Amir King Khan is on the comeback trail in a bid to revitalise his career at world level. After a long lay-off out of the ring after his devastating knockout loss to Canelo Alvarez he is back boxing on UK soil. He takes on ‘The Italian Sensation’ Phil Lo Greco who is hungry to catapult his reputation by beating a well-established name in front of his home fans at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, UK on April 21ST.
On paper Amir Khan’s style is made for Lo Greco. He has height, reach and a massive speed advantage against his opponent. It is widely accepted that Khan is the man with the fastest hands of any man in the division and Lo Greco is relatively slow so if he executes a good game plan he has the potential to make it an easy night’s work.
However, It’s an old boxing saying: Timing beats speed. And simply put, timing is the key to the victory for Lo Greco. He throws a good left hook which he could cause damage with but he will have to be able to get into a position to land it. This opportunity will likely only present itself if he can draw the Brit into exchanging with him.
And maybe that may go some way to explaining his pre-fight antics. Amir has endured a tumultuous personal life outside the ring much of which has played out in the public eye and the cocky Canadian pushed his trash talking right to the line when raising talk of Khan’s wife at the opening press conference to announce the fight. He was met with a glass of water in the face, thrown by an outraged Khan.
However uncalled for you believe Lo Greco’s comments were, he certainly did a good job of making Khan react and that is exactly what he will want. The more Amir becomes emotionally involved and wants to knock Lo Greco out, the more needless risks he will take on fight night and the more opportunities that will be presented for Lo Greco to land a power shot. It’ an obvious ploy but a proven one as the charismatic Angel Garcia proved before his son Danny Garcia knocked out Khan back in 2012.
Lo Greco is no Danny Garcia though. He doesn’t hit as hard and his timing isn’t as good. I believe a fit and focused Khan in his prime beats Lo Greco every day of the week and twice on a Sunday. But what Amir Khan are we going to see on April 21st? There are many questions to be asked of him.
Khan has not been under the bright lights since May 2016 when he was knocked cold by Canelo – that’s a two year lay-off. He hasn’t exactly been staying in the gym either. He spent the last few months of 2017 sat in a reality TV programme ‘I’m a celebrity, get me out of here’.
It has long been a criticism of Khan, and it is one that even his former trainer, the esteemed Virgil Hunter eluded to, is that Khan does not live the spartan life. He is no gym rat. He has a lot of commitments to attend to outside of boxing, many of them extremely admirable, but these may have been distractions to him and taken up hours of time that may have been committed to mastering his craft.
Khan’s vulnerability to power puncher’s has been an omnipresent factor in his career and has reared its head in both his greatest victories and defeats. It’s part of what has made him such an exciting fighter to watch over the years. Despite his glaring weakness, he has beat world class fighters in his career; Marcos Maidana, Zab Judah and Devon Alexander.
Compare this to Lo Greco. He lost a 10 round unanimous decision to Shawn Porter back in 2013 and was stopped on his feet in the third round against Errol Spence Jr. So we know when he has stepped up to face the elite fighters that he has fallen short every time. At 33 years old this may be his last chance to earn a shot at the big time.