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By Rich Mazon

King Khan advances his dream to be the sport's best
Mon, 25 Jul 2011

Zab Judah is surprised that the fight was over when he lifted his eyes to look at referee Vic Drakulich after being knocked down by what he claims is a low blow in the 5th round of his fight last night with Amir Khan.

The replays of the knockdown shown might be debatable but the result was not. It may be a low blow to some but Amir Khan clearly won the fight from the opening bell.

The native of Bolton, England used his long reach to ward off Judah with stinging jabs that clearly painted the landscape of the fight. With Judah in the defensive, Khan was able to unload hard right hands that stopped the Brooklyn born fighter in his tracks.

Judah was hurt early as evidenced by blood coming out of his nose and mouth in the second round of the fight. A swelling in his right eye which was caused by a clashed of heads in the first round also clearly bothered Judah. But what bothered Zab Judah the most was his inability to get to the rangy Amir Khan. Not only was Khan rangy, he also has fast hands. Faster than Judah's, who was once famous for having the fastest hands in the business. And when you add power to that, the results are almost predictable.

Amir Khan is growing both as an individual and a boxer in our very eyes. He is physically maturing as an athlete as shown by his size last night. He looked bigger and bulkier than his last two fights with Paul McCloskey and Marcos Maidana. He clearly outsized Zab Judah in the ring of the Mandalay Bay, Resort and Casino. An advantage he put to good use last night with his domination of Judah. He is growing as a boxer as he now holds two belts of the light welterweight division, his WBA and Judah's IBF belt.

A fight with WBC and WBO champ Timothy Bradley will give him the chance to unify the belts in the division. One thing that he has his eyes on before he eventually moved to full welterweight. That was the original plan of Khan and his promoters before this fight, but Bradley has not shown any interest to it. Bradley was rumored to be looking to move over to Top Rank for a possible mega fight with Manny Pacquiao. He is now involved in a contract dispute with his estranged promoter Gary Shaw. If the unification fight will not be there, expect Khan to mingle with the talented welterweight division very soon.

The question about Amir Khan's chin is always present when he fights. His first round knockout loss to Breidis Prescott in 2008 is the cause for it. It was his only loss to date. It was put to the test last year when Maidana stunned him in the 10th round of their "Fight of the Year" bout. It was suppose to be put to the test by the sleek, power punching Judah. One that did not came to fruition with his dominating win over Judah. He won all four rounds of the fight and probably the next eight rounds if it ever came to the full twelve.

The knockdown was imminent as he was getting to Judah at will and without any resistance from the former five time champ. His jabs are dart like and precise. And the combinations that came after those jabs are hurtful. His stance and movement on Judah who is a southpaw was consistent throughout the fight. Clearly, Amir Khan's skills are improving as he fights on. And with the great Freddy Roach in his corner, he will continue to improve. That and the watchful eye of conditioning coach Alex Ariza, and you have a winning tandem that will prepare Khan well for every fight.

The 24 year old Khan is in rush to be great in this sport. You can sense that in him. His confidence is ever present and wins like tonight continue to boosts it. He verbalizes his desire to be great like Pacquiao, his stable mate in the Wild Card gym. Maybe even better than him. He clamors for the hard fights like Maidana and Bradley. He does not hide his wish to be the sport's pound for pound best in the future.

That is why he has his eyes on Floyd Mayweather as early as now. If the mega fight between Pacquiao and Mayweather happens to yet again fall off the tracks, expect Khan to jump in position to be in line if Mayweather gets pass by Victor Ortiz in September 17. This fight will be easier to make as Khan will virtually agree to any demands that Mayweather imposes. They also share a favorable atmosphere that is Golden Boy Promotions. A win against the other best fighter of the sport in Mayweather will undoubtedly shoot him up the ladder of the mythical pound for pound list, probably to the top of it if Pacquiao fails to impress with his forthcoming fights and Sergio Martinez gets denied the big fishes of his division. But that is all hypothetical for now. Golden Boy Promotions is looking at another bout for him in December. This one most likely against the winner of the Maidana - Robert Guererro fight next month.

The fact is that Khan probably is the best fighter in the junior welterweight division unless Timothy Bradley proves otherwise. His performance tonight will definitely make him the favorite if that fight happens. Regardless of that fight, I do not see Khan lingering in the division for too long. He will make his move to full welterweight next year. He looked like one tonight and hydrated to one too after the weigh-in, 151 lbs to be exact. He is physically equipped to be one. But the welterweight division is a whole different crowd. It is the sport's "cream of the crop" with champs like Victor Ortiz and little known Jan Zaveck of Germany. It has elite challengers like Andre Berto and Mike Jones. It has legendary names like Shane Mosley and Juan Manuel Marquez and yes the two best fighters in Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao. It is a battle pit of the best of the sport and one which Amir "King" Khan would one day want to conquer.

Rich Mazon can be reached by email at for comments and questions regarding this piece.

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