WBA light-welterweight champion Amir Khan will defend his title against dangerous puncher Marcos Rene Maidana at the Manderlay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas on April 17th.
It will be Khan´s first fight under the banner of Golden Boy Promotions.
26 year old Argentinian Maidana has stopped 26 of 28 opponents, his sole defeat coming on a split decision against Ukrainian Andriy Kotelnik for his WBA title fight in February 2009. Kotelnik went on to lose the WBA crown to Khan in his next defense. Maidana is the WBA interim light-welterweight champion, and therefore a mandatory fight for Khan (22-1, 16 ko´s).
Khan defended his title last December against the WBA´s no1 contender, New York based Ukrainian Dmitriy Salita with a 76 second knockout. The Buenos Aires based Maidana should prove to be a much tougher proposition than the over-matched Salita.
Maidana is highly rated by two of boxing’s most influential websites. Fightnews.com ranks the Argentinian no1 on its list of light-welterweight contenders, whilst Boxrec.com ranks him fifth in a list than includes Amir Khan, Timothy Bradley and Ricky Hatton.
Rumors had been circulating that Camp-Khan were less than excited about fighting the vicious punching Argentine, and even considered vacating the crown rather than be coerced into the fight.
Khan´s trainer Freddie Roach was less than happy about his charge facing Maidana.
“It´s a business and it´s about the right fights at the right time. There are some good fights out there for Amir. He can outbox Maidana but he´s tough, a good puncher, and you don’t want to exchange with him too much.” said Roach.
The Khan v Maidana bout is schedueld to appear on the undercard of the matchup between Bernard Hopkins and Roy Jones Jr. The Hopkins v Jones fight was initially canceled when Jones was flattened in the first round of a tune-up against Danny Green in Australia in December. After due consideration Golden Boy have announced the fight will now go ahead. Hopkins is a partner in Golden Boy, and will co-promote the fight. It is Hopkins chance to avenge a 1993 points loss to Jones.
45 year old Hopkins (50-5-1, 32 ko´s), though still one of the best light-heavyweights on the planet, hasn’t stopped an opponent since knocking out Oscar De La Hoya in a world middleweight title fight in 2004. 41 year old Jones (54-6, 40 ko´s) has lost five of his last ten fights.
Hopkins v Jones is unlikely to be a classic. Khan v Maidana on the other hand might well be.