Amir Khan's Next Victory Must Be More Convincing to Regain Elite Status

Alex BallentineFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2013

SHEFFIELD, ENGLAND - APRIL 27:  Amir Khan in action against Julio Diaz at Motorpoint Arena on April 27, 2013 in Sheffield, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Amir Khan may have picked up the win in his latest bout against Julio Diaz, but it wasn't all that impressive.

Khan entered the fight on Saturday as the prohibitive favorite. He was fighting in front of a hometown crowd, and Diaz is just not the caliber of opponent who should give Khan trouble. Despite all of that, Khan was knocked down in the fourth round and in serious trouble on multiple occasions.

Khan was ultimately able to outpoint Diaz for most of the bout and pick up a narrow win on the scorecards, but Diaz had his opportunities to win the fight.

For a man who once held the WBA Light Welterweight Championship for two solid years, that's a disappointing performance.

Before losing back-to-back fights against Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia, Khan was one of the top 140-pound fighters in the world. After those two losses, Khan began a path to redemption that includes a 10th-round TKO victory over Carlos Molina and now his decision win over Julio Diaz.

If he continues to fight like he did against Diaz and get caught against inferior opponents, he will find it difficult to recapture the elite status he once held.

Khan is in a division that is filled with burgeoning fighters who are capable of beating him because of his lack of defense and questionable chin.

Climbing to the top of the ladder again will not be easy. Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson still remain top fighters in the division, and they have already shown they are better than Khan.

Lucas Matthysse has established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the division as well. He has more than enough power to capitalize on the opportunities that Diaz wasn't able to seize.

Had Khan dominated Diaz as expected, it would have been a logical next step for Khan to take on some of the bigger names in the division. With his lackluster performance against Diaz, it's now clear that he must take another tune-up fight before attempting to face the best in the division.

If he doesn't tighten up his defensive skills, he may have already passed his prime at just 26 years old.