BACKLASH & BACKTRACKING
A lot of the hate towards Khan is from what I like to call the "Lampley Effect." This occurs when Lamps falls so in love with a fighter (the prime Oscar De La Hoya bringing out the worst of this) that he occasionally ignores or overstates what is actually going on in the ring for what his enthusiasm for said fighter allows him to perceive. So many of my friends I talked to after the Judah fight were sick over the way they thought HBO fell over themselves trying to hug Khan’s nutz. To be honest, I agree to an extent as it almost comes off to me like they are trying to convince us he already is a superstar on this coast when, despite his vast talent and potential, he clearly isn't.
Meanwhile Tim Bradley toils in boxing’s abyss. Bradley's overestimation of his own drawing / star power is almost unprecedented, which is saying something coming from a sport like boxing which seems to foster such behavior. He's bitching about all of the attention Khan has received this weekend. But had he just taken the fight and beaten Khan he could have been basking in the biggest victory of his career and one step closer to the major fight he craves. Instead he's talking about tuneups, while Richard Schafer almost scoffs at the idea of Bradley-Khan being a fight fans want to see, instead naming Khan-Morales as a more viable and exciting option. Way to go Timmy! Take your rightful place next to Hasim Rahman and Winky Wright at the head of the "Bad Boxing Business" table.
I like Saul Alvarez, but Alfonso Gomez??? I know he's only 21 years old and they are going to move him slow, which I'm fine with, but I cant help but think this is a considerable step back in level of competition. — Tom G.
I think Gomez is a very slight step back in Alvarez’s level of competition. Gomez, who’s riding a nice win streak since getting overwhelmed by Miguel Cotto, is not a RING-ranked contender as Ryan Rhodes was, but he’s not a chump either, and I would argue that The Contender (season one) alum is more formidable/difficult than Matthew Hatton and most of the fighters on Canelo’s resume (save for perhaps current lightweight beltholder Miguel Vazquez, Jose Cotto and Larry Mosley).
Gomez is a natural welterweight but he fought well (at least for five rounds) at heavier weights (156 to 159 pounds) during The Contender TV tournament, during which time he scored victories over the solid likes of Peter Manfredo and Jesse Brinkley. I absolutely favor Alvarez in this fight but I don’t think it will be a walk in the park for the young Mexican star and I have no problem with Gomez as an opponent.
I think Alvarez is still a work-in-progress and I’d like to see him ripen 100 percent before he takes on the best of the 154-pound division. With his work effort and activity, I think he’ll be ready for murderer’s row this time next year. If we allow Alvarez to finish developing, we’ll get better fights once he’s turned loose. Plus, we’ll get much BIGGER fights because his star power will definitely grow in the U.S. with each fight he has here. That’s good for him, good for his opponents (because there will be more money for them to make), and for the sport, which desperately needs bona-fide ticket sellers/ratings getters.
I know there are cynical message board mutants out there who say he’ll be protected like Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. as long as he continues to put butts in the seats, however, I think the young man is extremely serious about his chosen sport and he won’t allow anyone to “protect” him. He wants to create a legacy and to do that he knows he has to face the best (and I think he wants to).
Speaking of legacies, I get the same vibe from Khan that I pick up from Canelo whenever I interview the British star. He wants to be regarded as an elite fighter. He wants to get into the hall of fame and he wants hardcore fans to remember him for decades after he retires.
I don’t know if he can beat Bradley or the top dogs at 147 pounds but I believe that he’s willing to face them and find out for himself. He deserves some respect just for that.
He’s going to get respect from Yours Truly because he proved me wrong with his last fight. I thought he was vulnerable because he over-extended himself when he let his hands go. I thought he would have trouble with Judah’s speed and southpaw stance. I didn’t think he would be able to take a direct hit from the former welterweight champ. I was wrong, wrong and wrong again. F__k it. What else can I do but give him credit?
I think he and Bradley are the two best 140-pound fighters in the world. I don’t know who would win that fight but I can’t blame Khan for that showdown not happening. We all know who opted out of that fight.
However, I’m not going to piss on Bradley for a number of reasons. A) I like him. B) Everyone else has dropped their trousers and let loose with the yellow juice on poor Timmy’s bald head. (The WBC practically parted their collective crusty cheeks and pinched a hot steamy Mexican-style loaf the brotha by stripping him of their precious Gumby green belt.) C) It’s too early to tell if Bradley made a poor business decision. It was definitely a bad move in terms of his stature in the sport and his short-term financial gain. However, if he does get a shot at Manny Pacquiao next year then perhaps it was worth it. I know it’s a long shot but it’s not inconceivable. Floyd Mayweather may opt for a rematch with Victor Ortiz (win, lose or draw vs. the young gun) rather than deal with Bob Arum. Heck, if Floyd beats Ortiz as he’s expected to, he might be more inclined to fight Khan than Pacquiao. Don’t underestimate the ego-driven spite that exists between Arum and Mayweather. If a Mayweather fight can’t be made, who will Pacquiao face in 2012? Who’s a viable opponent not promoted by Golden Boy? (Don’t forget, GBP gets half the money when they co-promote Manny‘s fights and Arum doesn‘t like parting with that much dough.) Is there going to be anything left of Miguel Cotto for even a master promoter like Arum to prop up as a Pacquiao opponent after the Puerto Rican’s rematch with Antonio Margarito? I don’t think so. So that leaves Bradley (because I KNOW Arum & Company aren’t going to feed their meal ticket to Sergio Martinez.)
