley Stadium – but he was the champion.

After being given the run- around by Mayweather and Pacquiao, Khan deserves a big-money marquee fight like this.

Of course he might have earned similar mega-bucks against Kell Brook,  but in global terms this is much bigger.

I have always liked Amir and wish him the good luck he’s going to need with Canelo in what could be the most intriguing fight of the year –while it lasts.

And should he by chance pull it off the former two-times light-welterweight champion will become only the fourth Briton to capture the lineal middleweight title – after Randolph Turpin, Terry Downes and Alan Minter – and the first in nearly four decades.

However I wonder if Khan caught the CNN interview with Ricky Hatton’s younger brother Matthew, who also moved up in weight to gamely take on Alvarez in 2011 City, being totally overwhelmed in 12 pain-filled rounds. It certainly offers food for thought, so to speak.

He recalls:; “I remember at the weigh-in with Canelo thinking I’m about the same size as him. But then when he turned up for the fight he was like Popeye who had just eaten his spinach, muscles bulging and a lot bigger. He was like a different man. He’s so thick set.

“The fight with Amir is made at a catchweight, but God knows what weight Canelo will be on fight night. Amir will be giving a lot away. I can’t look past a knockout sooner or later for Alvarez.”

Me too, I am afraid. But the boy’s got balls.

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Floyd not quite Bristol fashion

Two US fistic megastars, Evander Holyfield and and Floyd Mayweather jnr, have been paying we Brits a courtesy call this past week. The Real Deal dropped in on BoxNation’s Bunce’s Boxing Hour to give an absorbing interview which included some fascinating observations on the two Tysons- Mike and Fury. If you missed it ,it  it is well worth  catching a repeat or catch up On Demand.

Floyd Mayweather

Meantime TBE was being mobbed in London and elsewhere on his nationwide chat shows. Everywhere except Bristol, that is.

Mayweather was was due to appear at Bristol’s Colston Hall on Tuesday  but the event was cancelled as an independent women’s group called ‘Fight Abuse Bristol’ (FAB) campaigned against the appearance and planned a protest for the evening because of his convictions for domestic violence.

However those Glaswegian lasses weren’t quite as militant when he turned up in the city last night, and he is due to talk the talk at the City Hall, Sheffield, tonight, the Macron Stadium, Bolton on Thurs and the Vox, Birmingham on Friday.

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You know what we mean, Frank

Dear old Frank Bruno was back doing what he does best last night-and thankfully that was not returning to boxing.

The 54-year-old was simply being himself at the Lycamobile British Ethnic Diversity Awards at London’s Grosvenor House.

This is more the sort of stuff he should be concentrating on and not putting his life on the line in some dodgy foreign ring.

Frank Bruno

However, much as it has been derided, Big Frank really was serious about it, training in various rings including Ricky Hatton’s in Manchester and an amateur one  in Northampton.

There he had a long chat with former Board of Control secretary John Morris who strongly counselled against his wish to re-apply for a licence..

Says Morris:”Although there is in doubt he is in excellent physical shape, apart from his age and other obvious considerations I told him I doubted he would pass the eye test.”

Yet if nothing else, declaring that he wanted to make a ‘comeback’ at least got Bruno’s name in the papers – it was the front page splash in one tabloid-  which won’t harm his commercial prospects.

Know what I mean, Frank?

This noble- and sometimes ignoble- art

Boxing is a sport of great contrasts. Take the two televised shows last weekend from Montreal at London’s Copperbox respectively.

In Montreal we saw the cruel streak of Sergey Kovalev who admitted he so disliked opponent Jean Pascal that ”I wanted to fight more rounds and make him more pain.”

There was no handshake or traditional embrace at the end, either. Neither did they want to touch gloves at the start. It was unnecessarily ugly and unsporting.

However in London on the undercard the Groves v Di Luisa scrap we witnessed an heartwarming display of real sportsmanship between two rivals who are also pals, John Wayne Hibbert and Tommy Martin. They  tore into each other until a  controversial finish when Martin misjudged the count  in the final round of their Commonwealth super-lightweight title bout.

Afterward there were kind words of comfort and congratulations and  kisses from both winner (who promptly offered a return) and loser as they sat on the ring apron with arms draped around each other.

Although bitterly disappointed Martin had hoisted Hibbert on his shoulders and even praised referee Victor Loughlin “for keeping us safe in there.”

That really is the true spirit of the sport.

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FIGHTING TALK

Me and Sergey Kovalev are on a collision course. I don’t think it’s a matter of ‘if’ – it’s a matter of ‘when’“.

Andre Ward says he’s ready,willing and able to confront The Krusher

Kovalev is not a nice person around the guys he fights but that does not make him a bad person. He ‘s not a classy guy. He is what he is. There’s nothing fake about him.

BoxNation’s Steve Bunce defends the Russian’s mean streak after watching him hurt and humiliate Jean Pascal.

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They made me suicidal – mess up your head, mess up your clock – you can’t sleep. I’m walking around break-dancing I’ve got so much energy. I feel like Superman, I’m going to the gym all the time, working hard – that’s why I’ve got to come into boxing … to get this out of my system, because I don’t want to end up in Broadmoor hospital.

Frank Bruno on the drugs he was prescribed for his bi-polar condition and the desire to get back into the ring at 54.

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He’s going to be world champion one day. But unlike (Chris) Eubank I’m not going to interfere in my son’s career.

Nigel Benn

Nigel Benn promises to stay in the-background when dad’s lad Conor, 19, turns pro in the spring.

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Life’s too short for regrets, so I don’t regret anything. I apologise if I’ve hurt anyone in the last but I don’t apologise for my beliefs.

A  touch of the Edith Piaf’s(‘Non, je ne regretted rien’) from Tyson Fury.

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Khan has a lot of balls taking that fight. I like that fight. Let’s see how good he really is. He [Khan] can out-box him. He is very athletic  but I think he might be a little bit too small. If he wins this one, it’ll put him on the map worldwide.

Former tutor Freddie Roach suggests size matters when Khan faces Canelo.

Tomorrow: The Big Interview with Prince Patel

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