Posts Tagged ‘amir khan’

I’ve read some articles and watched some Youtube videos blasting Danny “Swift” Garcia for facing “The Magic Man” Paulie Malignaggi in his next bout on August 1st. I must say that at first glance I felt the same way, but the more I’ve evaluated it, the more I feel this is the right move from the Garcia camp.

Garcia had two magical years in 2012 and 2013. Over that 24 month period he scored a decision win over the legendary Eric Morales, recovered from a slow start to decimate Amir Khan, destroyed Morales in a rematch. He then went on in 2013 to score impressive back-to-back decision victories against the always dangerous Zab Judah and in outclassing the big punching Lucas Matthysse.

After five highly impressive fights in a two year span, Garcia was the toast of the town and his name was entered into every discussion as a potential opponent for Floyd Mayweather – even though Garcia himself refused to be drawn into that kind of speculation, instead declaring that he would leave the matchmaking in the hands of his team and face whomever they put in front of him.

During that same time period, Malignaggi’s trajectory was a little different. He went on the road to win a world title in Ukraine, via a very rare-for-Malignaggi stoppage win over Vyacheslav Senchenko. Senchenko was unknown to many at the time, but was an undefeated world champion who would go on to gain more fame in his next bout by stopping the comeback of Ricky Hatton as quickly as it began.

Malignaggi then went on to defend his title once before following up with a loss to Adrien Broner and a victory over Zab Judah. Three wins and a loss, with only one win coming against a fighter who could be held in the category of above average in his victory over Judah. Unlike Garcia there weren’t hordes of reporters throwing superlatives in Malignaggi’s direction.

Since then, both fighter have fallen from grace to a degree. Garcia followed up his stellar two years by struggling to a victory against Mauricio Herrera, destroying a very undersized Rod Salika and then being lucky that Lamont Peterson chose to start their bout earlier this year very slowly. Had Peterson fought throughout the way he did in the last third of their bout he would have been the first fighter to hand a loss to Garcia. All of a sudden the fighter many thought would be a legitimate threat to Mayweather looked to be very, very beatable by very average fighters.

Malignaggi fared no better. His only fight since 2013 ended was when he stepped in the ring with newly crowned champion Shawn Porter 15 months ago. Porter walked all over Malignaggi that night, dominating him from the opening bell and landing with ease. The elusive nature with which Malignaggi has fought in the past deserted him and Porter forced the ref to step in to stop Malignaggi from being seriously injured.

Now these two fighters who have fallen in public estimation will take on one another. For Malignaggi it’s a chance to play spoiler and gain what could be a nice final chapter to his career. For a fighter with brittle hands and little power to achieve what Malignaggi has is admirable and points to a great deal of skill. He’s won world titles in two weight classes and shared the ring with some great fighters. A win over Danny Garcia would open the door for a couple of big money bouts for Malignaggi to end his fight career on before moving full-time into his glittering future as a colour commentator.

The threat of loss for Malignaggi is high, but given that most feel he is being sent in to be beaten means he has nothing to lose. If he loses, hey it was inevitable. If he finds a way to win he’s overcome the odds once more and impressed the world yet again.

For Garcia it’s a completely different kettle of fish. He is expected to win, and win handily, which brings its own problems. Garcia has struggled in two of his last three fights, and those he’s struggled against have been boxers with good movement and the ability to slip punches. That’s what The Magic Man has made a career of doing.

Sticking and moving all the way to victory is how Malignaggi plays the game. He doesn’t have the stinging power to stop fighters in their tracks, or even to back up most guys he faces. Instead he has to fight at a high tempo, hit and move and then hit and move some more. When Peterson began fighting with a slick style in his bout with Garcia, Garcia seemed to have no answer.

The fact that Garcia has been struggling against slick boxers, while he outclassed and out-boxed wild swinging fighters like Matthysse and Morales has many feeling he is a one dimensional fighter who can use the wild aggression of punchers to his advantage but can’t control the pace or position of a fight against slick fighters. The only way Garcia can truly get that stigma off his head is to take on a slick boxer and dominate him throughout the fight, no matter how long it lasts.

