Amir Khan outpaces Maidana
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