Much of his recent time has been spent in a delightful but mentally and physically taxing whirlwind, and the draining nature of his last couple months came through a few days ago in a phoner with Pakistani-Brit boxer Amir Khan, the former lightweitght and junior welterweight champion who is looking to break through in America in the next year or so.
I noted to the 26-year-old that he sounded a bit hoarse, understanding that his low vocal volume could well be the result of a mad dash of a month, which included a lavish wedding ceremony May 31 at the Waldorf Astoria in NYC to the former Faryal Mahkdoom, a 21-year-old Staten Island resident. Khan (28-3 with 19 KOs; beat Julio Diaz via UD12 in last fight, April 27), who is slated to fight TBA Dec. 7, at site TBD, told me that his voice reflected his period of fasting in recognition of Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, from dawn until sunset. When Khan spoke to me about his wedding, where he plans to reside most of the time and his fighting future, it was nearing sundown, when he could indulge in eating and drinking, after refraining and engaging in intense spiritual reflection.
"It's a good body cleanser," he told me from Staten Island, from the home of the newly christened Mrs. Khan's parents home. "It's a way to remember the poor people, of putting self in perspective."
His tone perked up talking about the Waldorf bash. "Overall, it was an amazing scene," he said. "It was family and my closest friends, all with a smile on their face. It was so happy for me, a touching feeling." He was blown away, he said, with the resonance of the Waldorf, after getting a tour and hearing about all the bigwigs who'd stayed there, and gotten hitched there. "All the Presidents and famous people who've gotten married there ... whenever people who went come to New York, they will remember that occasion."
To get a sense of what a big deal Khan is in the UK, know that Hello! magazine paid a six figure fee of exclusivity to cover the nuptials, creating a splash along the lines of the one forged for the David Beckham-Posh Spice union. Can a good measure of that celebrity translate to the U.S.? Remains to be seen -- Khan is in my mind a must see fighter, largely because his fights promise drama from minute one onward. His chin isn't of the sternest material, so until the final bell rings, no matter the foe, Khan walks a tightrope. He possesses superb handspeed, and good ring generalship when properly focused, and that package puts him high on the list of possibles to face off with the sport's revenue and buzz driver, Floyd Mayweather.
I admitted that I selfishly would like to see, if that scrap were to be made, Khan-Mayweather in NYC, and queried the newlywed about that subject, as well as Mrs. Khan's affinity -- or lack thereof -- for the sport and her man's participation in it. Check back for part 2 ...
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