We’ll see what happens. I hope Bradley lands on his feet. And I hope diehard American fans stop hating on Khan. I think they’ll come around, but it will take time to overcome the “Lampley Effect” as well as the “Golden Boy Effect.” However, if Khan stays busy (as he’s scheduled to) and continues to challenge himself, I think he can earn respect in the U.S.
KHAN’S P4P RANKING
I read your mailbag every week but felt the need to write for the first time.
I was wondering what your view was on Amir Khan's ranking. He's recently moved ahead of Bradley to take the number one spot with THE RING at junior welterweight, but Khan is nowhere to be found in the Pound for Pound top 10 whereas Bradley is rated 6th. How can this possibly be? I understand divisional rankings don’t always correspond with p4p rankings — say if a fighter with a good p4p ranking is fighting above his natural weight he might find himself ranked below fighters with no p4p ranking in that particular division — but, both Khan and Bradley have fought all of their title fights at the same weight. Explain.
Also, you said in your last mailbag that both Khan and Bradley had beaten four RING-ranked contenders but failed to include Paul McCloskey, ranked 10th at the time of his fight with Khan. — Alan Francis
You are absolutely right, Alan. My apologies to both McCloskey and to Khan. However, I still believe that Khan and Bradley are even in terms of their 140-pound opposition. Khan may have faced five RING-ranked junior welterweights to Bradley’s four, but I believe that Lamont Peterson (27-0 at the time) should have been rated when Timmy fought him in December of 2009.
Regarding Bradley’s ranking in THE RING Pound-for-Pound Top 10, I think it’s a little high. I’m not saying Bradley isn’t an elite fighter, but I have him lower than No. 6 on my personal list that I send to the Yahoo! Sports boxing poll every month. I had Timmy ranked No. 10 in the last list that I emailed to Kevin Iole of Y! Sports (in June).
And although Khan has been more active than Bradley in recent months I don’t think the 24-year-old British standout has done enough to unseat the Palm Springs, Calif., native in the mythical and very subjective P4P rankings. How can that be if they’re basically even in terms of their 140-pound accomplishments? Good question. For starters, Bradley is undefeated (and his 27-0 record is not of the “built-up” variety). He’s never lost let alone been KTFO by a lightweight fringe contender. He won a 10-round decision over the very underrated Miguel Vazquez, the IBF lightweight titleholder whose only other losses are close welterweight bouts to Saul Alvarez, in 2007. And he’s got a welterweight victory — against then-undefeated (29-0) slugger Luis Carlos Abregu last July — under his belt. Khan is just now talking about going to 147 pounds. Bradley has been there and done that.
It’s not a lot, but it’s just enough to keep him ahead of Khan in a pound-for-pound sense. However, if Bradley sits on his ass for another six months, and Khan beats another credible opponent in December, that can change.
What's up Dougie,
My friend and I were talking about the Khan-Judah fight this weekend. We both noticed that while Khan and his camp were dissing Bradley and talking about facing the winner of the Guerrero-Maidana in December (I doubt either guy will be ready to go in December against Khan unless something crazy happens), there was no mention of Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios.
I know he's at 135, but he is clearly willing to go up to 140. It only took Rios less than three rounds to beat Urbano Antillon and Khan beat Judah in five while coming out relatively unscathed. Both are coming off big wins so instead of Khan waiting for the winner between Guerrero-Maidana or Peterson-Cayo (who & who?) why not fight Rios in December? Khan said he wants big fights. The winner can then fight Maidana or Guerrero early next year. I'm just saying.
I think Khan's weak whiskers and Rios' steel chin and relentlessness will keep his name out of Khan and his handler's mouths for as long as it's possible. Plus, that whole Golden Boy-Top Rank cold war doesn't help. What do you think Dougie? — Miguel, LBC
GBP and Arum are beginning to work together again (see the upcoming Alvarez-Gomez and Gamboa-Ponce de Leon fights), so it’s possible that this fight can happen. However, both Khan and Rios are budding/potential stars, which means both promotional companies are going to want to let the matchup “marinate” a bit. A Khan-Rios clash in late 2011 seems a bit premature to me, but I think it’s a great boxer vs. pressure fighter matchup and the fight should be discussed. I also believe it can be made.
Khan’s already showed that he’s not afraid to face punchers. I know Rios has better technique than Maidana and bigger balls than Judah, but I doubt Khan & Co. fear him. I also know that when Robert Garcia talks about Bam Bam’s move to 140 pounds the two names he throws out are Maidana and Khan. Garcia believes he’s got the good with Rios. Freddie Roach believes he’s got the goods with Khan. Both trainers would accept this fight without hesitation in my opinion.
However, GBP and Top Rank have immediate plans for both young guns that they are not going to break. Rios has been penciled in for the Pacquiao-Marquez undercard on Nov. 12 (unless HBO or Showtime gives up a date before then, which I doubt) and Khan is scheduled to return in December. And I think both guys have earned the right to face a non-killer as they gain more exposure and name-recognition outside of the hardcore fanbase.
I know that Richard Schaefer has mentioned Khan as a future opponent for Mayweather and Arum recently said Rios could be a potential Pacquiao foe, but I think Khan-Rios is a matchup that can explored in 2012 and if Golden Boy and Top Rank do their jobs it can be made into a high-profile event.