Nolan and Khan learn at school of hard knocks
KEVIN Nolan has warned Newcastle they can never be complacent as he heeds the lessons learned by Amir Khan ahead of his world title defence this evening. Chief sports writer Luke Edwards reports.
IF any of Newcastle United’s players needed to be reminded about what can happen if you fail to treat an opponent with proper care and attention they need look no further than the perils awaiting Amir Khan whenever he steps into the ring.
Khan has been in Newcastle’s position. He has been the dominant fighter in his division, he has been the bookies favourite and he has lost, dumped on his backside by a fighter looking to make a name for himself.
When the big-hitting Colombian Breidis Prescott connected with Khan’s chin last September to claim victory in just 54 seconds of the first round he shattered Khan’s illusions of greatness.
In just a few seconds, Prescott had torn a big name reputation apart, shattering Khan’s confidence and carefully constructed image of impenetrability in a result which has defined his career to date.
It may turn out to be as good as its gets for Prescott, but he will always be able to say he was the man who embarrassed the superstar Khan and there are countless Championship footballers who dream of doing the same to Newcastle this season.
For Kevin Nolan the parallels are clear. The United midfielder became a good friend of Khan’s during his time at Bolton Wanderers and he will be at the Metro Radio Newcastle Arena tonight to cheer him on in his first defence of the WBA Light-welterweight belt against unbeaten American Dimitry Salita.
Both men know what it is like to suffer the stinging pain that comes with humiliation, Khan when Prescott knocked him out, Nolan when his big move to Newcastle ended with the agony of relegation from the Premier League. And both know what it is like to bounce back and rebuild a tarnished reputation.
Nolan has done it with nine goals this season as the Magpies lead the Championship promotion race and Khan has done it with a world title, won via an unanimous points decision over Andreas Kotelnik in Manchester back in July.
“I’ve known him for a few years now and he has done fantastically well,” said Nolan, as he offered his support ahead of United’s home game against Watford. “He had his little blip against Prescott, but that’s what boxing is all about.