LOS ANGELES-Is Amir Khan the greatest junior welterweight in the world today?
We’ll be one step closer to finding out when WBA world titleholder Khan (23-1, 17 KOs) meets Argentina’s Marcos Maidana (29-1, 27 KOs) on Dec. 11, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. The junior welter clash called “Lightning and Thunder” will be shown on HBO World Championship Boxing.
“It’s going to be a great night,” said HBO’s Tony Walker.
The last time the world saw Khan he beat the talented Paul Malignaggi by technical knockout in the 11th round. Speed and more speed is what the British boxer brings to the ring and it’s a load for anyone facing him.
“It might take me a while to catch him because I expect him to run a lot,” said Maidana adding that he respects Khans talent. “But I’ll catch him.”
Ever since Khan began training with Freddie Roach the defensive holes have close smaller and smaller. The opportunities to catch Khan with a right hand like Breidis Prescott did two years ago are almost nonexistent. He’s becoming a complete fighter and that’s bad news for the rest of the 140-pounders.
“Maidana is a good strong fighter and I’ve got to be careful of his power,” said Khan, 23. “But that goes for anyone in the ring.”
The square-faced Maidana looks likes he’s built to absorb punishment like a human Tonka toy. His fight with Victor Ortiz 15 months ago in L.A. displayed the resiliency in his chin and willingness to engage full force in order to land one of his own bombs. He hopes to add Khan to his kill list.
“It’s these kind of fights that I want,” said Maidana, 27, while at the Conga Room in LA Live on Tuesday. “I’m currently the interim champion but I want the whole thing.”
Golden Boy Promotions also announced that Victor Ortiz is slated to be on the under card but the opponent has not been finalized. CEO Richard Schaefer said that former world champion Andriy Kotelnik is one consideration.
“The winner of Ortiz and his opponent will fight the winner of Amir Khan and Maidana,” Schaefer said.
Nobody is counting out Maidana, but nobody is counting out Khan by any stretch. Most like his firepower and abundance of speed.
“There hasn’t been a lot of trash talking, he’s been very respectful,” said Khan. “It’s going to be a sensational fight.”
Khan flies to the Philippines to join Freddie Roach who is training both Manny Pacquiao and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. for their big fights.
Khan and Maidana can prove a lot for the junior welterweight division.
Other boxing chatter
U.S. Olympians Shawn Estrada and Javier Molina fight on separate fights at Tachi Palace in Lemoore on a Goossen-Tutor Promotions boxing card. Both East L.A.’s Estrada and Norwalk’s Molina suffered hand injury that put them out of action for a while. Estrada, 25, had a first round knockout win this past August but Molina, 20, has not gloved up for a fight in almost a year. In the main event Mike Dallas Jr. (15-0-1, 5 KOs) faces Lenin Arroyo (20-13-1).
An MMA fight card featuring Bobby “King” Green (14-3) of Fontana defending his King of the Cage title against Tim “Dirty Bird” Means (9-3-1) of San Bernardino takes place this Thursday at San Manuel Casino. (800) 359-2464.
Junior middleweight contender James Kirkland (25-0, 22 KOs) was released from prison last Thursday in Texas. The hard-hitting Kirkland was serving time for violating a probation agreement and was released early. “I can’t wait to get back in the ring and pick up where I left off,” said Kirkland, 26, who is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions.
It was a good two days for trainer Roger Mayweather. First, fast-rising contender Jessie Vargas (12-0, 7 KOs) blew out Spain’s Pablo Sarmiento (34-14-2) in 1:31 of the first round of a junior welterweight clash on Thursday at Club Nokia. The next day, Tim Coleman (18-1-1) used an uppercut to knock out Venezuela’s Patrick “El Elegante” Lopez (20-3) at 2:13 of the third round. The fight took place at Chumash Casino in Santa Ynez. Coleman grabbed the USBA junior welterweight title with the win.
Francisco “Panchito” Arce (30-6-3, 21 KOs) battles former flyweight world champion Isidro “Chino” Garcia (25-7-2, 8 KOs) for the vacant NABF bantamweight title in Nuevo Leon, Mexico on Saturday Oct. 9.
Australia’s Erin McGowan (13-0, 7 KOs) fights for the vacant WBO lightweight world title against England’s Lyndsey Scragg (10-2, 3 KOs) on Saturday Oct. 9, at Joondalup, Australia. Scragg last fought Peru’s Kina Malpartida in Nov. 2009 and lost by decision.
Japan’s Ryol Lil Lee (17-1-1) took the WBA junior featherweight world title by decision over Thailand’s Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym (41-2) on Saturday in Tokyo. Kratingdaenggym was making his third defense of the title he won by knockout over Ireland’s Bernard Dunne.
Panama’s Guillermo Jones (37-3-2, 28 KOs) knocked out Valery Brudov (38-3, 27 KOs) in the 11th round to keep the WBA cruiserweight world title on Saturday in Panama City. Former heavyweight world champion Hasim Rahman (49-7-2, 40 KOs) knocked out Marcus McGee (22-18) in 3 minutes of the first round.
Paul McCloskey (22-0, 12 KOs) defended the EBU junior welterweight title with a knockout of Barry Morrison (18-5) in 1:28 of the seventh round on Saturday in Letterkenny, Ireland. Also, Andy Murray (22-0, 12 KOs) remained undefeated by unanimous decision over John Nolasco (18-5-4) in a lightweight match.
UFC 121 features mixed martial arts heavyweight world champion Brock Lesnar (5-1) defending his title against Cain Velasquez (8-0) on Oct. 23, at the Honda Center in Anaheim. Tickets are available for the anxiously awaited clash. Also on the card is Tito Ortiz (16-7-1) fighting Mark Hamill(10-2) in a light heavyweight match.