Amir's golden future

World is in Khan's hands, says De La Hoya

Last Updated: 04/03/11 11:28am

Water winner: Khan

Amir Khan is destined for greatness across the globe in the eyes of boxing's very own 'Golden Boy', Oscar de la Hoya.

AMIR KHAN v PAUL McCLOSKEY
WBA Light-Welterweight title

8pm, April 16, Sky Box Office HD

"We can truly make him a superstar here in America and all over the world. I believe he is the perfect package; he's a good-looking guy, he speaks well, he fights with a lot of heart which he proved in his last fight against Maidana. I believe Amir Khan can go very, very far. "

Oscar de la Hoya

Quotes of the week

WBA light-welterweight king Khan has already left his mark on America having beaten Pauli Malignaggi and Marcos Maidana on US canvas inside the last year.

But De La Hoya told Ringside that the 24-year-old from Bolton can become a trans-Atlantic phenomenon if he continues to front up to the challenges put before him.

The next test comes in the shape of European champion Paul McCloskey in April, when 'King Khan' returns to Manchester to defend his crown in a Sky Box Office HD bout.

It's a fight De La Hoya, owner of Golden Boy Promotions, can't wait for - not least because he has a natural soft spot for a fighter from his own stable.

Superstar

"Amir really is a genuinely nice guy; I feel he really has a good heart," he told Ringside.

"Amir Khan really wants to be great and, obviously, to be great you have to face the very best. I think this is the perfect time for him to do that.

"We can truly make him a superstar here in America and all over the world. I believe he is the perfect package; he's a good-looking guy, he speaks well, he fights with a lot of heart which he proved in his last fight against Maidana. I believe Amir Khan can go very, very far.

"He can not only be one of the best coming out of Europe but he can be one of the best coming out of the whole world.

"I believe the fact that Ricky Hatton was able to captivate so many [American] fans despite from where he's from is truly, truly remarkable. I believe you have to admire the guy because he was your regular Joe Shmoe from the street that people loved.

"He was able to bring 30-40,000 fans to support him when he fought Floyd Mayweather; it was unbelievable. Again, that's the beauty of boxing. No other sport will do that."

Secrets

Although it is nearly a decade since De La Hoya established Golden Boy Promotions, his fighter's heart and his business head still jar - particularly when potential match-ups on the scale of David Haye against Wladimir Klitschko are left in limbo.

"One of the secrets to becoming great or becoming a good champion is you have to fight the best, you have to put whoever is put in front of you," he reflected. "This is a sport, this is what we live for; we live for these big fights, these great name fighters to face.

"David Haye and Klitschko - just get in the ring and fight. It will be a great fight. It doesn't matter who wins or loses, so long as it's a great fight you will have two winners.

"Yes (boxing) is a business, there are a lot of little issues with the TV and the revenues and everything but as a fighter I'd think 'let's fight, let's get it on'. It shouldn't be that difficult to make - I believe it is do-able.

"David Haye is a great champion, David Haye is a very charismatic person, he's a great athlete which I believe is one of his advantages over Klitschko; he can be one of the fighters who can knock out a Klitschko - he's that powerful, that fast, he's a thinker. He can surprise a Klitschko, I believe.

"Klitschko is a great fighter also - he's a strong fighter, a big guy; it's a dangerous fight for David but it's also a very winnable fight for David Haye."

Focus

For now, though, there is no guarantee that fight will happen before Haye's intended retirement in October.

While the WBA World Heavyweight champion can expect to enjoy a lucrative post-fight career, De La Hoya is concerned that prospective prizes are distracting too many up-and-coming fighters from present pain.

"A lot of fighters today are thinking about the bigger picture but you have to be careful with the way you say it because the bottom line is that ultimately you are a fighter and you have to focus on your fighting and your training," he warned.

"That's what is going to get you the big pay-days, that is what is going to get you more opportunities outside the ring once you retire. The bottom line is first you have to get the world title then you go after business and the money and success.

"A lot of fighters sometimes forget about that; they want to jump over the boxing and go straight to the business; you have to do all of your hard work inside the ring, inside the gym, and then after five, 10, 15 years you can think about business. That's the way it should work."

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