Amir Khan’s decision to take difficult fight proves he’s starting to grasp what it takes to become a boxing star

Kevin Iole
Boxing Experts Blog

Amir Khan deserves some credit.

He's been beaten up badly by American fans and media for the way he handled landing a possible May 3 bout against Floyd Mayweather. From the moment that Khan first thought such a bout realistic, he shoved all other fights from his mind.

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He passed on a potential Dec. 7 title fight against Devon Alexander and wound up sitting around doing nothing for months. When Mayweather finally chose Marcos Maidana, the fighter the fans clearly preferred to see, Khan threw a hissy fit.

Sitting on the sidelines is rarely the right answer, and Khan learned a hard lesson.

But give him some much-deserved credit: He's taken a tough fight against Luis Collazo on the Mayweather-Maidana undercard on May 3 in Las Vegas. There is still no guarantee that Khan gets Mayweather in September, assuming as most do that Mayweather gets past Maidana.

Khan, though, is doing now what he should have done last year in order to make the best case for himself: Fighting.

The first report that Khan might have a shot at Mayweather came from the Daily Mail on Oct. 3, and though the report was inaccurate, it set a timeline of sorts against which to judge Khan's actions. At that point, Khan had been talking about a December fight against Alexander.

He quickly decided it wasn't in his best interest to fight that bout and preferred to stay in the gym, working with Virgil Hunter, waiting for Mayweather to make his decision.

Khan sat out despite some rather mediocre performances in his previous four bouts, in which he was 2-2 and hardly looked the part of one of the best fighters in the world.

Maidana took the opposite approach, and it earned him the Mayweather fight. Maidana faced Adrien Broner in a bout in which Broner was heavily favored.

But Maidana performed so well and fought so valiantly, fans were thrilled and began to root for him to get the Mayweather bout. When a poll on Mayweather's site showed fans picked Khan, there was an uproar. Virtually every other site which ran a poll had the same result, with Maidana an overwhelming choice of the public to land the Mayweather fight.

Mayweather is nothing but a smart businessman and he wisely went against his own poll and picked Maidana.

But when he offered Khan a tough fight against Collazo on his undercard, Khan proved he'd learned his lesson.

Khan is a very talented boxer, much more gifted than he's actually shown, and because he's only 27, he still has time to blossom into a full-fledged star. He has some notoriety in the United Kingdom, but he's nowhere near a star in the U.S.

The Collazo fight is a difficult one, and Collazo will go into it largely pressure free. Little will be expected of him.

Khan will carry most of the pressure on his shoulders, and he could easily have said no and taken a much easier opponent.

But he looks like he's finally learned his lesson: The best way for a fighter to make a statement is not to call reporters and boast. Rather, it's to step between the ropes and make said statement with one's fists.

If Khan indeed has taken that lesson to heart, it's no stretch to suggest stardom might yet come for him.

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