Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana will finally meet this Saturday for Khan’s light welterweight title. The fight can be seen live at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and will be televised by HBO starting at 9:30pm ET. The fight will be accompanied by an undercard bout featuring Victor Ortiz vs. Lamont Peterson.
Amir Khan vs. Marcos Maidana
Money Line: Khan -350; Maidana +250
WBA Light Welterweight Title
After winning the silver medal at the 2004 Olympics, Amir Khan turned professional in 2005 with great expectations. Khan (23-1, 17 KOs) seemed to be making good on his potential until he was ambushed by Breidis Prescott in 2008, getting knocked out in under a minute. The loss would give Khan the stigma of having a weak chin, a notion strengthened by the selection of his opponents post-Prescott. While Andreas Kotelnik, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Paulie Malignaggi either are or were good fighters, none carried a heavy enough fist to present any real danger to Amir Khan. Until Khan’s chin passes a real test, critics will always have a major gripe with the 24-year-old’s development.
If Amir Khan’s chin needs testing, Marcos Maidana has a PhD in chin-checking. Maidana (29-1, 27 KOs) has knocked out 90% of the opponents he has faced. His most notable KO came against another young prospect in Victor Ortiz. Maidana refused to go away in that fight and broke the will of Ortiz in the 6th round. Khan was rumored to be Maidana’s next opponent after the Ortiz win but it never happened, leading Maidana to accuse Khan of ducking him. While Maidana has the power to remove the luster from Khan’s glowing confidence, he must beware of the speed and precision of Khan. Maidana struggled in his last outing against DeMarcus Corley and if that same Maidana shows up, it will be an easy night for Amir Khan.
Corey Willinger: It would seem Amir Khan is out to make a statement in this fight. He’s finally decided to take on his mandatory challenger after receiving heavy criticism for fighting more boxers than punchers since being devastated at the hands of Breidis Prescott two years ago. In Maidana, Khan faces a heavy handed machine who doesn’t take a backward step. This will inevitably be Maidana’s undoing as he walks into more and more big shots from the slicker Khan, who will be at his best. There will be some nerve-racking moments for the British fans early on, but, in the end, expect to see Khan’s hand raised after turning in a performance that will have many ready to crown him king at 140 pounds. Khan by wide decision, 117-111, after dominating the later rounds when Maidana tires.
Paul Magno: There are questions about Khan’s chin; There are no questions about Maidana’s power. Maidana, if he connects flush, has the power to KO anyone at 140, but the question is whether he can solve the riddle of speed and defense. He struggled with the hand and foot speed of a very faded DeMarcus Corley and he will struggle mightily against Khan’s pure athleticism. While Maidana has only one road to victory, Khan has many. That will make the difference. If Khan chooses to box, Maidana will forever be on the outside, losing round after round. If Khan chooses to engage, his hand speed will make all the difference. There’s always a chance of an out-of-the-blue KO punch from Maidana, but counting on something like that is like counting on the lottery to pay your light bill. Khan will win, probably in a one-sided bout that will push Maidana down to where he belongs, on the fringes of the Top 10.
Trent: Anytime a personal rivalry makes its way into a fight, things become just a little more enjoyable. Maidana and Khan do not like each other and it makes this Saturday’s fight that much more intriguing. Classic power vs. speed matchup and the Maidana that showed up against Corley worries me. I think Khan does a great job of boxing against Maidana and gets an easy decision victory. He may not quiet his critics about his chin, because I think he will avoid Maidana’s big shots, but he will leave Vegas with the victory and be one step closer to light welterweight supremecy.