Amir Khan won’t fight Neeraj Goyat for any world title next month, but he can win the WBC Pearl belt.
The WBC unveiled the special prize ahead of the bout between former world welterweight champ Khan, a Briton of Pakistani background, and unheralded Indian Goyat. The two won’t meet on the Indian subcontinent – where there is regular tension between nuclear neighbors Pakistan and India – but at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
In 2018, Amir Khan returned to the ring with two consecutive victories after a two-year break from boxing. On April 20, 2019, Khan lost to Terence Crawford at New York’s Madison Square Garden in a WBO welterweight title bout. Khan may need to wait a while for another title challenge. In the meantime, he can satisfy his ambitions with consolation prizes like the Pearl belt.
Khan an Almost Unbackable Favorite to Defeat Goyat
The Khan-Goyat fight has been heavily criticized, with many commentators noting the mismatch between former world champ Khan and his virtually unknown rival. As you’d expect, the bookmakers have Khan as a hot favorite to win this bout, with his odds hovering around the 1/25 mark compared to Goyat’s 10/1.
As the bout draws nearer, the top bookies will open betting markets on things like method of victory, round betting, and whether the fight will go the distance. A Khan win may seem like a foregone conclusion, but fans can expect great odds on various scenarios, such as whether he wins by KO, unanimous decision, or any other method of victory.
Click here to see the full list of bookmakers taking wagers on the Khan-Goyat fight.
Khan-Goyat Bout Controversial for More Reasons Than One
In addition to the mismatch, commentators have also been critical of the choice of venue: Saudi Arabia. While neutral ground was needed for the bout – given the tensions between their home countries – human rights groups have criticized the choice of Saudi Arabia as the venue.
After the venue was revealed, Amnesty International put out a statement slamming the country’s “abysmal” human rights record and urging Khan to go “with his eyes firmly open”.
Khan responded that things have changed since the first time he fought in Saudi Arabia.
“When I was there last it had all changed,” said Khan. “I started seeing women not wearing head scarves. Women were out driving. They had a huge concert where everyone was dancing and enjoying themselves. I’d never seen that side of Saudi Arabia before.
“Maybe now they are changing to make it that new place where people can enjoy themselves and it’s fair for women. I think they’re trying to change now.”
Ultimately, the lure of a £7 million payday ($9 million) was too much for Khan to ignore.
“They are throwing a lot of money on to the table and at the end of the day we are prizefighters. For me, I would be stupid to not take this opportunity,” Khan said.
Fans Can Also Earn Big Money on Khan-Goyat Bout
Winning millions is a stretch, but fans with their fingers on the pulse can still win big on the Khan-Goyat bout.
A simple bet on a Khan victory won’t earn you much, given his short odds. However, upset victories have been known to happen, and when they do – there are usually a few smart fans who earn a nice payout.