As Amir Khan sauntered into the Las Vegas ring for his World title unification bout with Zab Judah, he was intent on proving to the audience at ringside and those watching around the world that he is, “pound for pound”, Britain’s premier fighter. In an impressive performance that ended on a controversial note, he may have laid some claim to that boast.

Beating Zab Judah in the fifth round with a low body punch that the referee construed as being legal, replays showed that Khan hit Judah on the belt, a punch that could have been judged as a low blow. It wasn’t and Judah was counted out, remonstrating afterwards that he had not realised he was being counted out, believing that the referee was giving him time to recuperate from what he perceived was an illegal hit. It overshadowed what was a very impressive performance from Khan, winning all four preceding rounds with an offensive game that included quick punches, combinations and a plan to neutralise Judah’s powerful back hand.

…one has to wonder if the magic 8 ball he shook was faulty after a performance as limp as this one.

Coming into the fight the Bolton native was pegged as the favourite, younger than Judah (24 to 33), taller and with a longer reach; physically the odds were stacked in his favour. However Judah was expected to be stiff opposition, the 33 year-old having been around the block a few times and fought some of the best in the Light Welterweight division including Floyd Mayweather. Judah had even predicted a “sensational win”; although one has to wonder if the magic 8 ball he shook was faulty after a performance as limp as this one.

Despite the experience Judah brought to the fight he was rarely in it. The second round was the pivotal point of the match-up where Khan opened up, leaving Judah’s nose and lip bloodied, and then continuing his onslaught as the fight went on. More aggressive than his opponent, who seemed to rely on counter punches, Khan was always on the front foot, quicker out of each round and landing more punches than his opponent. The win was inevitable although the circumstances that brought it about were unfortunate.

…Khan can take with him the confidence of this impressive night in Las Vegas…

With the victory in the bag Khan is looking towards fighting tougher opponents, with current WBC and WBO Light Welterweight Champion Timothy Bradley Jr in the frame and, quite possibly, a fight with Floyd Mayweather. Whatever his next fight may be, Khan can take with him the confidence of this impressive night in Las Vegas (as well as his IBF and WBA belts, of course), with the knowledge that he can stand tall on the big stage.

Image courtesy of Amir Khan and Floyd Mayweather

 

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