WBA light-welterweight title bout
Champion Amir Khan (140) vs. Marcos Maidana (139)
Is it really just a year ago when Khan fought a nobody mandatory challenger in front of a barely interested Manchester crowd? Well he's a superstar now, coming out in the fight capital of the world to a huge reaction. If he can win this fight he'll move into P4P contention.
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Maidana lunges forward and Khan moves out of the way. Khan works the jab at the start. Khan circling Maidana but Maidana catches him with a big punch. Khan rides through the storm and goes back to working him over with the jab, bringing in the odd right hand. Khan puts together some fast combinations, showing tremendous handspeed. Khan looking good, making Maidana look slow. Maidana throwing but missing. Khan putting more tremendously fast combinations to the head of Maidana. Khan connects with several quick hooks to the body and Maidana crumples to the ground. WHAT A ROUND OF ACTION! Khan goes in for the kill but the bell saves Maidana. Wow. What a terrific start to the fight. 10-8 to Khan.
Khan putting together several fast combinations, Maidana counters with a left hand. Khan slips in a couple of short uppercuts and follows up with more shots to the body. Khan again hurts Maidana with a lighting combination that pushes Maidana up against the ropes and almost has the challenger down. Maidana lunges forward with a Hail Mary punch that misses. Khan goes back to the left hooks, that Maidana does his all to block. Another round for Khan, 20-17.
Maidana tries to walk down Khan but the champion is too fast to be trapped. Khan nails Maidana with a right hand and the challenger's leg wobbles. Khan follows up with an uppercut but misses with a wild overhand right. Maidana siezes on the opening to connect with a right hand that rocks the champion. Khan goes into defense mode with his guard up and his chin down, as Maidana desperately stalks him looking to put him away. Khan comes back with accurate combinations and good jabs. Khan needs to calm down and play it a bit more carefully. Khan puts together a final flurry at the end of the round but Maidana lands a straight that secures the round. Great round. 29-27.
Khan jumps in on Maidana as he was readjusting his shorts, using the opening to begin working over the challenger with fast combinations. Khan is showing tremendous poise in the ring being able to the work the angles and land telling punches almost at will. However a lapse in concentration is punished by Maidana who lands several hard uppercuts. Very close rounds but probably Khan's who leads 39-36 on our scorecard.
Khan is outboxing Maidana, with his movement and shot-selection just showing everyone that Khan is a cut above the power-puncher in terms of technical skill. Khan puts together several fast combinations that push Maidana back. Khan lands some particularly sweet straight rights to the head of Maidana. Maidana is penalised a point by the referee after throwing an errant elbow. This seems to demoralize Maidana, with Khan siezing the initative and doubling down on the superior offense, connecting with not just the jab but also excellent uppercuts and hooks. 49-44.
Maidana comes out swinging for the fences but Khan is able to box his way around these wild shots. Khan is showing trendous footwork and superior handspeed. Maidana connects with an uppercut and Khan is alternating between machismo and falling back. Maidana is looking to catch Khan while the champion is rocked, but Khan is able to avoid taking a telling blow. Maidana's eye is now a mess. Maidana's round. 58-54.
Maidana and Khan both connecting with jabs, Khan comes forward with a lightning combination, working the body over in an attempt to wear the challenger down. Maidana drops his hands and taunts Khan to trade on the inside, but they end up holding each other. Maidana is dragging Khan into his fight and Khan seems to be tiring. Maidana is having a lot of success with his uppercut and punches to the body, dominating the second half of the round. Khan is showing a surprisingly strong chin but he can't keep taking this punishment. 67-64.
Khan connects with some nice counter-punches. Khan has settled down, working Maidana over with his superior technique and speed. Khan is popping up with really nice jabs and straight rights. This is much better from Khan. Maidana looks tired and Khan is getting his punches off with ease. Khan showing a renewed spring in his step and finishes with an eyecatching fast combination. 77-73.
Maidana moves forward and comes close with a big uppercut. Khan's defense is tighter than in the middle of the fight. Khan comes back with ridiculously fast jabs and a fast combination visibly weakens Maidana. Khan boxing his way around Maidana, catching the challenger with an uppercut as Maidana falls to the canvas. Maidana tries to work the uppercut but Khan fires back with terrific fast combinations. 87-82.
Maidana takes a long time getting off his stool. Khan just circling around Maidana with terrific footwork, able to move in and land with lighting combinations. Maidana connects with a Hail Mary of a punch, an absolute moster of a chopping right hand. Khan is in real trouble and Maidana has came t0 life. Maidana is pouring forward, connecting with power punch after power punch. Khan is being bullied all over the ring by the slugger. Khan needs to hold and see out the round but Maidana won't let him. Khan seems close to being dropped and out several times but he just won't go down. Khan somehow is able to make out of the round but his legs look weak after taking a tremendous beating. No knockdown was scored but if that wasn't a 10-8 round then nothing is. 95-92.
Khan tries to touch gloves but Maidana has nothing of it. Maidana is pumped for this round, looking for the kill. Khan is on his bike and is on his bike in a big way. Khan has no strength in his legs, just trying to stay out of trouble. This is survival mode time for Khan. Khan slips in a brilliant uppercut and follows it up with a right hand. What a fight this is. Khan charges in with a big right hand.
Khan pours forward with more combinations. How is he doing this? So much for Brendis Prescott, so much for having a bad chin. This is the real Amir Khan. Maidana lands an uppercut in the final moments. Great stuff. 10-9 to Khan, 105-101.
Now they touch gloves. This is mission stay out of harm's way for Khan, and he shows his dedication to this all-important mission by holding onto Maidana whenever he gets the chance. Maidana is pouring forward with real desperation, even getting pulled up for blatant rabbit punches. Maidana searches for something to finish but Khan denies him the angles to get anything off clean. Khan sees out the round and surely has picked up a clear points victory. What a fight.
Fight of the Year, just has to be. I have it 114-111 to Khan.
And the two of the judges have the exact same score of 114-111, with a third having it closer at 113-112 for the winner, Amir Khan.
What a tremendous fight. Khan showed so much heart and an incredible punch resistance that defied all predictions and logic. Khan must now be talked about as a pound-for-pound contender. He really has all the tools to become a very special fighter.