By John F. McKenna (McJack)
Former WBA/IBF light welterweight champion Amir Khan (26-2, 18 KO’s) needs to go back to the drawing board with his famed trainer Freddie Roach. Things did not go exactly as planned for “King” Khan on Saturday night when he took on new WBA/IBF light welterweight champion Lamont Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KO’s).
Peterson followed his game plan to a “T” and in so doing demonstrated not only to his home town fans in Washington, D.C. but to the millions watching on HBO that he wanted the fight more than Khan. Amir gave the impression in the early going that he believed that he could win no matter what he did. In essence he started believing his own press clippings. Or as they say, he started smelling himself.
Khan has been touted as a future super star in boxing. Even Freddie Roach has frequently stated that he expects Khan to inherit the #1 Pound for Pound rating in the world when Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather are no longer on the scene.
But Amir is not there yet. And based on his performance against Lamont Peterson, a fighter he should have beaten, he may never achieve his goal. Khan did not follow Roach’s well laid out game plan. And when things started going awry for him on Saturday night, he could not make the adjustments needed to pull the fight out. Sure the referee deducted a couple of points from him. But if Amir is to move forward he cannot focus on his perception that the fight was stolen from him.
The fight against Peterson should not have come down to a couple of points in the final rounds. Against Roach’s instructions Khan allowed Saturday nights fight to turn into a war of attrition. He allowed himself to be caught on the ropes where Peterson was able to sap his strength with body shots. Instead of using his left jab to keep Peterson away, Khan went machismo and seemed to welcome the infighting. It was a fight that Roach did not want Amir to get into and ultimately it was a fight he could not win.
In the later rounds when Khan threw his combinations they no longer had the speed or power they had in the earlier rounds. It was reminiscent of the 1st fight between Roberto Duran and Sugar Ray Leonard. Leonard instead of following the instructions of trainer Angelo Dundee foolishly attempted to fight Duran’s fight. He paid the price by losing the fight. Amir Khan paid the price on Saturday night.
First Khan must acknowledge the mistakes he made against Peterson and then go about correcting those mistakes. He took far too many head shots against Peterson. In order for him to achieve his goals, Khan must be a better disciplined fighter. Amir is not a slugger, nor will he ever be a slugger. His forte is to utilize his speed, his rapid fire combinations and not to engage in trench warfare to fight the other guys fight.
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