Heroes come in many different forms. There are our firefighters, who rush into blazing buildings and risk their own lives to save others. There are our military, who fight for our freedom in distant lands.
And there are sports stars who score a dramatic last-second victory to win the big game or secure another championship.
Amir Khan has won an Olympic medal and multiple world championships, and he was proclaimed a hero many times over for those feats. Never, though, did Khan perform a more heroic act than he did for his country on Wednesday.
The British boxer donated a 60,000-square foot building he is developing to the National Health Service in the United Kingdom to aid in the fight against the coronavirus.
Khan is developing the building as a wedding hall, but he didn’t hesitate when he saw the need for more hospital beds. The building already has electricity, so not much work will be needed to retrofit it for the government’s use.
“This is a very serious situation here and everybody has to pitch in to do their part,” Khan told Yahoo Sports during a FaceTime call. “This country and the people have been great to me. They’ve supported me for so long and done so much for me. This is just the right thing to do.
“I’m able to do it and it just so happens that there is an urgent need, so I reached out and made the offer.”
Khan, who is 34-5 with 21 knockouts, said he plans to fight once or twice more before he retires.
“My family wants me to retire now,” he said, laughing.
Khan won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and won a world title at super lightweight. He fought a long list of tough opponents, including Canelo Alvarez, who is No. 1 on the Yahoo Sports pound-for-pound list, and Terence Crawford, who is No. 2. He has a win over Hall of Famer Marco Antonio Barrera.
He never got a chance to fight either Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao, the two most iconic fighters of his generation, both of whom were in his weight class. He sparred a lot with Pacquiao and fought Crawford last year.
He had a surprising response when asked who’d win a fight between them.
“Crawford, without a doubt,” Khan said. “He could fight off his front foot and his back foot and … he’s a very complete fighter.”
He said while one could make a case for either Alvarez or Crawford as the pound-for-pound best, he’d go with Crawford first and Alvarez second.
Those are opinion, and he may be right and of course he could be wrong.
But what is without doubt 100 percent correct is that he deserves to be lauded for his heroic action in stepping up when his country needed him most.
That’s the definition of a hero, and in this case, Amir Khan fits the bill as well as anyone.
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