If Garcia chases Malignaggi around the ring and manages to eek out a points victory, it’s only marginally better than a loss. If Garcia chases Malignaggi around and lands one telling blow that leads to a stoppage, it’s not much better than a loss. Only dominance will raise peoples heads for long enough for them to believe the hype surrounding Garcia a couple of years ago was justified.

It’s really a big gamble by Garcia’s team. They have likely looked at Malignaggi and see a fighter with a style that has caused trouble for their man in the past, but a fighter who is past his best and whose reflexes have slowed just enough to not be obvious, but to give Garcia the chance of landing hard and often.

They are gambling on a few things. They are gambling that Malignaggi has truly lost a step rather than simply being overwhelmed early by Porter with no chance of battling back into the bout because of the then champions freight-train like style. They are gambling on the 15 month break from the ring for Malignaggi leaving ring rust to add to the shop-work body. For some fighters at the end of their career, the extended breaks allow old injuries sustained through both fights and back-to-back intense training schedules to heal.

As I said earlier, at first glance I felt this was a huge mis-match with Malignaggi being used as a sacrificial lamb. Upon closer evaluation I see the danger of Malignaggi coming in rested, refreshed and having nothing to lose. With the pressure off him in every way, shape or form Malignaggi has the potential to cause a huge upset. Garcia, on the other hand, has many ways in which he could win this bout, but only one that will truly make him look like a victor. His back is up against the wall if he wants to enter discussion as an elite fighter again, and against a fighter with nothing to lose that’s not a position you want to be in.

I’m not making a prediction here and now as the purpose of this piece is simply add a different viewpoint to a bout that many have already written off.

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British welterweight boxer Amir Khan has spent the better part of two years chasing a high profile fight with reigning pound-for-pound kingpin Floyd Mayweather, but recent comments now make me wonder if he’s given up on that fight.

Khan was slated to face Devon Alexander in a welterweight world title bout in December 2013. In the months preceding the proposed fight with Alexander, Khan’s name was mentioned as a possible opponent for Mayweather. Khan decided to abandon negotiations for the bout with Alexander, who subsequently lost to Shawn Porter, in favor of chasing the dream of fighting Mayweather.

Mayweather posted polls for the public to vote between Khan and Marcos Maidana, who in spite of having a prior loss to Khan had come to prominence again with a rousing victory over Mayweather wannabe Adrian Broner. Khan came out ahead in the poll, but ultimately lost out on the bout with Mayweather.

Khan went on to dominate the dangerous Louis Collazo, rearranged the bout with Alexander and won a landslide decision, and most recently recorded a points victory against the last fighter Manny Pacquiao faced before landing the Mayweather bout he craved in Chris Algieri.

Pundits and fans raved about Khans displays against Collazo and Alexander and once again Khan entered discussions as a potential opponent for Mayweather. Again that fight failed to materialize, but Khans vocal proclamations that he is the only man out there who could beat Mayweather persisted.

Even as recently as little over a week ago, in fact in the immediate aftermath of his victory over Algieri, Khan called out Mayweather. Declaring in his post fight interview that he was the number one contender for one of Mayweathers titles, Khan said he wanted to face the undefeated champion in what could ultimately prove to be Mayweathers final outing.

Yet now that all seems to have changed. Khans is now speaking of taking over as the top ranked pound-for-pound fighter after Mayweather retires. He’s discussed facing the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marques, Timothy Bradley and Keith Thurman to cement his own legacy as the best fighter around.

So why the change? Maybe Khan has received word about who Mayweathers team is speaking to regarding his farewell fight and it’s not him. Maybe he watched a replay of the Algieri fight and saw that he still leaves too many openings for counters and realized that if he gave a fighter like Mayweather those kinds of opportunities he will be obliterated.

Whatever the cause for the apparent change of heart it is good news for boxing fans. Whether you are a fan of Mayweather or not, it’s undeniable that he is simply so far ahead of his peers in in terms of his fighting ability as well as his ring IQ that he would most likely nullify every skill set Khan has and make him look foolish while cruising to an easy victory.

If Khan really has decided to drop the idea of facing Mayweather and goes out searching for fights with the top guys around we will all be in for some fireworks. Khan is an incredibly talented fighter, chinny or not, whose speed and movement will be a handful for most of the guys at the top of the division. Bradley would turn a fight with Khan into a toe to toe war. Pacquiao and Thurman would go hunting to test Kahns chin. Marques would try to force Khan into over committing so he could counter. All fights would be action packed and all would be tough to predict.

