James Lawton: Khan echoes Hamed hype
Tuesday 17 May 2005
It is true that nowhere on earth can accelerate the ageing process quite so dramatically as the boxing ring. Even so, the decline of the master Cuban Mario Kindelan in Bolton against the hugely hyped Amir Khan was remarkably profound by any standards.
The degree of it indeed made some of the claims being made on behalf of the teenager, who was such a warm and exciting presence in last summer's Olympics in Athens, distinctly disquieting. At Bolton the story had progressed to an alarming degree. We were told Khan is a certainly to be Britain's youngest professional world champion since Naseem Hamed. The occasion was grotesquely inflated, and Kindelan's display gave such projections no serious foundation.
Perhaps most worryingly of all, Khan, a model of boyish charm and modesty in Athens, got so far ahead of himself on Saturday he was announcing his intention to retire by the age of 25. But first, of course, he must have a career in the pros. Though his distaste is on record for the arrogance that Hamed displayed before meeting for the first time a fighter of the highest class and condition, and being thoroughly thrashed, even mocked by Marco Antonio Barrera, Khan had acquired some of his predecessor's trappings when he came into the ring to face a bemused Kindelan.
There was the showy entrance and the rapturous reception. There was the gushing television coverage; above all there was the assumption that Khan's ascension to a world pro crown was simply a matter of brief time.
Some time before Barrera got the chance to bring Naseem Hamed back to earth, the Mexican worked brilliantly in a tough Los Angeles gym and then said, "Naseem thinks he is a star - but what of, a circus?" A circus is what we had in Bolton on Saturday night.
Meanwhile, in Latin America and the Far East, young fighters of great toughness and talent were polishing their gifts in the hardest trade. Let us hope that in a few years' time one of them will not have reason to appraise Amir Khan with the same contempt that Barrera once had for Hamed.
Latest in Sport
Barbarians vs Samoa interrupted by sprinklers as fans criticise lack of Wi-Fi and poor seating at West Ham's Olympic Stadium
Arsenal transfer news: Arsene Wenger 'optimistic' of making signing, Grzegorz Krychowiak and Edinson Cavani linked
Liverpool vs West Ham match report: Philippe Coutinho sent-off as woeful Reds thrashed with goals by Manuel Lanzini, Mark Noble and Diafra Sakho
Chelsea 1 Crystal Palace 2: Jose Mourinho uses forward Kenedy at left-back as frustration with Chelsea defence grows
Chelsea 1 Crystal Palace 2: Blues' Twitter account jumps the gun, seconds before Joel Ward goal seals Eagles' victory
- 1 Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
- 3 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 5 The 20 toughest job interview questions in the world
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn voters most likely to believe 'world is controlled by a secretive elite'
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...