While Amir Khan’s India vs Pakistan moment in Saudi Arabia next month is now unfortunately over, there’s still something with grand intentions going on in the Kingdom on July 12, with Australian boxer Billy Dib coming out of retirement to replace Neeraj Goyat. He’s calling it his “real-life Rocky moment.”
Khan’s WBC bout with India’s Goyat was shaping up as a battle to follow the recent India vs Pakistan cricket World Cup game (Pakistan lost), but after Goyat was injured in a car crash, it looked like Saudi’s first big boxing match was dead in the water.
Enter two-time-world-champion-but-retired-for-a-year Australian, Billy Dib, fighting for the totally made up WBC Pearl Belt.
Khan shot down claims that his fight with Dib isn't serious, telling ESPN the Aussies should be "respected".
“First of all my heart goes out to Neeraj and I pray for him to make a full recovery and [be] fit and healthy again to resume his boxing career,” Kahn said.
“We’ve had to make the decision to find a replacement and we’ve done extremely well in securing Dib to now be in the opposite corner.
It’s a strange one all-round, really. Khan is coming off the back of an embarrassing retirement after a Terence Crawford low blow in his last fight at Madison Square Gardens, while Dibb is moving up two weight classes and fighting on a fortnight’s notice.
In life you get a limited number of opportunities to do something monumental, and like the greatest in any industry will tell you, when an opportunity comes knocking you answer.
This is my real life Rocky Moment. #Daretobegreat pic.twitter.com/R66mwAQFP1— Billy The Kid (@BillyDib) June 26, 2019
But as Dibb, quite rightly says, this could indeed be his “Rocky moment”. It certainly worked for Andy Ruiz Jr last month as the rank outsider stunned the world to defeat Anthony Joshua – the man most reasonable observers felt to be the best heavyweight fighter in the world – with just five weeks’ notice.
For Khan, a guy who recently questioned just how many fights he had left in him, it’s mainly relief that the fight is still on. “I would have been absolutely distraught if my dream of fighting in Saudi (Arabia) had to be put on hold,” he explained. “Dib is a respected and experienced (former) world champion so I’m looking forward to pitting my skill against him.”
A defeat for Khan and the British-born former world champion and Olympic silver medallist, however would likely spell retirement. What that all means for Dibbs is unknown. But if he’s to follow his Rocky analogy through, there’s potentially a big fight coming up in Russia on Christmas Day.