With a propensity for changing trainers and talking up his maturity between the ropes, Amir Khan has attempted more reboots than the Batman film franchise.
Sadly though, with Khan, the plot is always the same, only the adversaries get bigger and more bullish than the last.
Make no mistake, his sixth-round knockout loss to WBC middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez was the darkest night of a good boxing career destined never to become a great one.
His fans will rightly look for positives and point to his fast start. Many observers had the Bolton man winning four of the first five rounds. But his demise will not have surprised a single soul who has followed his career closely since his breakthrough at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
On Friday I wrote that Khan’s close points win over light-punching welterweight Chris Algieri last year confirmed his worst habits were still there.
The preview piece read: “His opponents cannot miss with straight rights and looping overhand rights, like the one which nearly knocked him out in the tenth round of his battle with Marcos Maidana. Worryingly, they are undisturbed by his own power.”
A ninth-round stoppage prediction for Alvarez aside, this was almost exactly how it played out on the early hours of Sunday. The Mexican icon was not the least bit disturbed by anything Khan had to offer. Lo and behold, an overhand right finished the fight.
Of the relationship between the pugilist and the promoter, Colin Hart – among the sport’s greatest ever writers – once declared: “Boxing is illogical.” Inside the squared circle, this could not be further from the truth.
If Khan was being badly hurt – and occasionally knocked out – at lightweight and light-welterweight, the clash with Alvarez was never going to go the distance.
The champion, aware of his opponents defensive frailties and lack of punching prowess in elite encounters, paced it well. I had him losing the first three before clawing back rounds four and five, in which Khan was cut. He was closing the distance and starting to land effective shots. The finale was spectacular.
The Briton deserves enormous credit for accepting the bout which took him up two weight classes. It also pitted him against a pound-for-pound boxer for the first time.
But we should have been spared the post-fight lecture from Khan’s trainer Virgil Hunter who belittled Alvarez, accusing him of dodging a super-fight with Gennady Golovkin.
“He’s got to quit hiding behind the flag,” he said shortly after praising the risks his man had taken to make the bout.
The reality is that without Alvarez, Khan would not be making a career-best purse of around £9 million. And when it comes to swerving showdowns, camp Khan should keep quiet. Two words – Kell Brook. Even the disastrous Breidis Prescott defeat in the pre-Hunter days has never been avenged.
Looking to the future, a fight with IBF welterweight champion Brook is what most fans want yet Danny Garcia’s WBC belt, and the chance to right the wrongs of 2012, will appeal to him more. I can’t see the latter happening without a rebuilding bout or two.
However Khan versus Sheffield’s undefeated Brook later this year, or in 2017, is an easy sell.
If only another reboot were so simple.