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HBO rejects Khan’s choice of Witter, leads to McCloskey signing

By Sean McDaniel: HBO reportedly wasn’t interested in Amir Khan’s choice of fighting 37-year-old Junior Witter (37-3-2, 22 KO’s) on April 16th. With the Witter fight not doable for lack of HBO interest, Khan then moved on and went back to EBU light welterweight champion Paul McCloskey (22-0, 12 KO’s) to sign him up for the fight.

HBO accepted the 31-year-old McCloskey as a suitable opponent, even though very few American boxing fans have never seen him fight. HBO is counting on McCloskey’s unbeaten record as impressing fans, who are impressed with things like that. McCloskey hasn’t faced anyone really good and his record is inflated to say the least.

However, McCloskey is ranked #5 by the WBA if that means anything. In terms of talent, Witter is probably still a better fighter than McCloskey, but you don’t know what you’re going to get out of Witter because he hasn’t fought in the past 18 months and is coming off a serious training injury. The Khan-McCloskey will likely have a lot of action because McCloskey likes to come forward with his hands down by his sides. He gets hit a lot to the head because of his nasty habit of not keeping his guard up to protect himself.

Against the marginal opponents he’s been facing during his career, it hasn’t matter because no one has much speed, power or talent to really put McCloskey in danger. He’s been fighting European opposition his entire career and Khan will be a tremendous step up in class for McCloskey. We could very well be seeing another Khan vs. Dmitri Salita fight. Salita was ranked #1 by the WBA two years ago as Khan’s mandatory challenger.

However, because Salita, like McCloskey, had never fought a world class opponent before, his ranking was an odd one. Khan went out and stopped Salita in the 1st round, knocking him down three times before the one-sided fight was eventually stopped. We could be seeing a similar fight here because McCloskey is even easier to hit than Salita because of his style of fighting with his hands hanging down by his sides.

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