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Khan-Maidana: Will Amir’s chin hold together against Marcos?

Amir Khan Marcos Rene MaidanaBy William Mackay: Unless I hear otherwise, I’m assuming that World Boxing Association light welterweight champion Amir Khan will be defending his title next against WBA light welterweight interim champion Marcos Maidana. Khan, 23, had done a great job of turning his career around since being blasted out in one round by Breidis Prescott in 2008. Khan has picked up a new trainer with Freddie Roach, changed his fighting style, selected the perfect opponents to fight, and made a lot of boxing fans believe in him again. The real test now is whether Khan’s chin can hold up under the bombardment from Maidana’s huge shots in the their fight.

Khan hasn’t faced a puncher like Maidana before during his career. Prescott had good power, but he doesn’t have the same kind of huge power that Maidana has with every punch. If you’d have matched lightweight Kevin Mitchell against a brutal slugger like Maidana, I have little doubts that Maidana would steamroll over Mitchell in no time, even if Mitchell chose to run all night long.

You could say that Khan isn’t the same fighter he was when he fought Prescott, and that would be true. Khan looks totally different compared to then. He mixes it up much less than he did then, and puts more emphasis on using his jab and moving to stay away from trouble. Losing his ‘0’ was actually a good thing for Khan, because it made him realize that he can’t go out slugging with all of his opponents and has to focus more on his defense.

On paper, Maidana would seem to be tailor made for Khan. Maidana has little hand speed and is somewhat wild with his shots. Maidana doesn’t move well, and has short arms. He punches like an ox, but he can be out-maneuvered by his opponents. Andriy Kotelnik did a great job of neutralizing Maidana’s power in their fight in February 2009. Although I think Maidana was the recipient of a bad decision and should have won the fight in my view, Kotelnik was able to keep Maidana safely on the outside for most of the fight.

Khan will have to do this otherwise Maidana will knock him out. Khan can’t beat Maidana by standing in front of him and trying to trade. Maidana would catch with one of his shots and spark him out. However, if Khan can use lateral movements and focus on landing one shot at a time, he can probably beat Maidana.

I say probably because Maidana has the kind of power that can end a fight at any time in the fight. Khan is a fighter that doesn’t have the best of chins, and because of that he will be in constant danger against Maidana. Khan took more punches than was necessary in his fight against Kotelnik. It looked as if Khan got tired after moving a lot in the fight and tried to punch with Kotelnik at times. If Khan does this against Maidana, I see the fight ending quickly. Roach needs to have Khan working hard on a large sprinting track during training and focus on building up his running skills, because if Maidana catches him with a shot, Khan can say goodbye to his WBA title.

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