Amir Khan out­paces Maidana

The Pak Banker - - International3 -

LAS VE­GAS: Amir Khan ab­sorbed punch af­ter mur­der­ous punch in the 10th round, knees wob­bling and blood drip­ping from his nose. Yet no mat­ter what Mar­cos Maidana threw at him, Khan de­fi­antly stayed up­right.

The Bri­tish cham­pion just might have an­swered ev­ery ques­tion Satur­day night about his chin and his heart.

And partly be­cause Maidana couldn't keep his el­bow to him­self in the fifth round, Khan is still the WBA's 140-pound cham­pion.

Khan suc­cess­fully de­fended his ti­tle in a nar­row unan­i­mous de­ci­sion in his Las Ve­gas de­but, sur­viv­ing the stiffest test of his ca­reer with su­pe­rior skill and sur­pris­ing guts.

"I fight with my heart," Khan said. "When I go into the ring, I know I'm go­ing to get hit. You can tell by his record he's a strong puncher, and I took ev­ery­thing he gave me."

Khan (24-1, 17 KOs) knocked down Maidana with 10 sec­onds left in the first round at the Man­dalay Bay Events Cen­ter with a vi­cious left hand to the body, and the fight rarely slowed down. The free-swinging Maidana seemed to be close to stop­ping Khan dur­ing a bril­liant 10th, but Khan took it and re­sponded with a strong 11th.

Khan's third ti­tle de­fense was likely his most sig­nif­i­cant per­for­mance since his run to a sil­ver medal as a 17-year-old prodigy at the Athens Olympics. Still scarred by a first-round knock­out loss to Brei­dis Prescott in his only de­feat more than two years ago, Khan clearly has grown tougher and stronger.

"I know I made mis­takes, but I worked hard and came back stronger than ever," Khan said. "He's a strong fighter, and he hits hard. My chin was tested. I'm not tak­ing any­thing away from him. He's a great cham­pion. I proved to­day I've got a chin."

Maidana (29-2) was hurt by a point de­duc­tion by ref­eree Joe Cortez in the fifth round, ap­par­ently for throw­ing an el­bow at Cortez in frus­tra­tion when the ref­eree broke a clinch.

Judges Jerry Roth and C.J. Ross scored the bout 114-111 for Khan, and Glenn Trow­bridge fa­vored the Bri­tish cham­pion 113-112. The As­so­ci­ated Press also fa­vored Khan 114-113.

The Ar­gen­tine slug­ger at­tempted to bolt from the ring af­ter the de­ci­sion was an­nounced, but his pro­mot­ers pulled him back.

"I thought I won," Maidana said through a trans­la­tor. "I thought I did enough in the fi­nal rounds to win the fight." Khan landed 45 per­cent of his 603 punches, while just 20 per­cent of Maidana's 767 blows landed. -Ap

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