By Scott Heritage
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Frank Warren, promoter of current rising star Amir Khan, has confirmed that the WBA has ordered that the belt be defended against Marcos Maidana.
The hard hitting Argentinean currently holds a record of 27-1, with his sole loss being against former Khan victim Andriy Kotelnik. That was also the only time Maidana has gone the distance, which is something that Khan should be fully able to exploit.
The biggest reason for Khan to accept the fight against Maidana is simply because everyone thinks he wont. Maidana is a big puncher and a dangerous opponent for anyone at light welterweight. In fact in most ranking systems he is actually above Khan in the rankings, so the fight would help him in that respect as well.
If Khan and his team decide to vacate the belt instead of facing Maidana, then many will see it as Amir being protected long after he should be ready for any other light welterweight out there. The trouble is there is a fine balance between losses like Breidis Prescott and blowout wins like the Dimitriy Salita fight, and which side of the line Maidana and others will fall isn’t a sure thing. Undoubtedly Khan has the skills to outwork Maidana and either stop him or take a dominant decision. At the same time Maidana has the kind of knockout power to give anyone trouble.
The reason that will no doubt be given should Khan vacate is that there are bigger money fights out there for him. Maidana, despite his record and undoubtedly exciting style isn’t a big name to those outside boxing. A bout against the feather fisted verbal pugilist Paulie Malignaggi for example would be a lot easier to build up and would make Khan a lot more money. Malignaggi is also a genuine top ten opponent, so people couldn’t really say Khan was ducking top competition. There is also the fact that Paulie doesn’t have a big punch as well, which is seemingly Khan’s only weakness.
What could decide who Khan fights next more than anything else though is which promoter he signs with in the near future. Golden Boy is the favorite, although there are several big names in the running. Maidana is also a Golden Boy fighter, which begs the question as to whether Golden Boy would want the pair to fight, or would rather keep them separated and beating on other promoter’s fighters for now.
Scott Heritage’s Web Site: http://www.examiner.com/x-20066-Pittsburgh-Fight-Sports-Examiner