I, for one, hope Khan has decided to seek out the fights he speaks of in favor of his endless campaigning for Mayweather. Khan is a throwback to an older time of boxing in that he’s a guy who wants to take on the best around whatever the risks and I cannot fault that mentality.

Amir Khan has broken his training schedule to return to the UK to spend a few weeks with his family

I guess I’ve told it all right there in the title. I’m not into being cryptic about things like this and tire of reading teaser headlines that force you to click to read the story to find out what their ultimate view is. If you’ve clicked to read this article then you are looking for my reasoning behind stating right off the bat that I don’t feel Amir Khan has what it takes to defeat Floyd Mayweather should he be successful in becoming Mayweather’s final opponent.

I’ll start by saying that I am not an Amir Khan hater. I’ve watched Khan’s career since long before the knockout loss he suffered at the hands of Breidis Prescott back in 2008. What I’ve always seen in Khan is a very talented, and gutsy, fighter who has all the tools to become one of the best fighters of his era, but for some reason isn’t able to pull everything together every time he fights.

SPT_GCK_100512_Boxing feature LA, Freddie Roach Wild Card boxing gym. Amir Khan  with Freddie Roach during a work out, after finding out that the rematch with Peterson is off.

Khan picked up the pieces after the Prescott loss by aligning himself with Freddie Roach and going on to capture two world titles in the light welterweight division. Roach focused on improving Khan’s attack to utilize the natural hand and foot speed advantage Khan held over many other fighters. The results were immediate and impressive, for the most part.

Worrisome aspects of Khan’s fight game were the fact that he left openings that were exploited by Marcos Maidana and Danny Garcia leading many evaluating Khan to feel that Roach had done nothing to improve his defense. Khan obviously came to the same conclusion as those in the media as he parted ways with Roach and aligned himself with Virgil Hunter, trainer of the defensively sound super middleweight champion Andre Khan.

The Mayweather angle for Khan has gone on for years. While under Roach’s tutelage and making waves through the light welterweight class, Khan spoke often of his desire to step up in weight to challenge Mayweather. Khan felt his speed would be a critical factor in a bout with Mayweather and lead him to victory. That belief has not changed even through the losses to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia, nor with the change in trainer and fighting style.

This change in fighting style has me, and no doubt many boxing fans, watching closely to see if it gives Khan any chance to seriously challenge Mayweather if he gets his wish and is able to share a ring with the pound-for-pound king. My evaluations of Khan’s progression under Hunter make me feel that while Khan will have a longer and more successful career under Hunter’s guidance, he actually has less chance of beating Mayweather.

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This belief has been compounded by Khan’s last three fights under Hunter’s guidance. Hunter has done exactly what Khan needed for his career. He’s taught him how to be patient, how to stay within range but without increasing risk of being hit all so he can capitalize quicker on mistakes. He’s also taught Khan tricks for how to better protect his chin, not that I agree it’s a weak chin but more that simple errors Khan made he is now avoiding.

One such error, and one reason he will not beat Mayweather, is Khan’s inside game. This is the worst area by far of Khan’s fighting ability and is clearly one Hunter has worked hard with Khan on.

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 13:  Amir Khan (L) hits Devon Alexander in the fifth round of their welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on December 13, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Khan won by unanimous decision.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Against Louis Collazo and Devon Alexander in 2014, Khan was widely praised for his victories and rightly so. Khan faced dangerous opponents and made relatively easy work of them. He did so by avoiding any and all fighting on the inside. Every time either man closed the distance, Khan grabbed hold. As Khan’s style is not about slipping and ducking punches (he tried that technique earlier in his career and Willie Limond and Michael Gomez almost made him pay) fighting on the inside is dangerous. While Khan can land heavy punches on the inside, he cannot avoid them and being there is a mistake.

This plays into the portion I was talking about with having a longer and more successful career but being less likely to beat Mayweather as a result. Being able to avoid inside battles will reduce the risk of knockout losses, or being staggered by heavy shots. However, Mayweather is equally adept on the inside as the outside and can often draws people in close to land on the inside while slipping their shots. Mayweather would invite Khan in, and Khan would come feeling Mayweather doesn’t have the power to hurt him. He’d be wrong and be bullied on the inside.

