Marquez Out, Malignaggi Likely In For Khan's Next Fight

Malignaggi vs Khanby James Slater - It has been reported in a number of places how Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez will not now be facing reigning WBA light-welterweight champion Amir Khan on May 15th. Marquez, it has also been reported, was interested in the fight, yet either changed or had his mind changed and withdrew this week (ace trainer Nacho Beristan reportedly advised his fighter not to take the fight, Khan's debut in America).

So now, as Khan has told the BBC, he and his team are hoping it will be Paulie Malignaggi who is on the other side of the ring - in Madison Square Garden on May 15th. Malignaggi's people have definitely been contacted, and now we must wait and see whether or not the recently rejuvenated "Magic Man" is interested in the fight. Khan certainly feels the slick boxer who is coming off a clear points win over Juan Diaz WILL opt to fight him next..

"We were looking at Marquez, who pulled out, so it's Malignaggi up to now," Khan told BBC. "Golden Boy have put the fight to his promoter, Lou DiBella, so we will see where we go from here. I want to fight him in his home town (Paulie, of course, is a New Yorker) and beat him in front of his own people.

"The fight has not been made a 100-percent yet but I think there is a very good chance of it happening."

Malignaggi, in the past, has spoken of his desire to fight Khan, and I would be surprised if the match-up is not made now that Marquez is out. Barring any "crazy" demands of Malignaggi, contract-wise, the former IBF 140-pound ruler will surely see the fight as a great opportunity. And though fans would likely have preferred to see Khan-Marquez as was the original plan, this second choice is also an intriguing fight.

Khan is confident of victory, and much has been made of how Malignaggi lacks power; therefore he is seen as a relatively "safe" opponent for the less than rock-chinned 23-year-old. But knocking Khan out aside, isn't there a chance Malignaggi could out-box Khan? Fast, naturally gifted and blessed with a great chin and lots of heart, Malignaggi is nobody's pushover, and Khan will, in my opinion, be making a mistake if he rates Malignaggi on his loss to Ricky Hatton only.

Blaming then-trainer Buddy McGirt for reducing his overall ability as a fighter when going into the Hatton fight, Malignaggi feels he was no way near his best in the November 2008 fight with Hatton. Khan, if he does face Malignaggi next, should get out copies of his two fights with Diaz, so as to see what he will face in May.

Khan and especially Freddie Roach will surely do their homework if the fight gets the green light, but right now Khan has gone as far as to claim the New Yorker is "not on his level."

"When it does happen, I'm just going to go in there and do what I normally do and I really think Malignaggi has a style which is going to make me look good," Khan said. "He's not at my level. He's had a few good wins in America, but it's another fight for me and I'll go there and do what I have to do."

While I would make Khan the favourite to win, no way would I agree with him when he says the former IBF champion is not on his level. I think we had better get ready for a chess match type affair if this fight happens, and I in no way see a quick win for Khan; if that's what he's thinking himself.

However, what a sensational U.S debut it will be for Khan if he CAN get Malignaggi out of there quickly and in style!

Article posted on 12.02.2010

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