Amir Khan knows exactly what Floyd Mayweather will be looking at when he steps into the ring against Marcos Maidana in Las Vegas on May 3.
Khan faced Maidana for the WBA light welterweight title in 2010. Khan dropped Maidana with a body shot in the first round and went on to win a 12-round unanimous decision to claim the championship.
Though many people think that Maidana has matured as a boxer in the last four years, Khan doesn’t believe he has enough experience and skill to defeat Mayweather.
“I think he’ll give Maidana a boxing lesson. I think Mayweather will win the fight convincingly,’’ Khan said.
Mayweather passed over Khan and handpicked Maidana as his opponent based on his performance against Adrien Broner, whom many considered the heir apparent to Mayweather as the Pound-for-Pound best. Maidana attacked Broner from the opening bell, dropping him in the second round and altering Broner’s strategy of boxing and keeping the power-punching Maidana at bay.
While Maidana is noted for his knockout power, Khan said there’s more to him than that.
“As a boxer a lot of people don’t give him credit for his boxing skill,’’ Khan said. “Coming from a good amateur background he knows how to put those jabs together. I didn’t see him as easy or flat footed as people thought he was.’’
Khan had a very sound strategy going in against Maidana and he was able to stick to his plan.
“The strategy was being the quickest and being the first to punch and not to trade with him,’’ Khan said. “I wanted to work the body to slow him down.’’
Khan was able to land a fantastic body shot that dropped Maidana to the canvas in the first round.
“Not many people would have gotten up from that body shot,’’ Khan said. “It seemed he was going to be done for the fight. It looked like he was going to fail to make it. He beat the count and was saved by the bell. I think if I had another 10 seconds I would have finished him.’’
That early body shot established that Khan could punch and kept Maidana from trying to walk through Khan’s shots. After he shook off that body shot, Maidana didn’t give up trying to land his power shots later in the round. Khan said he did feel Maidana’s power. He was hurt by one of the Argentine’s shots in the 10th round, but survived it.
Broner was one fight removed from lightweight when he faced Maidana at welterweight. Broner didn’t have anything to keep Maidana at bay and he couldn’t stand up to Maidana’s shots.
Mayweather is a far-superior boxer than Broner. His real genius in the ring is taking away what a boxer wants to do until his opponent has zero offensive options. And then Mayweather pounces. Speed will be the difference maker in the fight, Khan said.
“Speed is something that a lot of fighters have problems with,’’ Khan said. “Mayweather is a quick fighter with quick reflexes. He’s going to have to find a lot of ways to give Maidana problems and the only way Maidana has to give Mayweather problems is to punch with him. He has to try to throw punches when Mayweather throws punches.That’s the only way that he might be able to land any shots.’’
Mayweather is one of the greatest counter punchers in the sport. He’s also one of the best defensive fighters in boxing. All of that spells trouble for Maidana.
Khan will be fighting Luis Collazo in the co-feature on the Mayweather-Maidana card. He said he and his trainer, Virgil Hunter, have developed a strategy that will be just as successful against the slick southpaw Collazo.
This will be Khan’s first fight at welterweight. He said he is adjusting well to the higher weight. He doesn’t have to kill himself to make weight.
“He’s a good fighter. I respect him,’’ Khan said of Collazo. “I believe this fight will take me to great things in the future. It’s going to be a tough fight but I know it’s going to be successful for me. I’m going to walk out there with my hands raised.’’