Against Algieri I saw a glimpse of what could happen if Khan faced Mayweather and was suckered inside. Late in the fight, Khan showed he’s worked a little on his inside skills as he went in and fought Algieri up close. Khan landed a very nice uppercut, but ate two shots in the process. He showed that while he’s added some punch selection on the inside, he still cannot read punches and slip them. False confidence in being able to now punch on the inside could lead to willingly battling it out in close quarters with a man who can land and slip from all angles. Mayweather would stop Khan if they fought on the inside with one another.

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The next worrisome part from Khan’s standpoint should he get the bout with Mayweather is the ease with which right hands can tag him. While Hunter has worked with Khan on getting his hands up after combinations to limit counters, he seems to have missed on critical aspect that could be Khan’s undoing against a fast handed, ring aware fighter. It should have been his undoing against Algieri save the fact that the native New Yorker didn’t exploit the opening as he should have and made the wrong selection when he did.

Hunter has Khan circling closer in than he used to, staying in range for exploiting mistakes his opponent makes as well as eliminating the need to dart in and out in a straight line. In spite of being in range more often, Khan is actually tougher to tag with clean shots with this movement. However, Algieri saw a repeated mistake Khan made that he tried to capitalize on but didn’t have the right punch selection to do so.

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 29:  Chris Algieri punches Amir Khan during their Welterweight bout at Barclays Center of Brooklyn on May 29, 2015 in New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

When Khan finished circling and steadied for an attack he stopped, planted his feet, dropped his left and readied to attack. Sometimes the attack was instant, forcing Algieri to block and parry. Other times he left enough time for Algieri to fire a shot over the low right that was sitting below the shoulder line and leaving his chin open. Algieri rocked him in the first round taking advantage of this, and tagged him a few more times throughout the fight. When Algieri threw a shot over Khan’s low right he through a swinging hook. Some landed, others Khan saw coming and avoided or blocked. Algieri has the hand speed and reach to have thrown a straight right that would have been a faster and harder to see punch, thus improving his accuracy and troubling Khan more often.

If Floyd is contemplating fighting Khan he would have watched this bout and have seen the low left already. While Floyd doesn’t watch much tape of his opponent while training to face them, he would already know that Khan will leave him a low left often throughout the fight. If you’ve watched many of Mayweather’s recent fights one of his favourite attacks is to wait for the gap he’s seen, snap out a straight right then duck under the return fire and spin away. Another HUGE advantage he would hold in a bout with Khan.

For me a bout with Mayweather is something Khan will not win. Mayweather’s fighting style is to adapt during the fight to his opponents strengths and weaknesses. In the past, Khan had a relentless, speedy attack that Mayweather would have had to weather while watching for holes. He would have seen the low hands on retreat and looked to counter there, but he would have also seen a pattern in when Khan darted in for a flurry and simply beat him to the punch.

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Fast forward to now and Khan has simply moved the weaknesses over to other areas rather than fixing them. Mayweather would spend the early rounds letting Khan circle around him and then popping him with the straight right then spinning away to do it again. Frustrated, Khan will lose composure and resort to his old type of trying to bull-rush Mayweather, which will leave opportunities for Mayweather to hit Khan as he rushes in and then be gone when Khan looks back up. Hunter will calm his man down and help him regain his composure and they will look to press Mayweather late to see if his age is catching up to him and he’s tired down the stretch. Mayweather will see this and sit on the ropes, inviting Khan in. Khan will feel Mayweather is tired and there for the taking and will try to use his new in-fighting punches. Mayweather will slip them, land a few hard counters and look to stop Khan late in the bout.

Putting it simply, a bout with Mayweather will make Khan a very rich man, but would not be a bout he could win. As a result all of Khan’s bluster about how his speed is too much, how Mayweather has avoided him and how Mayweather’s father has supposedly told Khan in person that he is the only man who could beat his son will make Khan look incredibly foolish. While many fighters suffer no ill from losing to Mayweather, all Khan’s preamble could turn into the beginning of the end for him as a top-level fighter when he loses.

