by Chris Bertram on September 23, 2004

My head is clearly stuck some time in the 1970s, because “I just can’t understand this story”: :

bq. The Amateur Boxing Association is set to offer Amir Khan £70,000 a year, tax free, to stay in the amateur ranks. Khan has said he wants to remain an amateur with the ABA planning to make a formal offer to the Olympic silver medallist on Friday. …. [Lennox] Lewis said he did not subscribe to the view that Khan needed to turn pro to make the most of the commercial opportunities available. “There is a lot of amateur money out there,” said Lewis.




PG 09.24.04 at 12:04 am

Maybe he has a better chance at endorsements as an amateur than as a pro? My understanding is that the biggest money in sports today comes from endorsements, not actually playing the sport.


David Sucher 09.24.04 at 12:08 am

“There is a lot of amateur money out there,” said Lewis.”
And I don’t understand how either.


Jeff R. 09.24.04 at 12:09 am

I have to say I still seem to be just as stuck in the ’70s. In this context (or any other I can imagine), “Ameteur Money” is just as much of an oxymoron as “Jumbo Shrimp”, “Military Intelligence”, or “Redistributive Justice”.


David Sucher 09.24.04 at 12:17 am

“There is a lot of amateur money out there,” said Lewis.”
And I don’t understand how either.


dsquared 09.24.04 at 12:23 am

I am not at all sure how the ABA plan to offer sums as large as £70K “tax free”, and am dimly wondering if it might be worth my own while to take up boxing if there is some sort of dodge involved.


rea 09.24.04 at 2:43 am

Apparently you are consdered an amateur in boxing if you don’t fight for prize money, even if you are getting paid to be a boxer.

As to how they offer that money, “tax free,” I’m no expert on the UK tax system, but I suspect it’s possble to structure the transaction that way. DSquared, if you were to get a 70,000 pound grant to do an academic study of the economics of the wigit industry, would that be taxable income?


nick 09.24.04 at 5:36 am

‘Tax free’ means it’s a grant from the ABA and Sport England, akin to the Lottery grants that Olympic athletes receive in order to allow them to train rather than have to work to pay their expenses.

It’s worth remembering that Audley Harrison received a much more lucrative deal to turn pro (bankrolled by the BBC), even though his first ten fights were against people who appeared to have been picked out of London pubs.

Harrison’s fall from grace suggests that if Khan has any sense, he’ll stay within the amateur ranks.


Jack 09.24.04 at 10:11 am

But what about Lennox’s ascent ot the Pantheon?


des von bladet 09.24.04 at 11:04 am

This story also provoked much comment on BBC Radio Foopball (“Five”). But gaming the definition of “amateur” for sporting purposes is as Glorious a Historical and Cultual as our great nation has ever perpetrated – WG Grace wrote the book on it, and cricket was subsequently full of so-called “shamateurs”.

The major world power in amateur boxing is Cuba, of course, precisely because their boxers can’t turn professional at what they do for a living. Khan’s a talented kid, for sure, but I for one don’t begrudge him a chance to postpone the damage that the professional circuit intlicts on even its most talented participants.


dsquared 09.24.04 at 12:16 pm

I will stand a qualified defence of Audley H, btw; his first ten opponents under the BBC deal were not much worse in relative terms than the people that, say, Naseem Hamed was fighting at the same time; they were well-regarded palookas on the way down. It would have been insane for him to simply step into the ring with a good American, and it’s hadly his fault that he signed a good financial deal. I won’t defend Audley’s performance against said palookas, but he did learn from the experience and now appears to be a good fighter.

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