After defeating Paul Malignaggi in May, 2010, Amir Khan was quoted as saying he wanted to ''take on the heavy handed Marcos Maidana, as to unify the lightweight division titles.''
Many boxing pundits thought he was crazy and his chin wouldn’t be able to hold up to the powerful right cross of Maidana. On December 11, Khan proved his critics wrong when he defeated Maidana by decision.
Khan’s largest criticism was that he was unable to take a punch, especially following his only defeat to Breidis Prescott by first round knockout. He had also been knocked down several times in his young career; however, since teaming up with 4 time Trainer of the Year, Freddie Roach, he has been virtually untouchable.
Against Maidana, Khan’s chin was actively tested, particularly in the tenth round, where after taking a vicious right cross from Maidana it looked as though he would go down. It was a foregone conclusion to the fight's announcers that Khan would not make it out of the tenth round, but somehow he summoned up the courage to battle through and survive.
Khan showed off his power early on with a ferocious left hook to Maidana’s body in the first to send him to the canvas and utilized his superior speed to stick and move to emerge victorious. Roach’s game plan was paramount to Khan’s victory. If Khan had been lulled into a slugfest he would not have won, nor endured.
Now that he has unified the titles he now has his sights set on the top dog, Floyd Mayweather, Jr. After the fight, the pugilist said he wants ''to fight Mayweather at the end of 2011 or beginning of 2012, pending Mayweather’s legal troubles.''
Although most fight fans would prefer Mayweather to fight Pacquiao, a Khan-Mayweather battle in Wembley Stadium would not be a bad conciliation; Khan and Pacquiao share the same trainer, they are sparring partners and Khan is promoted by Golden Boy, which has been involved in Mayweather’s most recent fights.
Mayweather also has a huge following in the UK, ever since he defeated Britain’s Ricky Hatton in 2007. Since then Mayweather has stated his longing to bring a fight to the 90,000 seat stadium.
If Mayweather and Khan don’t meet in the ring there are rumors that Khan will fight a refocused Zab Judah or the winner of the upcoming Tim Bradley vs. Devon Alexander fight, both of whom would like to parlay their upcoming bout into either a Mayweather or Pacquiao fight of their own.
Regardless of who he fights next, Amir Khan will have plenty of critics but with more performances like his dominance over Marcos Maidana they will be few and far between.
Zahir has written for several publications over the years while performing as a spoken word artist.