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Boxing: Khan always believed big nights would return as Crawford looms into view

By Opta
amirkhan - Cropped

London, April 19: As the daunting prospect of facing pound-for-pound great Terence Crawford looms into view, Amir Khan never lost faith that he would again compete in elite-level fights.

Khan stepped up two weight divisions to challenge the fearsome Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez for the WBO world middleweight title in May 2016 and performed admirably until an outrageous right scored a brutal sixth-round knockout for the Mexican.

Following that defeat, Khan spent almost two years out of the ring before returning 12 months ago to take on Phil Lo Greco via a profile-raising stint on UK reality TV show 'I'm A Celebrity'.

It took just 40 seconds for Khan to stop his unheralded opponent before a more testing contest against Samuel Vargas saw him climb from the canvas to claim a unanimous decision win.

The prospect of a domestic dust-up with bitter rival Kell Brook was again touted before falling through with a sense of frustrating inevitability.

Khan will instead face the fearsome unbeaten Crawford for the WBO welterweight title at Madison Square Garden on Saturday and he was always confident of taking part in the big fights once again.

"No [I didn't think my chance to fight in big fights had gone] not at all," he told Omnisport.

"Because, I mean look at the Canelo fight, on [one of] the scorecards I was winning the fight.

"It's not like I was being outboxed and got beat up and then got knocked out, so no I never, ever thought I wouldn't get another chance to box in a big fight again."

The odds are stacked against Khan in New York given Crawford's status as one of boxing's pound-for-pound greats.

But Khan is banking on his experience of elite-level fights against the three-weight world champion.

"I've had some great fights and that experience is definitely going to help going into this fight against Crawford," Khan added.

"We know how tough of a fighter Crawford is and how dangerous he is, but I know exactly what to do.

"The reason I took this fight is because I know I can win the fight otherwise, I mean, there were other options out there."

Khan has been notorious for crowd-pleasing fights throughout his career and he recognises the importance of sticking to his game plan against Crawford, even if that means dialling back the excitement levels.

"We don't want to be drawn into the crowd or drawn into a fight just to please people," he said.

"As I've got older now and more experienced it's now about making sure I just get the win, no matter how it is.

"Just get the win, even if it means doing the same thing all the time. Just to get the win.

"I think I've done enough to give entertainment to people, now I think it's just all about me and making sure I get the wins.

"I mean, look, he's an all-round good fighter, we have to be smart and stick to the game plan, there's very little weaknesses but there's a few we've seen and hopefully we're going to capitalise on that, be smart in there, use the right shots at the right time and be very patient."

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Read more about: boxing amir khan terence crawford
Story first published: Friday, April 19, 2019, 17:20 [IST]
Other articles published on Apr 19, 2019
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