Maidana is beatable, but Khan might not have the chin to do it
By Jason Kim: In some ways, the December 11th match-up between World Boxing Association light welterweight champion Amir Khan (23-1, 17 KO’s) and WBA light welterweight interim champion Marcos Maidana (29-1, 27 KO’s) reminds me of the classic fight between Muhammad Ali and a young and powerful George Foreman. In that fight, which took place in 1974, Ali was able to take Foreman’s biggest shots and wear him down and stop him in the 8th round. However, Ali was able to take a number of huge shots from Foreman in that fight without going down like many of Foreman’s previous opponents had done when hit hard by him.
The question with Khan is whether he can any of Maidana’s shots and wear him down and take him out. Khan can punch pretty well himself. He may not hit as hard as the powerful Maidana, but he is dangerous when he’s loading up on his punches. If Khan does load up on his shots against Maidana, he’s going to be taking a huge risk because Maidana is going to be on top of Khan every second of this fight. I don’t that Khan win this fight by moving and just boxing Maidana. I don’t think that’s possible.
I’ve seen enough of Maidana’s fights to know that he cuts off the ring against fighters that run and Khan is going to get trapped along the ropes at some point in every round of the fight. It’s unavoidable. Freddie Roach, Khan’s trainer, is going to tell Khan to grab Maidana when he’s trapped. But Maidana punches really well when he’s being held or when he’s close to fighter. What this fight may come down is whether Khan has the chin to take Maidana’s huge shots and return fire enough to get him out of there. I don’t think Khan can last 12 rounds against Maidana.
If he can’t take him out, then Maidana will eventually hurt Khan and knock him out. I don’t think Khan, with his fragile chin, can last 12 rounds with Maidana loading up on every shot and trying to take Khan’s head off. Maidana is going to be punching even harder in this fight, knowing that Khan has a weak chin. If you don’t think that Maidana is going to be hitting Khan harder than he’s hit his other opponents in the past, you’re kidding yourself.
Maidana knows that he can a lot more money if he knocks Khan out and he’s not going to want to blow his big chance. The fight is going to take place at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, in Las Vegas, Nevada. This means that Maidana won’t have to face a huge pro-Khan audience at the fight. Indeed, Maidana may end up having more fans cheering for him in this fight than Khan. That, in turn, is going to energize Maidana even more.
He seems to fight even better when fans are screaming. Khan is going to have to figure out what he’s going to do to keep from getting knocked out. He can’t play a rope-a-dope like Ali, because that would require that Khan take a certain amount of punishment from Maidana. At the same time, Maidana is a better inside fighter than Foreman was. He’s pretty dangerous in close and if he can get that close to Khan, chances are high that he’ll knock him out.
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