Any doubts about Khan being an A-level talent were allayed after a couple of rounds’ display of Khan’s considerable power, hand speed, work rate and beyond-his-years poise. He is now rightly considered a top-level fighter and would be a tough nut to crack for anyone in the 140-pound class.
Referee Steve Smoger had to step in and stop the one-sided fight after seeing Malignaggi being pounded by Khan round after round. The loss effectively ends Malignaggi’s dream of a showdown with Manny Pacquiao.
Afterward, Khan (23-1, 17 KOs) said he’d like to get ‘er done at 140 and deal with Tim Bradley, the WBO crown-holder, or Devon Alexander, who has the WBC and IBF belts.
Khan’s trainer, Freddie Roach, said he’d very much like the WBA junior welterweight champion to meet Argentine Marcos Maidana (28-1, 27 KOs). “Amir wouldn’t lose a round,” Freddie said.
Malignaggi (27-4) said that going into the match he was confident about taking on Khan but eventually Khan came out to be the better man. “I’ve fought two elite fighters, Miguel Cotto and Amir Khan,” Malignaggi said. “From here, I’m not sure where I go. I’ll sit down with my team. I don’t want to be a punching bag.”
In the first round, Khan fought with controlled aggression instilled in him by coach Roach since the Brit was KO’d in one round by unknown Breidis Prescott two years ago. Khan’s superior power was visible from the first round itself.
In the second round, Khan one-two snapped the New Yorker’s head back. Khan both led, with a long jab, and countered, with crisp left hooks, in a solid round for the champ. Malignaggi’s weapon, his speed was also nothing compared to Khan’s hand speed.
After fighting with great heart for 10 rounds against a more powerful opponent, taking punch after punch, Malignaggi begged the doctor for more time but the referee eventually decided in the 11th round that he was no longer in a condition to fight.