Khan vs Maidana: The War in Nevada
By Isaac Smith @FightReviewer
After a comfortable win against Pauli Malignaggi earlier that year, Amir Khan was set to fight the interim champion to his WBA light-welterweight belt, Marcos Maidana. The fight was scheduled to take place on December 11th 2010 at the Mandalay Bay Resort, Nevada, USA.
Maidana was also holding momentum as he secured a solid win against former WBO light-welter champ DeMarcus Corley back in August.
In his post-fight interview, he solidified his intentions to fight the Brit:
“Stop looking for other opponents for December 11th, stop looking for lightweights and face the real 140-pounders. I’ll go to Khan’s home soil to take the other portion of the WBA belt that belongs to me”
This well anticipated bout had the boxing world divided on the eventual victor. Some fans believed ‘El Chino’ held too much destructive power, stating that he would catch Khan with big shots in the exchanges and seal a TKO victory in the championship rounds because of tiredness.
On the contrary, many favoured Amir’s explosive combinations and phenomenal speed to be too much for the challenger.
This was billed to be ‘Thunder and Lightning’ and it certainly didn’t disappoint..
Khan comes out his usual self. Displaying his lovely, bouncy footwork and sticking that sharp jab. This allowed him to deal with Marcos’ pressure correctly and find the best distance to land the right hand over the top.
Great offence followed, as Amir showed his fast hands and movement which the challenger just couldn’t cope with.
Late in the first, Maidana lunged with a badly timed overhand, which allowed Khan to move off the line and hit a devastating jab, 1-2 body hook combination which dropped ‘El Chino’ to the canvas. He got up pretty quickly, showing his heart, but Khan backed him up against the ropes, landing big shots. Lucky for Maidana, he was saved by the bell.
Khan still showed his explosive fast hands and well-calculated movement to keep Marcos out of the pocket. He still seemed to be hurt from that body shot due to his heavier, slower footwork. Khan used this to his advantage, sticking and moving with sharp, precise shots.
In the 3rd, Marcos came back stronger, despite Khan keeping his range well. Maidana landed a lovely right hand which hurt Khan despite his worrying smile. The Argentine followed this up with hard head and body punches as well as his standard jab to the body, overhand combination and taking the 3rd round.
Amir still showed his sharp movement, keeping the distance well. Unfortunately for him, Maidana found his range and landed some decent close in uppercuts and hooks.
This round showed more competitive exchanges between the two men, but due to Khan’s speed and precision, ‘El Chino’ couldn’t find the right shots.
This round goes in the Brit’s favour. Khan maintained that lovely, sharp jab and showed his nice, controlled movement around the ring. Marcos’ reactions were poor and Amir actually entered the pocket himself to land some effective 3-4 punch combinations, showing great head movement to prevent an effective counter from his opponent.
In the later stages of this round, Hall of Fame referee Joey Cortez noticed Maidana throw an unsavoury, unsportsmanlike elbow towards Amir. To a bellow of boos from the crowd, Maidana was given a point deduction for his actions.
Round 6 presented us with increased pressure from the challenger, chasing Khan down and landing hard head & body shots on the Englishman.
Khan appeared to play Marcos’ game, standing toe to toe with him as the Argentine got the better of most exchanges despite Khan’s fluid movement.
The next three minutes showed Maidana display a strong, hard jab as Amir started to tire, showing less movement and defence. This prompted Marcos to pressure the ‘King’ landing great uppercuts and mixing the shots as his hard jab closed the distance between the two. He closed the round with a lovely overhand right. An easy round for the Margarita-born fighter.
Amir’s sharpness started to re-appear. His fast jab started to come back as well as his fluid footwork. Great distance management from the Brit created great openings as Marcos appeared flat footed.
This was a great comeback round for the champion. Khan’s form continued in the 9th, as he did well to keep Marcos out of the pocket. Inviting feints caused Maidana to over-commit and lose balance. Amir fired a sharp one-two-left hook combo and pieced combinations together. ‘El Chino’ still stuck the rough and ready close uppercut shots on the champion but the early barrage from the ‘King’ tipped the round in his favour.
Khan started the 10th round with fast, explosive combos due to that stinging jab allowing him to find that perfect range to let his hands go.
Maidana hadn’t showed any form of attack until he landed a perfectly timed overhand left that rocked the champion. He then decided to turn up the intensity, landing hard hooks and overhands, backing Khan up against the ropes with effective combos. A huge round for the challenger.
In the last two rounds, we saw Marcos take Amir in to deep waters. Piling on the pressure and landing effective hooks to match Khan’s way of movement. Marcos started to hunt him down like a lion and it’s prey, waiting to strike and throw that one big shot to put the Brit to sleep.
The Argentine showed that great left body jab-overhand combination again and again and backed Khan up against the ropes, cutting him off with great pressure. When here, the Argentine landed effective combos inside the pocket as well as banging the body.
Khan did land the odd right hand in these rounds and a fast combo in the last 30 seconds of the bout.
Nevertheless, both of the rounds went in favour of the challenger.
As the final bell sounds. The boxing world paid respect to two elite light welterweights who presented us with a fantastic display of top quality boxing.
A war between two men who left everything in the ring. Some regarded this bout as ‘The fight of the year’ – American Boxing Writers Association. Whilst others, including six-weight World champion Oscar de la Hoya held this as ‘One of the fights of the decade’
A very tough fight to score, with the three judges at ringside coming to the decision of 114-111 x2 and 113-112 all in favour of Amir Khan.
Khan retained his title, defending it for the third time. My Personal Score was 114-112 to Khan.