Amir Khan marked his US debut with a dominating 11th-round stoppage of Paulie Malignaggi at Madison Square Garden.
The WBA light-welterweight champion never looked in danger of losing his title as his speed and strength proved too much for the American challenger.The British fighter was comfortably ahead on all three scorecards when referee Steve Smoger stepped in midway through the penultimate round.
Drama had preceded the contest, with a scuffle at the weigh-in resulting in Malignaggi falling through a promotional hoarding and adding an extra element of tension to fight night.
Khan went into the contest on the back of a first-round stoppage of Dimitriy Salita in Newcastle in August.
There was to be no repeat of the early finish, although the 23-year-old looked sharp and dangerous in the opening round as he landed a series of vicious jabs on the American.
Khan then went to work on the body of Malignaggi as he began to build an early lead in the second round.
Malignaggi hit the canvas in the fifth but it was ruled a slip, as Khan continued to dominate behind his jab.
The former IBF title holder, who was fighting in front of a home-town crowd in New York, was powerless to stop the onslaught and continued to take punishment through the middle rounds.
With only five stoppage wins in his career, the challenger looked unlikely to make a comeback as Khan built an insurmountable lead on the scorecards.
At the end of the 10th round, the doctor checked on Malignaggi in his corner, but the fighter was allowed to continue.
The contest would not last much longer though, as the fight was stopped 85 seconds into the next round.
By Trent Pusey
Amir Khan and Paulie Malignaggi headline an HBO twinbill this Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York. In a night featuring the top light welterweights, Khan-Malignaggi will be accompanied by Victor Ortiz vs. Nate Campbell. The HBO doubleheader begins at 9:45pm ET.
Amir Khan vs. Paulie Malignaggi
WBA Light Welterweight Title
Money Line: Khan -500; Malignaggi +350
Amir Khan, 22-1 (16 KOs), is hoping to make the best of his United States debut. Khan, a native of the United Kingdom, captured a Silver Medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. This will be the first fight away from Khan’s home turf as he tries to establish himself atop the crowded 140-pound division. At 23 years of age, Khan is quickly becoming a complete fighter. He has speed, power, and a natural boxing gift. He also added trainer extraordinaire Freddie Roach to his team in 2008. The only kink in his armor so far would be a suspect chin. Khan was knocked out in his only loss, a 2008 bout against Breidis Prescott that took less than a minute. Khan made the move to Roach after the loss and has won his last four fights. If Amir Khan wants to make a good first impression in the United States, he ought to steer clear of a powerful puncher.
Enter Paulie Malignaggi, 27-3 (5 KOs). Malignaggi is not a power puncher. His last stoppage victory was in 2003. But what Paulie lacks in power, he makes up for in quickness. Malignaggi was on the verge of becoming a light welterweight afterthought when he was robbed of a decision over Juan Diaz in August of 2009 in Diaz’ hometown of Houston. Malignaggi was granted a rematch and got his career back on track with a win later that year. Amir Khan is a young, out-spoken, cocky up-and-comer, much like Malignaggi was five years ago. Now more battle-weary, Malignaggi is relishing the opportunity to shut the new kid up. A war of words has already been waged between the two, a fight that Malignaggi would win hands down. But Malignaggi needs to be focused and precise inside the ring this Saturday to have any shot at spoiling King Khan’s debut in New York.
Corey: I’m not sold on Khan by any means yet. In his last outing, he had Salita finished off before any real assessment could be made. Prior to that, he won the WBA title against Kotelnik but had a lot of problems landing anything clean on an opponent who simply kept his guard tight. Malignaggi is a much more difficult target to hit. He slips punches well, and when he does get hit, has shown a tough chin. At the same time, he doesn’t pose much of a threat to Khan’s less than stellar chin, which is the reason he has landed this gig. In a nip and tuck affair, Khan’s flashy punching will prove just enough to get him past Malignaggi with a close decision, 115-113.
Paul: I don’t give Paulie much of a chance in this one and I honestly can’t envision a scenario where he can win. If Paulie fights on the outside, Khan’s foot speed and athleticism will be too much. If Paulie tries to crack Khan’s chin, Khan’s hand speed and physical strength will batter him. Plus, Paulie hasn’t looked good against a legit junior welterweight since his first bout with N’dou back in 2007 (and, no, I don’t consider a pudgy lightweight Juan Diaz, post-Campbell and Marquez, as a legit 140-pounder). Nothing short of a complete emotional breakdown from Khan will stop him from taking the win. My prediction is Khan via TKO in 7 brutally one-sided rounds.
Trent: Amir Khan may be biting off more than he can chew by taking Paulie Malignaggi in his United States debut. I’ve counted Malignaggi out before and I’m not so quick to do it again this time around. Paulie won’t knock Khan out but he can certainly hurt him. Malignaggi seems to fight better when he’s highly motivated and Khan has done a good job of getting under the skin of Malignaggi. Khan will have more than one round of work ahead of him, and I think Khan will be as equally motivated as Malignaggi. Khan has the speed and reach to counter Paulie, something Juan Diaz was lacking. Plus, Freddie Roach will not allow his man to get too far behind in the fight if Paulie brings his A-game. I expect Malignaggi to hold his own but in the end he will not have anything to complain about. Khan will take the decision 117-111.