Amir Khan-Paulie Malignaggi: Can He Khan-quer the United States?

Tyler CurtisAnalyst IMay 12, 2010

NEW YORK - MAY 10:  British boxer Amir Khan poses with the WBA World light welterweight championship belt by the Brooklyn Bridge on May 10, 2010 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City.  (Photo by John Gichigi/Getty Images)
John Gichigi/Getty Images


On May 15, 2010, Amir Khan makes his American debut against Paulie Malignaggi.

I pose a simple question: Can Amir Khan-quer the United States?

At first glance it would seem that he has all the tools to make a name for him in the United States. He has good looks, good power, and already at 23 has won a title.

He has also shown that he can come back from a loss as he won his title after suffering a crushing defeat to Breidis Prescott. He also has a good amateur background and on a domestic level his opponents were all competent fighters.

He also does charity work and is a practicing Muslim. He also has a style which appeals to fight fans.

To top it all off, he has the world's most renowned trainer, Freddie Roach, and Golden Boy Promotions in his corner.

All this would seem to add up to a simple answer of "Yes, he will make it." If you dig a little further, though, the answer gets a little murky.

Khan has fought a who’s who at the domestic level. Names like Stefy Bull, Willie Limond, Scott Lawton, Graham Earl, Gairy St. Clair, Michael Gomez, and Oisin Fagan are all well known names in England.

While not known to most American fans, this is a list of decent to good fighters. Some of these fighters were on the light side which raised questions.

Light or not, at least two of the men were considered to be solid. Once he got past the domestic level, he beat up an old Marco Antonio Barrera.

He won his title by beating Andriy Kotelnik, and defended it once against Dmitriy Salita. Salita was a mandatory but was totally undeserving. For what it is worth, he beat Salita by technical knockout.

He would appear to have good power with 16 knockouts in 22 wins, but has never knocked a good top level fighter out. He has good hand speed for a man his size as well.

This Saturday will be a good test of his power as Malignaggi has one of the best chins in boxing. His speed will also be matched, and perhaps surpassed, so it will be interesting to see how he reacts to that.

His chin is the huge question in all of this. He has been down multiple times and was knocked out by Prescott in 54 seconds.

His chin won’t be tested against Malignaggi, but if he wants to become a star it will be at some point. Three of the top four fighters at light welterweight have very good knockout percentages.

The thing that most bothers me about Khan is that I don’t know if he really wants to be a fighter. It doesn’t seem like he has that fighter instinct deep down inside of him.

He made this recent comment: "You have to know the best time to have these big fights in your career. If you look at Oscar De LaHoya, he fought all the best fighters when they were on the way downhill, and not at their best. I want to catch these guys when they have come off their peak. But I have to be careful because there might be a younger version of me coming up who wants to do exactly the same to me."


That doesn’t sit well with me and it makes me really question your desire. Also, that quote really isn’t true at all.

It would seem that Khan has all the tools, but does he have the chin and mental state to Khan-quer America?