WBA and IBF light welterweight champion Amir Khan, who beat Zab Judah over the weekend to unify two of the four major belts at 140lbs, is seeing his star rise quickly out of the ring as he excels inside it.
Khan made his first U.S network television appearance yesterday as a guest on George Lopez’s show Lopez Tonight on TBS, following in the footsteps of previous boxing guests Oscar De La Hoya and Shane Mosley.
Undoubtedly the appearance will do a lot for his recognition in the U.S, which for non-American boxers is often a very difficult market to break into. Currently the only foreign fighter coming close is perhaps Khan’s Wild Card stable mate and some time sparring partner Manny Pacquiao.
Khan though like Pacquiao appeared confident speaking in front of a live audience, and made some interesting points about his win over Zab Judah:
“I could see after the first round he didn’t want any of it, he was hurt, and that when I started putting the pressure on more and more and as the fight went on I could see him getting hurt and; you know when you can see in someone’s eyes that they don’t want to fight, that’s what he seemed like, it seemed like he didn’t want to be in there”
When asked about Judah claiming that the fight ending shot was low, Khan quipped:
“That was waistline, but his belt was too high and if he really thinks that was a low blow he must have high balls”
Many watching the fight also thought Judah’s claim of a low blow was odd, especially given that he made no indication to the referee that the punch was low, and didn’t attempt to stand up even when being counted out.
Despite speculation over his future however, Judah appears intent on fighting on, perhaps in the knowledge that both Khan and WBC/WBO champion Tim Bradley will soon be leaving the division, possibly providing him with the opportunity to again win a world title.
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While Khan’s popularity is probably better than any other fighter at light welterweight today however, he still has some catching up to do to come close to countryman and predecessor Ricky Hatton.
Hatton though had fought close to forty fights before becoming internationally regarded as one of the top light welterweights in the sport by beating Kostya Tszyu in 2005, and saw his fame grow exponentially fighting the likes of then pound for pound king Floyd Mayweather.
Similarly the likes of pay per view stars Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather were a lot older than Khan is now before they became truly popular and well known even to non-boxing fans.
Frank Harman, Pitt: “Judah always reacts badly when he loses, the Tszyu fight showed it, this nonsense about a low blow proves it”