• Boxing

Khan wins dramatic war with Maidana

ESPN staff
December 11, 2010

Amir Khan v Marcos Maidana gallery

Amir Khan defended his WBA light-welterweight title after outpointing Marcos Maidana following 12 highly dramatic rounds in Las Vegas. The final decision was unanimous in Khan's favour, with the judges scoring the bout 114-111, 114-111, 113-112.

Although Khan dominated the bulk of the fight - and proved that he has the chin to compete at the highest level - he had to survive a huge scare in the tenth as Maidana conjured an onslaught that could easily have forced a stoppage.

That said, Khan was a worthy winner overall, having put his opponent down in the first and blitzed him for the bulk of the bout by utilising his superior speed. Now he has conquered the man regarded as the biggest puncher in the division - Maidana has 27 KOs from 31 fights - Khan will turn his attention to unifying the belts.

All of the pre-fight talk centred around Maidana's power, but it was Khan who floored his opponent in the first round as the Argentinian crumbled when struck with a savage bodyshot. He beat the count - although only just - but still hadn't recovered in the second, allowing Khan to again come within a whisker of forcing a stoppage.

Maidana rallied in the third, raising question marks over Khan's chin by catching him strongly enough to force the champion's legs to nearly fail him. The Brit survived that scare before going on to control the next few rounds, using combinations to act as the aggressor and darting out of trouble whenever Maidana threatened to get on top.

By the time the ninth rolled around, Maidana - perhaps still afflicted by the first-round body blow - looked to have been drained of all stamina. But he dug deep to produce a rally in the tenth, first wobbling Khan with a huge overhand right and then continuing the attack for the remainder of the round. The champion was in significant trouble - it could easily have been stopped - but he managed to battle his way through a fraught two minutes.

The minute's rest before the 11th put Khan back on track, and he closed out the fight without any more cause for concern.

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