Paul Malignaggi, who many folks consider the best Xs and Os analyst on TV today, came away after watching Amir Khan get the job done in fine fashion against no-slouch Devon Alexander on Saturday night in Las Vegas mightily impressed.
The Pride of Bensonhurst was asked if this was the best version of Khan we have all seen as a pro.
“Considering the opponent, it could possibly have been, yes,” the 34-year-old hitter/TV talking head told me.
One thing I’ve noted, like with Wladimir Klitschko after a while, Khan’s chinny label seems to be diminishing. Is he still maybe susceptible in the chin/wiring department, though?
“He’s smarter about his defense now,” the New Yorker answered. “He doesn’t get too greedy offensively.”
Agreed; I think Virgil Hunter is the PERFECT fit for Khan, as he preaches super-smart offense, always in the context of being defensively aware.
So Paulie, straight up, does the Khan you saw Saturday beat Floyd Mayweather if they glove up?
“Yes,” he told me. And the reasons Malignaggi cited for that stance include Khan’s superior traits in the areas of: range control, speed and pace. “He throws a lot in combination,” he continued. “Floyd to me is the best ever, but styles make fights, and Floyd is also no spring chicken anymore.”
And while we are on the subject of theoretical pondering…what about Khan versus Manny Pacquiao?
“Different style but I think Amir does everything Pacquiao does, but better,” Malignaggi said.
Wait…are you saying Amir Khan is the best pound for pound fighter in the game today, in your mind?
“No,” he said. “Styles make fights.”
Got it; so who then could beat Khan right now?
“Keith Thurman does. Kell Brook might. Khan vs. Brook would be a great fight that is a tough one to predict a clear-cut winner.”
Thurman has been catching Twitter heat for under-performing, people saying his bite in his Sat. fight vs. Leonard Bundu didn’t match up with his pre-fight barking, which included nipping at Mayweathers’ heels. So I was semi-surprised to hear Paulie say, “Thurman can force the physical pace necessary if he fought Khan, he’s a bigger man physically and he knows how to use that when necessary, even when he’s not taller.”
Lots to chew on there, friends. Give your insights into Paulie’s takeaways, in our Fabulous Forum!
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