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Khan’s next opponent McCloskey very similar to Malignaggi, only slower and more hittable

By Jason Kim: WBA light welterweight champion Amir Khan (24-1, 17 KO’s) has picked out his next opponent for his April 16th fight at the M.E.N. Arena, in Manchester, England. Khan, 24, will be facing Irish light welterweight Paul McCloskey (22-0, 12 KO’s), a fighter well known among UK boxing fans but is mystery to boxing fans in the United States.

Before choosing the 31-year-old McCloskey, Khan considered facing 37-year-old Junior Witter and Lamont Peterson. However, Khan went back to McCloskey opted to face him. Witter and Peterson would likely be tougher fights for Khan, because they both have better hand speed and power than McCloskey.

In looking at McCloskey’s fights, he reminds one of a slower version of Malignaggi, but without the defensive skills that Malignaggi has going for him. McCloskey’s not as fast as Malignaggi in terms of hand speed, but looks to punch with the same amount of power. In other words, McCloskey can’t punch. Obviously, McCloskey was selected exactly for these reasons.

McCloskey, 5’8” and Malignaggi are both about the same height and reach. Khan did very well against the small, light hitting Malignaggi in a 11th round TKO win last year in May. Given that McCloskey is slower, and more hittable than Malignaggi, it should be an easy fight for Khan to win and look good in for his fans and for American boxing fans not familiar with him.

Ideally, Khan would be better off facing someone with more hand speed and power compared to McCloskey, but with the punishment that Khan took in his last fight against Marcos Maidana, he and his management obviously don’t want to take any chances that he might get knocked out before he gets his big money fight against WBC/WBO light welterweight champion Timothy Bradley later in 2011. Khan wants to win the Bradley fight and then quickly move up to the welterweight division to try and entice Floyd Mayweather Jr. into fighting him. Khan may move up for nothing and find himself facing dangerous punchers at that weight unless he chooses beatable opponents as wisely as he selected McCloskey.

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