5 of Amir Khan’s best performances of his career

Amir Khan v Samuel Vargas at Arena Birmingham
Amir Khan v Samuel Vargas at Arena Birmingham

Amir Khan hung up his gloves a couple of weeks ago and closed the curtain on what was a fantastic career. One he can be extremely proud of. The Bolton fighter never failed to excite fans with his lightning hand speed. While there have been question marks defensively, the Brit's heart and determination made his encounters so exciting for the neutrals.

The Kell Brook fight was something the Bolton fighter had to show to the fans and while he was beaten badly, he showed incredible grit in that fight to stay upright. There may have been a sense of regret on Khan’s side the fight did not take place years ago when both fighters were at their peak.

However, he gave the fans what they wanted and was able to hold his head up high. Let’s look at five of his best performances.

#5. Devon Alexander

Khan schools Alexander 👌Was @amirkingkhan’s victory over Devon Alexander in 2014 the best performance of his career?

In December 2014, Khan produced a dominant performance to secure a unanimous victory over Devon Alexander. The Brit controlled the early round with his blistering hand speed and combinations. Alexander failed to really land anything meaningful until the eighth round, where he managed a series of hooks. However, the Bolton fighter remained in control and the judges unanimously scored the fight in his favour.

After the fight, he expressed his desire to face Floyd Mayweather Jr. It felt he was looking to make a statement with his dominant showing. Khan felt his style and skill would cause problems for Mayweather and boxing purists have admitted it would have been a fascinating encounter. However, Mayweather opted to fight Marcus Maidana instead.

#4. Paulie Malignaggi

📅ON THIS DAY: Khan stops Malignaggi💥⏪Back in 2010 @amirkingkhan impressed at Madison Square Garden where he had too much for Paulie Malignaggi🗽💪

At 23 years old, Khan made his US debut facing 29-year-old Paulie Malignaggi. With a heated exchange taking place at the weigh-in, it was no surprise at the frenetic nature the fight began at. Both fighters traded and landed in an entertaining first round, with Khan landing the more accurate shots.

Malignaggi was then rocked by a left-right combination from the Brit in the second, but he then settled into his rhythm, making his opponent miss. After the third round, the Bolton fighter asserted his dominance and controlled proceedings.

The Bolton fighter rocked Malignaggi with an uppercut in the fourth, alongside left-right combinations. His jab was extremely effective, and he was constantly beating his opponent to the punch. Malignaggi began to slow down in the later rounds and failed to offer anything meaningful back.

Khan eventually stopped Malignaggi 85 seconds into the 11th round. The Brit massively impressed on his US debut with a fantastic performance.

#3. Zab Judah

When Khan was heavily pursuing the Mayweather fight, I think it was these kind of performances that gave him confidenceJudah obviously is no Mayweather, but Khan believed his physical advantages & fighting style would’ve posed problems. Difference with FM though, was his timing

In a unification bout with then 33-year-old Zab Judah, the Bolton fighter stopped Judah in the fifth round. In what was Khan’s second fight in the unofficial capital of boxing in Las Vegas, he continued to impress American boxing fans.

One of the main success stories of Khan’s career will be that he established himself in the states. This is something many brilliant British fighters have failed to do. Yes, there have been fighters like Kell Brook who have achieved success in the states but few have managed to campaign out there successfully over a number of years, as Khan did.

The Brit stopped Judah in the fifth with a hard-body shot, which Judah felt was low. The punch landed on the belt and the only complaint issued was from Judah. The Bolton fighter dominated the fight and all three judges gave him every round, prior to the stoppage. He was too slick, too quick, and hit too hard for Judah to deal with.

#2. Andreas Kotelnik

📅ON THIS DAY: Khan wins 1st world title👑☝️⏪Back in 2009 @amirkingkhan's blurring hand speed saw him claim the WBA world title from Andriy Kotelnik🌍🙌

Khan tasted his first world crown when he unanimously defeated Andreas Kotelnik to become the new WBA light-welterweight champion of the world. The then 21-year-old put on a masterclass of a performance that put him en route to stardom. He showed great improvement under the guidance of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach.

After the fight, it was clear Roach would take his fighter to America and provide him with the exposure he needed to become a big draw.

His defensive approach to the fight was clear to see as he kept his chin tucked and did not leave it exposed. He was the fresher fighter and displayed his blistering hand-speed with multiple combinations being effective for him. While some of these punches were landing on Kotelnik’s gloves and did not really hurt him, they were scoring punches.

Kotelnik got off to a slow start but got into the fight in the later rounds, arguably deserving to win the last 4. However, Khan’s tremendous footwork enabled him to stay out of range and got him through the last few rounds.

After suffering a damaging defeat to Breidis Prescott a year earlier, the Bolton fighter produced the best performance of his career that night in Manchester. This rocketed his followers and ultimately cemented his status as a box-office fighter, which is imperative for young fighters to attain.

#1. Marcos Maidana

📅ON THIS DAY: Khan battles Maidana💥⏪Back in 2010 @amirkingkhan and Marcos Maidana gave the fans a fantastic twelve rounds in Vegas👏

Khan retained his WBA light-welterweight title in an exhilarating contest with Marcos Maidana. Boxing writers in the states voted for this clash as the 'fight of the year’. This is an incredible achievement in itself for a British fighter to receive this recognition from boxing experts in America.

After the fight, the Bolton fighter stated that he “proved to everyone he has a chin”. It was an understatement as Khan’s chin took some punishment in the later rounds of the fight, but the Brit survived the onslaught and won the fight.

It looked like an easy night’s work for the Brit as he dropped Maidana with a vicious left to the body in round one. Maidana felt the effects of that shot and was saved by the bell. He dominated many of the early and middle rounds but Maidana recovered and proved to be a nightmare for his opponent in the later rounds.

He piled a massive onslaught onto Khan in the 10th round and backed him up against the ropes. This enabled him to throw hooks and uppercuts, many of them landing cleanly and flush on his opponent's chin.

The heart and grit were incredible to see from the Bolton fighter as he tucked up and managed to stay upright. The judges scored the fight unanimously in the Bolton fighter's favour, which was a fair result. Oscar De La Hoya called it “the fight of the year".

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Edited by Rohit Mishra
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