Thursday, 9 October 2008
A "glass chin" simply refers to a boxer's inability to tolerate physical trauma to the face without getting knocked out. While there are various theories about why a boxer has a glass chin (weak neck, questionable mind-frame, slight legs), there has been virtual unanimity about the lack of its cure. "You can't train a chin", says Angelo Dundee, famed trainer of Muhammad Ali. You can pump iron, run marathons, spar with many partners, but you can't improve your chin- you are born with it.
Some great boxers like Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko were reputed to have glass chins and the reputation stayed with them. Others like heavy weight Oliver McCall became famous for taking punishment but never falling. So the biggest mystery in boxing has been, can you ever improve a glass chin?
Well, we are about to find out the answer. British hope Amir Khan, carefully stringing together an 18-0 record for an assault on the light weight title, recently confirmed fears about his "glass chin" when he was knocked out in 54 seconds by Colombian Breidis Prescott (video). At risk are the millions he and his promoters were set to earn from his success. So his new trainer, in a controversial move, is taking him to Los Angeles to put him through "martial arts techniques" that will "deaden the nerves on the jaw". Good luck! There are martial arts techniques using blows to shins and feet and to the body to toughen them up. Are they going to beat his chin with a stick?
It might be more useful to work on Khan's defense techniques, make him more conservative in his style so he's not exposing and leaving himself vulnerable to sucker punches. It is the sudden acceleration and rotation of the head that causes a disconnect in the brain, according to research I've done on the internet in the last 30 minutes. The ability to absorb that is neurological and seems something you are born with, or without. Maybe Khan's trainers need to spend time researching on the world wide web, instead of in a gym in Los Angeles.