One victory, one brawl, and one monster right cross -- British boxers tasted three very different results in championship fights across the globe on Saturday night.
In Hamburg, Germany, Dereck Chisora was a win away from a pension-plan fight against world champion Anthony Joshua. Chisora had to beat Bulgaria's Kubrat Pulev for the European heavyweight title; he never did, he lost by several rounds in a forgettable brawl that was ugly. There had been some very ugly moments in the days before the first bell with people throwing plastic bottles at Chisora and Pulev unleashing a sneak slap. Del Boy, as he was known in 2012 when he pushed Vitali Klitschko the full 12 rounds for the WBC heavyweight title, is trapped in a boxing backwater right now.
In Manchester, Anthony Crolla knew that he would get knocked out if he let his guard slip for just one second against the ancient Venezuelan banger Ismael Barroso. Crolla was risking his WBA lightweight title and a lucrative payday in a future fight against Manchester's other lightweight world champion Terry Flanagan.
Crolla fought to plan, put his good boxing brain to use and watched as Barroso ran out of power, stamina and heart. It was punch-perfect, a flawless display, but then that is what good, smart boxers with experienced coaches are meant to do. Joe Calzaghe did it for about 30 years! Barroso was brutally exposed, as warned, and went down when his desire hit the skids. Good win for Crolla it was, but Barroso was, as predicted, poor.
The bad took place at 4:40am British time in Las Vegas when Amir Khan turned his chin a few centimetres to the left and into the finest right cross that Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez has ever thrown. Khan was out cold at that point and possibly came round as his head hit the canvas. There was no need for a count; Alvarez won by knockout in round six, retained his WBC middleweight title and will now deal with the wrath of the Mexican people and their demand that he fights Gennady Golovkin. The WBC, the sanctioning body that is based in Mexico City, has bravely ordered their two middleweight 'champions' to agree the terms for a super fight inside the next 30 days. It will now, I believe, happen and that is because the Mexican fight fans are demanding it of their idol, Alvarez.
Khan was on his feet in minutes, in and out of hospital for a scan and a check, but his recovery will take longer and his ring future could be in doubt. If he does fight again it will most definitely not be at middleweight and in my opinion there is some doubt about whether he could make the welterweight limit of 147 pounds again and retain his power or any punch resistance.
Khan needs time and an easy fight to get his confidence back and he is unlikely to get both in the modern business of boxing where far too many people with power are influenced by fools. Khan deserves a simple knock over job, a faded name that will fold easily, in about October at something like 150 pounds before any silly talk of titles takes place. Sadly, the line between imbecile and expert in the boxing business is becoming increasingly thin and what Khan needs right now is a return to action using old-school methods; fighting at a relaxed weight, in a safe fight.
So Chisora will need some crisis talks with his promoters, the Sauerland Brothers, and Crolla will have to look at his options, which could include a fight with the WBC champion Jorge Linares, but should also include a look at the money available for an all-Manchester fight with Flanagan.
Alvarez will gain five pounds and fight triple G, as the unbeaten Kazak Golovkin is known, hopefully in September or November back at the T-Mobile Arena. Sadly, I just can't see Alvarez agreeing to an outdoor fight in Astana. And Khan, well, it's best if we just leave the boy from Bolton to lick his wounds, surrounded by the people that love him. It was, trust me, some weekend. And finally, here is a mad statistic for you: Britain has 12 world champion and they have fought a combined total of 18 world champions -- Khan, meanwhile, has fought 12 world champions in a great career.