Why McCloskey "Khan't" beat Amir

By Colman Corrigan: Underestimating opponents is something many fighters say they never dream of, they still train as hard as ever and are taking the fight very seriously according to their team. But at the back of fighters minds, their can always be that little doubt in their mind, that little margin of error where they feel they can take their foot off the gas. Instead of one hundred sit ups its ninety five.

Jogging the last fifty metres when they should be sprinting. In some cases it doesn't make a difference. The natural talent of the fighter can get them through unscathed and the banana skin has been avoided. However this isn't always the case, taking opponents lightly can be a dangerous business. Ask a certain Amir Khan about underestimating opponents. Lying flat on his back as rangy Colombian knock out artist Breidis Prescott towered over him in a stunned MEN arena, Khan was at rock bottom. Blessed with an awesome array of attacking talent, defence was neglected in the training camp and not enough respect was shown to a man who made sure the judges scorecards were never viewed in his fights.

That defeat most certainly changed Amir Khan, not only as a boxer, but a man. He got away from his comfort zone in Bolton and went over to the lions den in Freddie Roach's wild card gym in LA. His defence was sharpened up, the training was harder, lifestyle was tougher, and the rest as they say, is history.

Fast forward to his bout with Paul McCloskey tonight and Amir most certainly will not have a repeat performance of that nightmare in the MEN back in 2008. As good as McCloskey is, i cant see him beating Amir. The speed which Amir brings to the table is on a whole other level to the Dungiven native. Not that McCloskey is a slouch either, he wings in shots from unorthodox angles and definitely carries a bit of pop in his punches as well. But what must be remembered in this fight is Paul is a counterpuncher, he is happy to box of the back foot and has been extremely successful at doing so at European level. But Khan is a world class fighter, and in Khan, we are looking at without a doubt one of the fastest fighters in the sport, no doubt. His hand speed is akin to that of Pacquiao and Mayweather, if not faster. I highly doubt if McCloskey can counter someone who punches with such velocity.

So what happens when McCloskey can't counter, He is forced out of his comfort zone and will have to try and press the fight, something i cannot see him doing well as Amir is an extremely busy fighter who always manages to outwork opponents for the majority of the rounds.

Something I've heard a lot in the build up to this fight is that Khan won't struggle with the southpaw stance because he constantly spars Manny Pacquiao, viewed by many as the greatest southpaw ever. Trust me, McCloskey is a whole new ball game. Manny Pacquiao, as good as he is, can be hit due to the very nature of his all action style. McCloskey is different, he is the quintessential awkward southpaw, he is a leaner, a mover, throws awkward punches, and is comfortable on the back foot. Expect a lot of clinches as Amir rushes in and Paul will aim to negate Amir by leaning to the side and slowing the pace of the fight. McCloskey will cause problems Khan problems in the early stages as he will be the most unorthodox awkward opponent "King" Khan has faced, However when Amir starts to find his range, and trust me he WILL find his range, i fear for McCloskey. Not due to power, but the volume of punches he may be forced to take, especially with those low hands.

Paul McCloskey is a magnificent fighter and one of the most stylish fighters in the sport without a doubt. People are writing him off without even looking at his pedigree. An undefeated fighter must be taken seriously, Amir Khan can vouch for that one. But i see Khan prevailing. This kid is one of the most exciting fighters in the sport and will be aiming to put on a show in his homecoming tonight. Amir is no knockout artist so i see a points victory to Amir, however not without a few scares from the awkward Irishman.

Article posted on 17.04.2011

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