Amir Khan or Manny Pacquiao: Who poses the bigger threat to Floyd Mayweather?

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Former two division world champion turned respected Showtime boxing analyst Paulie Malignaggi recently commented to ESPN that he feels Amir Khan would pose more of a threat to Floyd Mayweather’s unbeaten record than Manny Pacquiao.

“A really intelligent boxing fan would understand that people like Amir Khan are more dangerous to Floyd Mayweather than Manny Pacquiao at this level, at this point,” Malignaggi insisted.

I must admit I am massively surprised at Malinaggi’s opinion. Although Khan’s hand speed and lightening fast combinations would definitely cause Mayweather problems and score points on the judge’s scorecards, Manny Pacquiao, even at 35 years old, probably still has superior hand speed.

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Pacquiao still demands respect

Also, Pacquiao is definitely a more fluent combination puncher than Khan is. Furthermore, whereas Khan slaps with his combinations, Pacquiao still snaps his out and carries far more concussive power than Khan.

In addition, Pacquiao’s in and out rhythm, south paw stance, and unique ability to throw an assortment of punches from a variety of unorthodox angles would be harder for Floyd Mayweather to defend against than any Amir Khan onslaughts.

With this in mind I struggle to agree with the sentiments of Malignaggi who stated to ESPN, “I actually think it’s a pretty easy fight for Floyd Mayweather to win and I think Khan would pose a big risk to the prefect record of Floyd Mayweather.”

There is no way Pacquiao would be an easy fight for Floyd Mayweather, if that was the case then they would have already fought.

Similarities in rival strengths

I can understand why Malignaggi views Khan as a viable threat to Floyd Mayweather, but I cannot comprehend his conviction that Pacquiao would be easy money for Mayweather.

However, it is undeniable that Khan and Pacquiao share a compendium of positive attributes such as; blistering hand, skillful and accurate combinations and high work rate that could cause a serious threat to Mayweather’s unblemished boxing credentials.

Aside from the similarities in their positive attributes, there are also parallels in the flaws of Pacquiao and Khan. Both fighters would be incredibly vulnerable to Mayweather’s counter punching ability. Against either Khan or Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather’s impeccable counter punching could be the key to victory. Mayweather’s work rate has never been that high, but he never wastes any punches either.

Most times Mayweather throws he hits the target, so although his punch output is economical it is staggeringly accurate to the point where he averages over 50% connect percentage on his punches. Basically he is by far the most accurate fighter active in the sport today and when you take into consideration that the stats prove he is also the most elusive boxer, it is easy to see why he has never tasted defeat.

Mayweather surely still too strong for either man

Both Khan and Pacquiao have shown they can be dropped and stopped by an effective counter puncher, and despite the fact Mayweather is not a renowned knockout artist, he normally softens his opponents up with precision counter punches.

I don’t think Mayweather would knock either man out, but he punches with enough authority to hurt them. In that case, punch resistance and powers of recovery would come in to prominence, and in both departments I still feel Pacquiao would prevail over Khan. Sure, the brutal knockout Pacquiao suffered to Marquez shattered his aura of invincibility. On the other hand, I feel Khan has looked pretty fragile ever since his crushing defeat to Danny Garcia.

Furthermore, there is also a huge gulf in class of opponents faced by both Khan and Pacquiao since they last tasted defeat. In his comeback, the best fighter Khan has faced is Luis Callazo, whereas Pacquiao dominated the rematch against Tim Bradley, who at the time featured in the top 5 of every official pound for pound list.

Ultimately, Pacquiao can do everything Amir Khan can, but with more speed, and more power. For these reasons, it is hard to justify Malignaggi’s claims that Amir Khan is better placed than Manny Pacquiao to beat Floyd Mayweather Jnr.

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Floyd Mayweather
Manny Pacquiao
Amir Kahn

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