Amir Khan to hand out a masterclass?
By Stuart Young - Amir Khan (W22 L1 18 KO's) makes his American debut this Saturday night, May 15th, at the Mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden, where he headlines & hopes to make the second successful defence of his WBA light welterweight crown he won when convincingly outpointing tough Ukrainian Andriy Kotelnik back in July of last year.
Article posted on 13.05.2010
Standing across the ring in local & familiar surroundings his opponent will be looking to derail the Khan express train & win himself a second world title to propel himself back to boxing's big time is former IBF light welterweight champion, New York's very own Paulie Malignaggi (W27 L3 5 KO's)..
Now both the introductions & pleasantries are over, it's time to get down to business.
Call me cynical if you will, but if YOU were Khan's promoter or manager & was asked to draw up a prototype of the perfect fighter for your new cash cow to formally announce himself to America's boxing establishment Live on a primetime HBO viewing slot, then you would probably end up constructing a fighter very much in the ilk of Paulie Malignaggi.
As it happens, nature has already dealt us that hand, so you don't need to bother.
Let me elaborate further as to why I view Paulie Malignaggi as such an ideal opponent:-
1) He's American - check!
2) He's well known to the New York (MSG) fight fraternity - check!
3) He carries so little power that he would struggle to break an egg - check!
4) He talks a good game & so can help promote & sell the fight - check!
5) He's pretty durable, so he should at least be capable of going a few rounds - check!
6) He possesses nowhere near the speed of Amir Khan - check!
7) Or indeed the boxing ability - check!
8) He has a tendency to drop his hands frequently in bouts, at times virtually offering no defence - check!
9) He has no right hand, or at least refuses to throw it anywhere near often enough to be a genuine threat - check!
10) He likes to attack, despite his lack of power, which makes for an open fight which in turn, will enable the quicker, younger & more agile Khan to tattoo Malignaggi's face with hooks, counters & combinations for however long the bout lasts - check!
Oh - I almost forgot to mention that Malignaggi is best known on this side of the pond (Britain) for being completely schooled by an arguably shot version of that well known boxing 'slickster' Ricky Hatton - check! (Never though I'd put them words in the same sentence)
Well, there you have it, congratulations must go to both Freddie Roach & Goldenboy Promotions on a wonderful piece of boxing matchmaking, what isn't so commendable is the fact most fans prefer to actually watch competitive fights!
Talk of Khan's fragile chin has been well documented so I'm not going to go over old ground here & repeat what most readers already know, although admittedly this is the single area of Paulie Malignaggi's game where he's vastly superior to Amir Khan, unfortunately for Malignaggi with his lack of punching power this will only help in prolonging the severity of the beating he will undoubtedly take between those famous old ropes come fight night.
Without getting too 'deep' on a boxing website & risking sounding like an amateur psychologist, I believe Malignaggi already has the mindset/mentality of a 'opponent' rather than that of a champion. Always the bridesmaid & never the bride, Malignaggi is basically there to make up the numbers this Saturday night, the part he has been chosen to play is one of chief support in making sure Khan looks a million dollars to the American press section & his new paymasters at Goldenboy Promotions.
Malignaggi, at best is nothing more than gatekeeper for the division & certainly a lies few notches below the elite world class operators.
For all his brash talk this week you have to question whether HE actually believes half of what he says.
Does he truly believe he can win this fight?
Or is he trying his best to convince himself he belongs at this level?
We will find out soon enough, but I suspect, deep down he already knows the answer to both these questions. Could this be the reason why he got absolutely beaten to a swollen & bloody pulp by Miguel Cotto or froze like a dear in headlights when meekly surrendering a 'golden ticket' opportunity against a faded Ricky Hatton?
The truth of the matter is, Malignaggi is an extremely brave fighter but ultimately flawed & limited at holding his own in this kind of competition.
Could anyone hand on heart honestly see him winning a bout against Timothy Bradley or Devon Alexander? Or maybe a Ortiz or Maidana? I'd go even further & say he would be up to his neck in the brown stuff competing with fighters such as Holt, Campbell, Witter, Kotelnik, Peterson, McCloskey & Juan Urango.
Khan is rightly the heavy betting favourite for this bout & I wouldn't be surprised in the slightest if Khan were to pitch a complete shut out come fight night & win every round on the judges scorecards - presuming Malignaggi manages to last that far of course.
In fact, to go out on a limb even further, I could see a scenario where Khan could win every minute of every round. Khan has it within himself if he brings his A-game to achieve such a feat & turn Paulie Malignaggi into walking punchbag much like Joe Calzaghe did with Jeff Lacy.
Letís get things straight, some people may think I'm being a little harsh here & may have some kind of a personal vendetta against Paulie Malignaggi, but I can assure you that is not the case. As a person as I have never met or spoken with him but as a fan of the sport I have read countless interviews & watched various programs on him & he genuinely comes across as a nice guy, one of boxingís good guys if you will. I am writing this article purely based on giving my opinion as a writer & fan, calling the fight as I see it going.
I fear it will be a long, painful night for Malignaggi when he steps into the ring Saturday night as Khan will hand him a boxing masterclass, possibly stopping him in the second half of the fight - I hate to say it about a world title fight but I truly believe the difference between these two fighters are as extreme as night & day.
If Malignaggi surprises me Saturday night, reads this article & uses it as extra motivation to prove me wrong I will the first to congratulate him on what will be his greatest victory of his career & I will help myself to a large slice of humble pie - but I somehow doubt it & to borrow a famous line from Don King.
"He has two chances, slim & none & slim is out of town!"
As always - may the best man win.
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