 

 

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The media is an incredible tool for professional athletes, if they know how to use it to their advantage. Combat sports, such as boxing and mixed martial arts, are one such sport in which the media is very important. Those who use it, and use it well, can increase their marketability immensely. In a sport in which you don’t have a team to fall back on you would be wise to figure out how to use the media to your advantage.

In today’s sport there are few better at using the media for their own gains than reigning pound-for-pound boxing king Floyd Mayweather Jr. Mayweather highlighted his savvy use of the media and the constant rumours in boxing during this interview with Chris Robinson.

After hype and public clamor for a bout between Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao had reached fever pitch a few years ago, back-to-back losses by the Filipino fighter caused the calls to dissipate somewhat. However, last month’s dominant display by Pacquiao over Brandon Rios reawakened those calls.

When asked about a potential future bout with Manny Pacquiao, Mayweather responded by saying, “My focus is May 3rd. I don’t know who my opponent will be. If it’s Pacquiao, it’s Pacquiao. If it’s Amir Khan, it’s Amir Khan. For 17 years they’ve been putting guys in front of me, and I’ve been beating them. Come May they’ll put a guy in front of me, I’ll go to training camp, work hard, and the results will be the same.”

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In those few sentences, Mayweather expertly used the media and boxing rumour-mill to his advantage. Without giving away a single detail about his plans for his upcoming bout on May 3rd, Mayweather managed to get people talking. Using the two names the media are continuously throwing out there as a potential opponent – Khan and Pacquiao – Mayweather’s words got ears pricking up and taking notice.

Since that interview hit the web I’ve seen headlines stating that Mayweather and Pacquiao will face off in May, using portions of the above quote to justify their claims. This is exactly what Mayweather aimed for and other fighters should take note.

His words gave away nothing, but they ensured that there his name would appear in headlines across the internet. Even if the articles written never came near print that doesn’t matter. What counts is the fact that with today’s modern media comments like these are pounced upon, spread in seconds and put a fighters name on the tips of tongues.

A fighter like Mayweather will always have to fend off rumours about who they are going to fight. He’s been at the top of the pile for so long that everyone young, up and coming, fighter wants to show he is the man to knock Mayweather off his perch while every veteran feels their wily skills and tricks would allow them to have a chance.

Also don’t forget the power of having Mayweather’s name alone associated to you. If you are a young fighter and you are linked to a bout with Mayweather you are going to instantly garner more interest from more casual fans as they look to see why you’re linked with the man.

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Mayweather simply uses these rumours to make sure that nobody ever forgets about him. Simply using the two names that the majority of fight fans and press representatives are throwing out left, right and center allows Mayweather the opportunity to self promote with without showing his hand. Every Pacquiao and Khan follower undoubtedly pounced on those words and spread them around as quickly as they could.

How many million people saw Mayweather’s name shortly after the interview went live? How many million people are instantly zoned in on May 3rd? Every aspiring athlete who wants to advance their career as quickly as possible needs to look at the way Mayweather has learned to effortlessly promote himself.

Here’s another original article by me published through bleacherreport.com

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Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Let me start off by saying I generally enjoy watching Amir Khan fight. He has speed of both hand and foot, he is aggressive and he loves to throw combination punches. Khan is an exciting, dynamic fighter who rarely leaves fans wondering why they tuned in, win or lose.

Adding to the enjoyment I get from watching Khan fight is the fact that it’s very rarely a one-sided affair. For all of Khan’s hand and foot speed, he is poor in so many defensive fundamentals that he is incredibly easy to hit, and hit clean.

Often moving into rather than away from punches, popping his head up every time he throws a jab or dropping his hands before stepping back, whatever mistake he makes it usually ends with him being clocked and rocked.

In spite of all this, in spite of the enjoyment that usually comes from watching Khan in yet another valiant battle of heart over head, I am not excited at the prospect of Khan taking on IBF Welterweight champion Devon Alexander in December.

Hi-res-144041382_crop_exact                                     Ethan Miller/Getty Images

I truly don’t say this to knock either fighter. Anyone who steps in the ring deserves respect for the dedication they’ve shown to their training and preparation and the level of bravery it takes to stand one-on-one with another human being to fight.

