Pakistani-British boxer Amir Khan is in the final stages of training for the next rung in his ladder of success. He takes on Northern Irelandâ€™s Paul McCloskey this weekend in a defense of his World Boxing Association (WBA) light welterweight title. Khan has been so focused in fact that he shut down his Twitter and Facebook accounts several weeks ahead of the bout in order to avoid additional distractions. He even spent a few weeks in the Phillipines to train with boxing superstar Manny Pacqiao as well as the expert trainer whom they share as clients, Freddie Roach. Roach has now come to Manchester, England to assist Khan in the days leading up to the April 16th fight.
There was some controversy this past week when the Khan-McCloskey fight was dropped from pay-per-view to regular cable television viewing on Englandâ€™s SkySports 3. Khan took this as an insult to the fighters, and he and his camp have now shifted the fight to a lower level of pay-per-view on Primetime TV. The reasons for the downgrade were apparently related to the underwhelming caliber of fighters on the undercard, which came into view in particular after fellow Muslim boxer Hasim Rahman pulled out of his fight against undefeated Brit Tyson Fury.
McCloskey himself is in fact undefeated, so this will be no cakewalk for Khan. And there is already talk that a unification bout with World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) light-welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley has already been penciled in for July 23rd in Las Vegas. And if Khan were able to win that fight, he would be, at age 24, the youngest undisputed world champion in British boxing history. So even more than Twitter or Facebook, that is the kind of distraction that Khan will have to keep out of his mind if he wants to be known the world over as King Khan and not A Mere Con.