THERE are just some nightmares that refuse to go away.
In September 2008, British sensation Amir Khan was unbeaten in 18 fights and seemed destined for greatness when he stepped on a banana peel named Breidis Prescott. Oozing with confidence, Khan went straight ahead at Colombian Prescott. In a blink of an eye, Khan was down on the canvas after taking a howitzer punch from the supposedly soft-touch Prescott. In less a minute, Khan kissed the canvas twice and was declared the loser via a shocking first-round knockout.
Since then, Khan’s chin has been under scrutiny from the boxing jury. The popular opinion is that while he has all the skills in the world, Khan has a chin "made in Taiwan."
In July 2009, Khan finally became a world champion when he whipped Andriy Kotelnik in 12 rounds for the World Boxing Association’s (WBA) super lightweight championship. When Khan stopped Paulie Malignaggi in 11 rounds in May 2010 for his second successful defense of the WBA title, the guy looked so good the loss to Prescott was dismissed by boxing fans as a mere aberration.
The Prescott nightmare, however, started to recur in December 2010, when Khan made his third defense of the WBA crown against Argentinian bomber Marcos Maidana. While Khan walked away with a unanimous decision victory after 12 rounds, he was almost knocked out by Maidana in the 10th round. A furious barrage from Maidana had Khan holding on for dear life. Khan survived the ordeal, but questions about his chin started to reverberate.
On Sunday (Manila time), American Danny Garcia confirmed that Khan’s chin is indeed made of cotton candy when he stopped the Briton in four rounds for the unified WBA and World Boxing Council super lightweight championships.
In typical fashion, Khan, a 7-1 favorite, came out looking good in the first two rounds, dominating the fight with his jab and hand speed. At the tail end of the third round, however, Garcia caught Khan with a huge counter left hook that sent the WBA champion crashing to the canvas. So woozy was Khan that he looked ready to go to dream land had the bell not saved him.
Garcia came out swinging for the fence in the fourth round as Khan still looked visibly wobbly. Khan locked lips with the canvas two more times before referee Kenny Bayless decided to pull the plug at the 2:28 mark and declare Garcia the winner by technical knockout. Khan naturally protested the stoppage, but it was clear that his legs had by then already left the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas.
Garcia, born in Philadelphia from a mother of Puerto Rican descent, raised his record to 24-0 with 15 knockouts. He took up boxing at age 10 and was a virtual unknown until March this year, when he dominated Mexican Erik Morales in 12 rounds for the WBC super lightweight crown.
Garcia now stands as the unified WBC and WBA super lightweight champion. Morales is calling for a rematch while names like Yuriorkis Gamboa and Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios have also been mentioned. Garcia has made clear his intention to fight only the best fighters in the 140-pound division. “I’m not a pretty boy, I’m a killer,” he said.
Khan, whose record now reads at 26-3 with 18 knockouts, was immediately taken to a Las Vegas hospital for a precautionary MRI. It’s safe to say that Khan’s boxing career is now in dire need of emergency treatment. Look for the guy to retreat to Europe and rebuild his career there.
From where this writer sits, however, you can stick a fork in Khan’s career. He’s done.