Khan vs. Malignaggi: Is Paulie Safe Enough for the Glass-Jawed Amir?
By Chris Williams: WBA light welterweight champion Amir Khan (21-1, 15 KO’s) needs an opponent for his next fight, which Khan would like to take place in the United States so that he could raise his image there. Khan needed look any further than former IBF light welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi, whose stock has increased despite losing a controversial 12 round decision to Juan Diaz this past weekend in Houston, Texas.
Malignaggi fought his heart out in the bout and rallied in the second half of the fight to make it very close at the end of the fight. I personally had the fight scored a draw, but I can see how boxing fans would be infuriated that Diaz was handed a decision by the judges.
Khan, 22, is riding high right now himself following his 12 round decision victory over Andriy Kotelnik in July to capture Andriy’s WBA title. Khan badly needs a big named opponent to make a name for himself in the U.S., but Amir can ill afford to be matched against a big puncher or skilled light welterweight that might expose Khan’s glass chin in the way that he was in a 1st round knockout loss to Breidis Prescott last year.
That’s the problem. Khan’s fragile chin likely wouldn’t hold up to the pounding of hard hitting light welterweights like Victor Ortiz, Marcos Maidana, Randall Bailey and Ricardo Torres. So if Khan wants to make a name for himself in the U.S, he’s probably going to have to be a little more calculated in how he goes about doing this.
The lucky thing for Khan is that many Americans only have a passing knowledge about boxing and probably would give Khan a free pass against a C or D level fighter that his promoter would dig up for him. However, the U.S. cable networks wouldn’t be pleased if Khan elects to fight a stiff and probably wouldn’t bother showing the fight to U.S. audiences.
This is why Khan needs to make a move by going after Malignaggi right now. Malignaggi is popular right now, as I said, and he probably can’t punch his way out of a wet paper bag, which is perfect for the tender-chinned Khan. He probably would be knocked cold by a big power puncher like the aforementioned Maidana, Ortiz, Bailey, Torres and Prescott, so Khan needs to go after the weakest puncher available with a name.
That would appear to be Malignaggi. Khan probably won’t have to worry about competition from Juan Diaz, because he looks like he’s satisfied with his controversial victory and is interested in taking on the winner of the Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Floyd Mayweather Jr. bout next month.
Diaz stands to make much more money against one of those fighters than in a rematch with Malignaggi. Khan doesn’t have many other options available for him right now, because most of the other top 15 light welterweights have too much power for him and would be too dangerous for the risk. Besides that, none of them have the name that Malignaggi does right now.