Khan could pay price in more ways than one

Amir Khan in action against Paul McCloskey
Amir Khan in action against Paul McCloskey
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LESLEY KEATING: A white-knuckle pursuit ending with a lesson in trust

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Amir Khan is a gifted young boxer, but he committed a kind of financial suicide in Manchester at the weekend.

Turning his back on Sky Sports, the only big players in TV boxing in Britain, was not a smart move.

Sky had stood by Khan after he was knocked out in 54 seconds by Breidis Prescott.

He recovered from that setback to become a world champion and won a thriller in America against big punching Marcos Maidana.

But Khan and his team have to understand he is not yet a boxing superstar in the mould of a Ricky Hatton or Frank Bruno.

People are not going to fork out nearly £15 in pay-per-view money just to see him. They want a marquee fight and a good undercard.

That most definitely was not the case with Khan in a low-key homecoming on Saturday against Paul McCloskey – an Irishman with an unbeaten record but essentially not in Khan’s league (as was clear in the fight itself).

Sky decided the support bouts were not good enough and pulled the plug on their pay-per-view plans, instead offering a slot on the regular Sky Sports 3 channel.

But Khan’s team stormed to the lesser-known Primetime channel, who were charging £14.95 to watch the fight.

I have heard no audience figures but they cannot be anywhere near those enjoyed by Sky.

Khan must have taken a huge hit in his takings for this fight.

Indeed, those in the know reckon that Khan might well have earned next to nothing for this title defence because, as promoter, he had to pay the expenses of the promotion and McCloskey’s purse.

On the night, Khan dominated until a cut eye for the Irishman brought the action to a unsatisfactory controversial ending after six rounds, with the champion ahead on all cards and keeping the title.

With boos ringing around the arena in Manchester, this would have been another pay-per-view stinker to follow the David Haye v Audley Harrison farce.

Khan and his team have made costly mistakes here. They need to get a better grip on the economic realities of TV boxing.

As things stand, Sky will be in no hurry to sit down around the table with them again any time soon unless there is a peace deal.

And that might be a big fly in the ointment if Khan wants a unification fight with America’s Tim Bradley – unless HBO in America are going to finance it.