Boltons Amir "King" Khan (33-4) kicks off the mega fight season this weekend when he takes on current pound for pound great Terence "Bud" Crawford (34-0) at the historic Madison Square Garden in New York. They meet over twelve for Crawfords WBO Welterweight Title.
Khan aware he is approaching the final chapter in his fantastic career has went as far to say that victory this weekend would "top everything" he has so far accomplished. Quite a statement considering he achieved Olympic Silver aged 17, became world champion at the tender age of 22 and went on to be Unified Super-Lightweight Champion in 2011.
A fighter who really doesnt get the credit he deserves for a great career thus far. However Amir is not silly and will know the uphill task he faces in Crawford this Saturday. Surprisingly cool though in the build up Khan knows he has been here before. In 2016 he stepped up two weights to take on another pound for pound superstar in Canelo Alverez, arguably ahead on the neutrals cards before Canelo found the equaliser in round six when he devastatingly knocked Khan out to regain the WBC Middleweight Title.
Undefeated since that defeat he has seen off Phil Lo Greco in 39 seconds and more recently Sammy Vargas despite being down early in an almost shut out performance. Khan will need a monumental effort this Saturday to see off Crawford.
Crawfords perfect record has seen him pick up world titles in three different weight divisions including becoming Undisputed Super-Lightweight champion, collecting all four recognised governing bodies world titles in 2017. Its evident hes a special fighter and he will be hoping victory over Khan can propel him to a super fight with Errol Spence at the summit of the Welterweight Division in the fall.
First though we should have an interesting match up in the early hours this weekend.
For me Its a simple conclusion. If the best Amir Khan shows up he causes Crawford serious problems. Khan has better of the boxing ability thats plain for all to see but time and time again he switches off in big fights which you just can not do, especially at this level.
Crawford will need no encouragment if this happens on Saturday. Crawford who has very good boxing ability in his own right is more credited for his ring generalship and how well he works fighters out, knowing the correct time to step in and throw the perfect shot to finish a fight after he works out his opponents puzzle.
If Khan stands any chance on Saturday he has to try and force Crawford back and counter the jab when if its not thrown with conviction but also to know when is the right time to exchange in the fight. Virgil Hunter, Khans trainer has said he picked up a key point that when Crawford fights an orthodox fighter he will also fight orthodox and later in rounds will change to southpaw but is super talented enough that if he fights a southpaw he will do the exact opposite.
It will be fascinating to see how Khan deals with that awkward switch hitting style . A great match up that can result in number of different endings. Unfortunately the ending i see most likely is Crawford stopping Khan towards the second half of the fight. Amir will have his moments in the fight but he looked to be slightly slowing down against Vargas and a prime Crawford may just be a step too far.
What an achievement though if he can pull it off and one that will go down as being amongst the very best wins by a travelling fighter from this country. We look forward to seeing how it pans out in the early hours of Sunday morning. Will Khan shock the world? Or will it be the Kings last stand?