In a week where the topic of conversation swayed more to a possible fight with Floyd Mayweather in 2014 than his imminent opponent, Amir Khan has to be careful that he doesn’t take his eye of the ball against the dangerous Julio Diaz tonight.
Diaz, at 33 and with 48 fights and a world title behind him, will present an awkward challenge for Khan to manoeuvre in South Yorkshire tonight and rest assured, has not come to England to make up the numbers.
Saying that, 26 year-old Khan has had plenty of time to ponder his past failings and with 2012 Trainer of the Year Virgil Hunter now in his corner, has promised to show the world the new him at the Motorpoint Arena.
The Bolton fighter’s back-to-back losses to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia are still ringing in his eyes as the press continually remind him of the fact, and Khan now has the chance to go some way to erasing those constant niggles with an impressive performance.
A knockout win has to be the most likely outcome tonight as Diaz has been stopped five times in a long career already, but with 29 stoppages on his record – may have Khan fans hearts in their mouths on more than one occasion come the first bell.
The superior skill of Khan will almost certainly pull him through, barring any significant mistakes which the Olympic silver medallist now says are out of his armoury. A stoppage between seven and ten rounds would seem feasible against ‘The Kidd’ to put the Briton firmly on track for another world belt opportunity.
Khan will then be in the frame for one more fight this year on US soil in December, before a huge light-welterweight title bout against the four-way tournament victor of tonight’s Garcia v Judah and next month’s Peterson v Matthysse bouts respectively.
Recapturing his former glory would then lead Khan into a welterweight debut, according to Golden Boy’s Richard Schaefer, before a well-planned battle against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Khan knows he has to shine in Sheffield to put a foot on the rung of the ladder to pound for pound stardom.
UK viewers can watch the fight on BoxNation for just £10, followed by Sergio Martinez v Martin Murray. Any purchase tonight would then cover Floyd Mayweather v Robert Guerrero next week. To subscribe click on any BoxNation link or banner on the WBN website.