Like Prince Naseem Hamed a couple of years back, Amir Khan will make his debut on American soil at the Mecca of Boxing, Madison Square Garden in New York. Amir is a British born Pakistani. Like Naseem, Amir has huge hype surrounding him. Signed with Golden Boy they are banking on him becoming a big star. His opponent will be Brooklyn’s own Paulie Malignaggi who recently defeated the popular Juan “Baby Bull” Diaz. Not known for is power, he relies on speed and ring generalship.
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Paulie was at the Garden when Naseem made his debut and after that fight influenced him to become a prize-fighter. Myself, I was watching at home and at that time knew little about the lighter weights of boxing. All I knew was Mike Tyson and a couple other heavies. I was the “casual fan”. The Prince Naseem vs. Kevin Kelley fight was electric with numerous knockdowns, Oh, the entrance wasn’t bad either. But it was the first time that I realized watching a fight at a lower weight class could be as exciting as watching two heavyweights go at it. From that point on I was hooked. Every Prince fight was a must watch. He played the villain perfectly and the public wanted to see him lose. He eventually did lose and wasn’t heard from in America since then.
Amir Khan doesn’t have the same persona as Naseem, much less cocky and brash, he is respectful and seems like a nice guy. His opponent Paulie Malignaggi is the brash and cocky one and will step into the villain’s shoes. This will be sort of like the role reversal of Naz and Kelley. Kelly was a good fighter that never became a superstar because he was a “nice guy” and in America nice guys rarely become superstars in boxing. They want their boxing stars to talk some shit. Paulie talks a ton of shit. However he has yet to become the superstar he wants to be because he only has 5 KOS. I forgot to mention America likes their boxing stars to talk shit and knock people out. When you watch a Paulie Malignaggi fight you are guaranteed to see 12 rounds. Does it make him a boring fighter? I don’t think so. Many of his fights have been entertaining. He plays to the crowd well and showboats which keeps the audience’s attention during the lulls of the fight.
However, American audiences in general want knockouts and sometimes overlook the sweet science. Hence why Manny Pacquiao is so popular and Floyd Mayweather Jr. gets criticized for everything he does. So what should audiences expect on fight night when Amir Khan and Paulie step in the ring? They probably won’t get the fireworks like the Naz-Kelley fight years ago but they will get an entertaining fight nonetheless. Paulie has a lot of other attributes that can give anyone problems. Critics will say that Amir is taking the safe route by fighting a pillow puncher. They ignore the fact that Paulie has a lot of heart, great chin and good speed.
When this fight was made I was even more excited than the Pacquiao-Clottey, Floyd Mayweather- Shane Mosely fights because this bout will feature the hungrier fighters. Amir will look to make his mark in the U.S. by giving an electric performance like Naseem a few years back. Paulie knows he needs to win, as a fighter with 5 KOs, he won’t get too many chances on the big stage if he doesn’t. Fans are always complaining about the price of PPV’s but on May 15 you will get to see not one but two great fights for free on HBO as Victor Ortiz squares off against Nate Campbell on the undercard. I can’t wait!
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