Amir Khan distinguishes himself from the field

By Coach Tim Walker - I didn't pick WBA light welterweight champion Amir Khan to beat Paul Malignaggi. I thought Malignaggi would fight better, differently and possibly more adept. I felt Khan, though talented, had not proven himself against the upper level fighters. I thought the experience of Malignaggi, coupled with a return to his speed and slickness, would serve him better. Plainly stated, Amir Khan is a much better boxer than I gave him credit for being.

Tonight we were treated to the rise of a new star. Over 11 rounds, minus a few bright spots here and there for Paulie, Khan dictated the pace and controlled this fight. His jab was faster.. His punches were harder. His moves and defense were more defined than Paulie's. Malignaggi's head movement was not crisp, his hands were low and his plan A was clearly not working. Each round was a carbon copy of the round before. Paulie did not change.

Early on Paulie attempted to put in some body work and did, in fact, land some solid shots. However, he paid a price to land those shots as Khan's strikes were more precise and much more powerful. A move to the outside did little to swing things Paulie's way. From distance there was an invariable speed distance. Paulie, known for his ability to take shots, weathered the storm for as long as he could until Steve Smoger put a halt to the fight at 1:25 of round 11.

With this win Khan did something that other Malignaggi conquerors had not. He distinguished himself from the field. When Paulie fought Miguel Cotto and Ricky Hatton they were both credible boxing figures. Khan, on the other hand, is the virtual upstart. The new kid on the block trying to make a name for himself in a new neighborhood. He was successful.

Before tonight the top players at 140 were Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander, followed by a few up and comers such as Marcos Rene Maidana, Lamont Peterson and Andriy Kotelnik among others. After tonight's performance against a solid, experienced pro Khan has firmly affixed his name next to Bradley and Alexander's. He still needs a little seasoning but he's definitely in the mix.

Khan is a special boxer. A strong, fast, special boxer. Congratulations to Amir Khan. Some fans may have known it already, but after your showing tonight, you can truly be added to the list of special fighters in the talented 140 division.

Coach Tim Walker is a contributing writer for and his own personal blog at welcomes comments. To suggest fighters for Monthly Stud and The Project please email I welcome questions or comments.

Article posted on 16.05.2010

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