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Khan, Maidana ready to reign supreme

Story by Andreas Hale
Photos by Chris Cozzone

The 140-pound division is quite the crowded one right now. But after this weekend we may have a much clearer picture that separates the contenders from the pretenders.

On Saturday, December 11, Amir Khan (23-1, 17 KOs) will defend his WBA light welterweight title against the heavy hitting Marcos Maidana (29-1, 27 KOs) in a matchup that will feature two distinctly different styles where only one can reign supreme.

With Khan’s title on the line and bragging rights to sit atop a division that is chock full of talent, it is expected that both fighters will be bringing their A game to the Mandalay Bay Event Center in Las Vegas on Saturday night. It will be Khan’s second time fighting in the States and his first fight under the bright lights of Las Vegas. It’s a dream come true for the 24-year-old who celebrated his birthday on Wednesday.

“This is a big fight for me,” Khan said during the final press conference on Thursday. “My dream has always been to fight in Las Vegas and having my name lit up on the strip.”

It may be Khan’s plan to see his name lit up, but it is Maidana’s plan to light up “King Khan” with his devastating knockout power on Saturday night. The man of very few words made his statement and made it brief.

“This is a very important fight for my career,” Maidana said through a translator. “But not the hardest.”

The Pride of Bolton takes Maidana’s comments in stride as he understands that the Argentinean can end any opponent’s night with one punch.

“Maidana is a big threat in the division and I only want to fight the best,” Khan said. “When they put this together, it was said to be a ‘boxer’ vs a ‘fighter’… But I really think that I come into this fight as a puncher. People are taking my power away saying that Maidana is the bigger puncher. We’ll let everyone think that.”

Khan and trainer Freddie Roach are quite confident that Maidana hasn’t seen anything like Khan inside of the squared circle. But Maidana’s camp is also very confident that Khan has never tasted power like that of Maidana. Either way you look at it, it has the makings of a great fight.”

“Both fighters know that this fight is so important for them,” Maidana’s trainer Miguel Diaz said. “They are going to give 150% and give a great, great fight.”

Freddie Roach echoed those sentiments and made a bold prediction of his own.

“We’re ready for the fight. We’ve been all over the world training for this fight (with) different sparring partners and different scenery. It’s been a really good 10 week camp. Amir is ready and this is going to be ‘Fight of the Year.”

What will happen Saturday night? Nobody knows. But what will be known is who will take the next step towards becoming boxing’s next big star in an epic clash between two young fighters looking to make a statement.

“We want to end this year with fireworks and we’ve both got the styles to make this the best fight of the year,” Khan said.

We soon shall see.

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