I say this because, as styles make fights, this is such a clash of styles that I feel there will be more threatening to engage than actually engaging. For the first time in many years fans, tuning in for the usual Amir Khan edge-of-the-seat drama may be disappointed.

Fighters will always fight to their biggest strengths, as they should. Amir Khan will look to use his incredible speed to edge him along to victory. He is also one of the better-conditioned fighters in boxing and can push a frenetic pace for the whole fight while still looking like he has more to give. Khan will look to dart in with quick combinations and dash away before Alexander can fire anything back.

Alexander, who is no slouch when it comes to hand speed and combination punching, is a far superior defensive boxer. His movement around the ring will create angles that nullify the in-and-out attacks of Khan as Alexander simply won’t be right in front of him.

Alexander’s movement and defensive skill was on display against Randall Bailey, in which he was able to take away Bailey’s power using superior footwork and grind out a victory to capture the IBF crown. This is the manner I expect Alexander to approach the Khan fight in as he looks to frustrate his opponent into recklessness.

This is where fans will scream for the Khan of old to show his face. In past fights Khan hasn’t been good at sticking to a plan. When all was going well against Marcos Maidana, Khan abandoned the strategy that had been working so well and let his bravado take over. He engaged Maidana in close and was rocked badly.

Who Will Win Between Amir Khan and Devon Alexander?

  • Khan by KO

    12.2%
  • Alexander by KO

    16.9%
  • Khan via Decision

    43.9%
  • Alexander via Decision

    16.9%
  • Who cares? I’ll take a nap through that one!

    10.1%

Total votes: 189

Alexander will be happy to move around the ring and land counters and small combinations to build up a points advantage.

He will stick to his strategy and hope, with the fans, that Khan will revert to past times and completely abandon the plan he comes in with out of frustration and start to attack blindly, searching for an opening. Alexander showed Maidana that his power is often underestimated as he landed heavier than expected shots almost at will throughout their 2012 bout.

Khan, on the other hand, will look to display a new ability to stay on task and avoid the past reckless behaviour.

One of the aspects of his game Khan wanted to improve on when he aligned himself with Virgil Hunter as his new trainer was his ability to stick to a planned strategy throughout the fight, and to lose the wild and ragged edge that had often been his undoing.

In the two fights Khan’s had with Hunter in his corner, he’s shown slight improvement in his ability to stay on task. While still having a couple of wild moments, Hunter has been able to calm Khan down and get him back to task with his advice between rounds.

As a fighter who strives to improve, I have no doubt Khan has spent significant time in the gym with Hunter since his last fight in April, working on small aspects of his game and on his focus when times get tough.

This is why I predict a snoozer.

With a new focus and a willingness to trust his trainer and stick to their plan, Khan will become frustrated by Alexander’s excellent footwork. However, unlike the old days of him losing his patience and rushing in, only to be countered and put on his backside, Khan will stay focused, follow instruction and try to box his way through.

Here’s a quick look at the latest progress of an up and coming British Welterweight in the shape of Frankie Gavin. This article is an original work published on Bleacher Report.

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Scott Heavey/Getty Images

British Welterweight champion Frankie Gavin defeated Jason Welborn this weekend to retain his British title. In the build up to the fight, he signaled his intent to try to make 2013 a big year for him.

Gavin, highly ranked as an amateur, stepped up in class in his last last year to defeat former WBC light-welterweight champion Junior Witter to become the British Welterweight champion. Now 27 years old, Gavin understands he needs to begin testing himself against a higher class of opposition to see if he is ready for world title challenges.

After overcoming personal problems that threatened to derail his boxing career, a re-focussed Gavin had a strong 2012 that was capped off by claiming Witter’s British Title.

While understanding he has to continue the hard work he displayed throughout 2012, Gavin stated he wouldn’t say no if offered the chance to face a top opponent like Timothy Bradley, Amir Khan or Kell Brook. A fight against an opponent at that level may be a step too far for Gavin, but his willingness to step in with anyone is refreshing to see.

While being way off elite status, Frankie Gavin is one to watch for 2013. He has the momentum from an impressive previous year, confidence from gaining his first title and is hungry for more. Gavin is the No. 1 contender for the European Welterweight title and could enter the world title discussion with a strong year.

