A look ahead to Amir Khan's WBA light-welterweight title defence against the dangerously heavy handed Marcos Maidana.
By Graeme Bradley
Amir Khan is set to defend his WBA light-welterweight title against Argentinean Marcos Maidana on Saturday in Las Vegas. The bout will be Khan’s second in the US and possibly one of the toughest fights of his career so far.
The Bolton boxer has made a name for himself stateside after outclassing New York favourite Paulie Malignaggi at Madison Square Garden back in May in what was his first fight under new promoters Golden Boy. The 11th round technical knockout victory launched a new chapter of Khan’s career but he will have to pull off a first class performance if the story is to continue beyond the clash with the heavy handed Maidana.
The 27-year-old Maidana is the reigning WBA interim champion and the mandatory challenger for Khan’s world title. With the light-welterweight division packed full to the brim with world class fighters, Maidana is certainly the banger of the bunch having stopped 27 boxers from 29 victories – 22 of which have came within the first three rounds.
The knockout artist certainly poses a threat to Khan, who has struggled to shake off his glass chin reputation after being comprehensively knocked out by Breidis Prescott two years ago, and will certainly have a punchers chance over his English opponent.
Maidana’s only loss came from then-WBA champion Andrei Kotelnik when the Germany-based Ukrainian won a controversial split decision in Hamburg last year. Kotelnik lost the title in his next fight when he travelled to Manchester to face Khan, who outboxed the champion and claimed his first world title with a definitive unanimous decision.
Since their contrasting battle with Kotelnik, Maidana has been the busier of the two in the ring beginning with a sixth round TKO over highly touted contender ‘Vicious’ Victor Ortiz. Maidana was dropped three times by Ortiz but came back to drop his young opponent twice before the referee intervened. He also knocked out William Gonzalez in three rounds, Victor Cayo in six and fought to 12-round decision win against former world champion DeMarcus Corley.
Khan meanwhile faced the little known New Yorker Dmitriy Salita, who had managed to accumulate a 31-0 record without ever fighting any class of opponent. Salita lasted just 72 seconds in front of a hostile crowd at Newcastle’s Metro Arena. A switch of promoter next for Khan, who left a bitter and furious Frank Warren to begin his US career with Golden Boy. He got their relationship of to a successful start with the 11th round victory against Malignaggi.
Khan and his trainer Freddie Roach are confident they have come up with a gameplan to beat Maidana and evade his devastating punches. Khan certainly is the sharper, more talented boxer of the two and if he can remain patient, keep his distance and work from behind a strong jab he should be able to wear down the man they call ‘El Chino’. However, you can never rule out a fighter who can finish opponents with one punch and so Khan must be focussed throughout the fight if he is to emerge victorious and continue on with his American dream.