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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Khan Wins War Versus Maidana

Amir "King" Khan (24-1, 17 KO's) proved to the world last night that he can now take a solid punch, winning a vigorous twelve-round unanimous decision over the resilient, hard-punching Argentinian warrior Marcos "El Chino" Maidana (29-2, 27 KO's), in what could be "Fight-of-the-Year". Both C.J. Ross and Jerry Roth scored the bout 114-111, while Glenn Throwbridge scored it 113-112. With the victory, Khan retained his WBA Junior Welterweight title.

Khan opened the first round aggressively, but Maidana caught him with a pair of hard overhand rights. From there, Khan circled as Maidana pressed the action. With approximately twenty seconds left in the round, Khan hammered Maidana with a right followed by a perfectly-placed left hook to the body, instantly dropping him. Maidana got up, but was on shaky legs. Khan came close to ending the bout at that moment, landing a barrage of punches, although the bell rang to end the round.

In round two, Maidana caught Khan with a flush left hook, but Khan answered with a right cross - left uppercut combination. Khan pushed Maidana back, connecting with a series of crisp, accurate combinations to the body and head. Khan displayed too much hand speed for Maidana, landing numerous times to the Argentine combatant's head.

Maidana landed a short right that momentarily hurt Khan in the third round. Again, Khan countered quickly with a sequence of sharp punches, and started using more lateral movement.

During the first 1:30 of round four, Khan blistered Maidana with lightning-quick punches. However, Maidana was relentless, and scored with consecutive left uppercuts as Khan tried to cover up in the second half of the round. In the closing seconds, Khan fired and landed a right uppercut - left hook combination.

Maidana closed the distance in round five, landing an array of left hooks and overhand rights. Yet, referee Joe Cortez deducted one point from Maidana, who was visibly down on the scorecards, for attempting to elbow Khan on a break. Khan had a better second half of the round, striking Maidana with a right uppercut followed by a left hook. Maidana responded near the end of round, connecting with a right to the body and left hook to Khan's head.

In round six, Maidana sustained a cut near the corner of his right eye. Khan flurried, but Maidana kept coming at him, landing a string of uppercuts, left hooks and right crosses. Overall, Khan landed the cleaner punches in the round.

Finally, Maidana's effort would be rewarded. In round seven, Maidana landed a massive overhand right that buckled Khan. Then, Maidana scored with his right uppercut followed by consecutive right hands. After that, Maidana landed a left uppercut - left hook combination. As Khan was against the ropes, Maidana belted him in the body repeatedly while one arm was being held by Khan.

In round eight, Maidana looked extremely tired. Khan took full advantage, nailing Maidana with a succession of rights.

Then, Khan tagged Maidana in round nine with a sharp right uppercut, as Maidana applied pressure. Khan's four-punch combinations and superior hand speed kept Maidana away for the better part of the round.  

Maidana regained his energy in round ten, rocking Khan with a powerful overhand right. Next, Maidana chased Khan around the ring, landing a barrage of rights, left hooks and uppercuts with both hands. Khan responded with a straight right, and somehow managed to stay on his feet.

Maidana appeared a little gassed in round eleven, but continued to stalk Khan. After Khan connected with a fast right uppercut, he hurt Maidana with a precise right - left combination. Later, Maidana answered with rights and lefts to the body followed by a clean right uppercut that struck Khan in the face, although Khan seemed to land the sharper punches in the round.

While Khan closed the twelfth round with a flurry and connected with many flush rights, Maidana brought tremendous pressure, landing wide overhand rights and rock-solid left hooks to Khan's body.

Many members of the boxing media and fight fans believed Maidana would be too tough for Khan to handle, while others had Khan using his ring generalship to capture a decision. Few considered Khan would actually trade punches with Maidana as often as he did. When Khan got hurt during the bout, he showed he was capable of surviving. Maybe, Khan's chin is durable after all?  Khan has vastly improved his skills working under trainer Freddie Roach, and appears ready to conquer the junior welterweight division.

But, will Khan ever attempt to avenge his lone defeat, a first-round knockout at the hands of Breidis Prescott in 2008? There have been rumors swirling about a possible fight with Juan Manuel Marquez next, or perhaps Khan will square-off against the Devon Alexander vs. Timothy Bradley winner on January 29, 2011?

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