By Ryan Taylor
With recent problems with Sky Box Office pulling out of this weekends Khan-McCloskey PPV fight, the reported £1million loss in Amir Khans earnings and with one eye on a possible summer unification clash with Timothy Bradley. The question is, is Amir Khan fully focused on this weekends clash with Paul McCloskey?
The Khan camp decided upon a “homecoming” fight against a relatively easier opponent compared to his last, Marcos Maidana, where Khan successfully defended his WBA World light-welterweight title last December in a gruelling fight, one where Khan showed enormous heart and conditioning to survived a torrid 10th round.
First opponent option was Lamont Peterson, but with Peterson coming off a draw with Victor Ortiz (on the Khan-Maidana undercard) and a loss to Timothy Bradley, maybe an opponent in McCloskey who actually hails from the UK, has an undefeated record and could possibly be a less dangerous opponent, might have been the better opponent decision by the Khan camp.
I personally believe McCloskey is a good and deserving opponent with good skills, he has proved his worth in the UK, compiling a 22-0 (KO 12), the southpaw from Derry, Ireland has shown good boxing ability, skills, angles and punching power to capture both the British and European title, stopping some decent level opposition along the way.
So what was the reason for Sky Box Office pulling the plug on event? Apparently, due to lack of a decent co-feature attraction and undercard. Sky did however offer the event to Sky Sports 3, but an agreement could not be reached, so the major sports and boxing broadcaster pulled the plug on their support.
The Khan-McCloskey event was then sent to another PPV channel, Primetime, the pricetag is £14.95, and still without much of an undercard I am sure the UK fans will question whether this is value for money, which could lead to a low number in pay-per-view numbers.
In regards to the weeks TV dramas and the pay cut, Khan said “There are going to be times when there are pay cuts, but what drives me is all the training I have done.”
Anyway, back to the fight, as I mentioned earlier I believe Paul McCloskey is a worthy challenger for Amir Khans WBA World title, his last five opponents haven’t seen the final bell, even though Lynes, Harrison, Rasilla, Lauri and most recent Barry Morrison are not in the same level as Khan, McCloskey has done his job by dispatching whoever has been put infront of him.
To Khan, obviously the only blip on his record was when he got demolished in 54 seconds by Breidis Prescott, but that was over 2 and a half years ago. Since that fight Khan has hooked up with the best trainer in the business, Freddie Roach, relocated to the Wild Card Boxing Gym in Hollywood, won his last six fights (moving his record to 24-1 KO 17) and captured a World title.
Also, not only does Khan spar the best pound for pound fighter in the business in Manny Pacquiao (who like McCloskey is a southpaw), but he has also proven any doubters wrong who questioned his punch resistance, especially after his last fight against massive punching Maidana.
Even though Khan might be slightly looking past McCloskey and onto a unification fight with Timothy Bradley, I still believe he will be 100% fit, in condition and focused enough for this weekends fight with McCloskey. Even though McCloskey is proven at British and European levels, I see this as a step too far, with Khans speed and work rate being the major factors.
I can see McCloskey giving Khan some minor problems at the start as he has decent speed and power himself, but with Freddie Roaches advice in the corner I can see Khan overcoming this and with his accumulation of punches, wearing McCloskey down for an 8th round stoppage victory. Winner: Khan 8th round TKO.