Another original piece from the Donkey’s mouth through bleacherreport.com.

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Alex Trautwig/Getty Images

According to a report from boxingscene.com over the weekend the newly crowned IBF Welterweight Champion, Devon Alexander, has been signed to fight Britain’s Kell Brook on January 19th.

News of the bout was given to former WBA and IBF Light-Welterweight champion Amir Khan, who in this boxingscene.com report expressed surprise that Brook took the challenge this soon and also signaled his desire to set up a fight with Brook if he is victorious in his first world title challenge.

Brook became the number one challenger for the IBF Welterweight crown on the same day Alexander himself won the title by stopping Hector Saldivia in the third-round of their October 20th IBF Title Eliminator bout in Brook’s home city of Sheffield, England.

That same evening on the other side of the Atlantic, former Light-Welterweight title holder Alexander defeated veteran fighter Randall Baily via unanimous decision to claim the Welterweight crown, and setting up a future showdown with Brook.

Khan’s surprise that Brook took the challenge is understandable. Brook has yet to face a top level opponent. Without disrespecting any fighters he has defeated so far in his 29-0 career, Brook’s top opponents have been an aged Lovemore N’Dou and Matthew Hatton.

Hi-res-154477590_crop_exact Scott Heavey/Getty Images

By comparison, Alexander has been in the ring with high caliber fighters, including Timothy Bradley, Lucas Matthysse, Marcos Maidana and also Randall. The difference in the quality of opponent between Alexander and Brook is large, especially when you consider how deep Brook had to dig to hang on for a victory over Carson Jones earlier this year.

The fight with Alexander is not only Brook’s first experience with a world title fight, but also a massive jump in the level of competition he will be facing. With an undefeated record, and a recent victory scored mostly on guts and determination, Brook surely feels this is the type of fight his skills should have him in for the foreseeable future.

As for Khan discussing a possible showdown with Brook if the Sheffield fighter can defeat Alexander, can you blame him? Prior to losing his championship belts, Khan had Brook bringing him up as a future opponent after defeating Matthew Hatton in March of this year.

You could say that Brook was being smart to mention Khan in interviews before he was really deserving of a shot at a champion. In today’s Internet driven world, if Brook can have his name associated with a better known fighter it increases the number of people looking at him.

Now, the coin could be flipped. Successive defeats have left Khan once again rebuilding his career while Brook is about to try his hand at moving his to the next level. If Brook becomes a champion, a fight with Khan is one that will definitely sell, so Khan used the opportunity wisely to throw his name into the mix for a possible title shot.

Smart marketing by both guys, now they need to back it up in the ring.

Originally published by me through bleacherreport.com

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Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Former WBA and IBF light welterweight champion Amir Khan will take on American Carlos Molina in Los Angeles, California on December 15th. It will be Khan’s first bout since his knockout loss to Danny Garcia in July, and also his first fight under new trainer Virgil Hunter.

In this press conference video from BoxingScene.com, a different Amir Khan stood at the podium. This Amir Khan was humble, there was no bravado, he spoke about the difficulties being a comeback fighter and spoke about new training regimes he is learning under Hunter.

Could it be that Hunter’s methods are already paying off for Khan, who stated in the video that Hunter is teaching him to slow things down and think things through while he is fighting?

Khan’s mellow, humble approach reminds me somewhat of another Hunter-trained fighter, Andre Ward, who while confident in his abilities is not over the top, in your face or brash with his comments.If this attitude is truly rubbing off on Khan, we could see a completely different fighter step into the ring against Molina.

The Khan of the past was always looking to put on a show. Supremely confident in his abilities as a boxer, he wanted to entertain the crowd and it ultimately came back to bite him.

Khan’s willingness to entertain led to him eating huge punches from Marcos Maidana that came close to ending the fight and also brought about his most recent defeat at the hands of Garcia.

A calm, calculated approach to fighting could bring huge rewards to a boxer like Khan who has all the tools at his disposal but is often too headstrong for his own good.

Molina isn’t a power puncher, but likes to pressure his opponents, throw punches and make them back up. Lamont Peterson caused Khan problems with that style in their recent bout, so it will be interesting to see if this level headed approach from Khan follows him to the ring