• Boxing

It's win or bust for Khan - Mitchell

ESPN staff
May 6, 2010

Amir Khan is a risk-averse fighter who will be unable to recover his reputation if he loses to Paulie Malignaggi, according to Kevin Mitchell.

Mitchell, who fights Michael Katsidis for the WBO light-welterweight title on May 15, has made no secret of his desire to fight WBA champion Khan.

With Khan looking to increase his reputation in America after joining up with Golden Boy Promotions, UK-based Mitchell concedes that an imminent bout is unlikely - even if claims the WBO strap.

"The only time I'd get to meet Khan is if he got beaten and wanted to up his profile," Mitchell said. "If Khan gets beaten again then no one will want to know him. They'll know he's not the real thing."

Khan's next opponent is Paulie Malignaggi, in a bout that will also take place on May 15. Mitchell believes that the choice of opponent for his Stateside debut indicates that Khan is reluctant to take on high-calibre fighters.

Malignaggi, who was defeated by Ricky Hatton in 2008, is not renowned for his punching power - and Khan is thought to have a vulnerability against opponents who throw hard. He was knocked out after 54 seconds against the iron-fisted Colombian Breidis Prescott in his only professional defeat.

"He's fighting Malignaggi next - that says it all. Malignaggi is made for him because he doesn't punch," Mitchell said."I've been told Khan is getting US$1.1million for the fight - that's crazy money because there's no risk involved."

Drawing on his experience of fighting Malignaggi, Hatton has said that he is confident that Khan will defeat the New Yorker. "I do not envisage any problems for Amir and expect him to win easily," he said in his Manchester Evening News column.

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