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Khan, Maidana – Post Fight Overview

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By Matt Gaunt

12 - 12 - 2010

Saturday night Khanage at the Mandalay Bay Resort

There are not enough superlatives to describe the epic battle that occurred last night between WBA Light Welterweight Champion Amir Khan and WBA Interim Champion Marcos Rene Maidana. The atmosphere was electric and the crowd were fantastic. Even better when you consider that neither of the protagonists are Americans.

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Vegas expected and they delivered. The promotional banners of Thunder versus Lightning did not do either Khan or Maidana justice. For once this was a fight that exceeded all expectations.

This writer had predicted a tense but one sided affair with Khan electing to box at range and look to break Maidana down around the 9th round. Nobody expected Khan to wage war with Maidana the way he did. But that wasn’t all down to Khan. Maidana had a lot to do with making this a pugilistic spectacle for fight fans around the world.

Both fighters come out of this fight with a huge amount of credit. Maidana for showing unbelievable heart in getting up from one of the best body shots you will ever see and Khan for taking everything that Maidana threw. I am convinced had there been another 30 seconds in the 1st round Maidana would have been stopped.

I had Khan 50 – 44 up (Taking 4 of the first 5 rounds – Sharing the 4th with Maidana) on account of the knockdown in round 1 and the point deduction in round 5. At this point I was convinced my prediction of a late rounds stoppage was inevitable. As Khan gave the slow footed Maidana a boxing lesson.

However teak tough Maidana had other ideas and began to press Khan from the 6th round and had considerable success in the 7th. Khan battled back in the 8th and 9th rounds using his quick hands and superior mobility.

I was thinking that my late rounds stoppage was going to be realised. But not in the way I had anticipated. Maidana tagged Khan with a huge sweeping right hand and Khan’s legs buckled. But this wasn’t the 22 year old boy that fell to Prescott. Khan refused to hold or spoil. Tucking up and when possible moving back as Maidana bombarded him power shots from either hand. In particular a vicious right uppercut found the target with amazing regularity. For the best part of 90 seconds Khan weathered the assault. With the bell ringing Khan returned to his corner on unsteady legs. At this point I had Khan up 96 – 92 with Maidana coming on like a freight train (I scored the 10th round 10 – 8 to Maidana).

Out for the 11th Khan looked tired with the scars of battle showing, blood streaming down from his nose, but his legs looked like the strength was returning. Incredibly he was digging into reserves that nobody thought he had. Getting off with crisp shots, in particularly 2 great right hands that steadied Maidana. The Vegas crowd were going wild as the fight was swinging one way then another.

Final round and Khan just needed to stay on his feet. Despite getting tagged and hurt he came back in the last 30 seconds with blurring combinations to press home the point that he had finally arrived in the big time. Securing his best career win to date.

Maidana took the final round and I had Khan up 115 – 111 in what has to be one of the fights of the year.

Official score cards all read for Khan: 114-111; 114-111 & 113-112

Post fight interviews tell you a lot and Khan who moves 24 – 1 (17 KO’s) was buoyed by the fact that he had proven to the doubting public and press that he doesn’t have a suspect chin. We know he has a good chin after this fight, but more importantly Khan now knows he has a good chin.

Maidana who is now 29 – 2 (27 KO’s) was bitterly disappointed in losing the fight and did not appear to relish a return at some point in the future. For me I am definitely a new member of the Maidana fan club. There aren’t many fighters in the game today as tough as El Chino and as limited as he may be technically. He has the heart of a lion and unbelievable determination. Oh and one final thing, don’t let anybody tell you that Maidana’s power is over rated.

I was a fan of Khans before this fight and that hasn’t changed. I’m sure that continued work with Freddie Roach will address some of the errors that Khan made and he will improve from this fight. He will always be susceptible to being hurt by decent punchers, but he now knows what it takes to come through a crisis at the highest level. Still only 24 he is going to get stronger and I am convinced that in terms of technical ability. Outside of Mayweather and Pacquiao there isn’t a man that could outbox him over 12 rounds. Give him 12 months and 3 decent opponents and he just maybe ready to take on the elite.

Khan he do it….? Maybe, just maybe.