2010 Ring Fan Poll: Khan-Maidana 10 is Round of the Year
Amir Khan absorbed many hard right crosses such as this one from Marcos Maidana during the 10th round of their 12-round thriller won by Khan. The drama of Khan's peril in the 10th round made it the Round of the Year in Ringtv.com's fan poll on Yahoo! Sports. Photo / Chris Cozzone-Fightwireimages.com
ROUND OF THE YEAR VOTING RESULTS
Amir Khan-Marcos Maidana Round 10: 53 percent
Juan Manuel Marquez-Michael Katsidis Round 3: 34 percent
Ivan Calderon-Giovani Segura Round 4: 5 percent
Said Ouali-Hector Saldivia Round 1 5 percent
Joseph Agbeko-Yonnhy Perez Round 6: 3 percent
Today's poll: Prospect of the Year. Vote at Yahoo! Sports by clicking <a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/box/news;_ylt=Ao3T8j8tY8vfCY1O954mz0WUxLYF?slug=ys-10ringpollprospect
The Round of the Year usually features furious two-way action and at least one knockdown.
The 10th round of Amir Khan-Marcos Maidana, the winner of this year’s Ring Fan Poll on Yahoo! Sports, did not feature back-and-forth action.
It was as one-sided as a round can be without a knockdown being scored. But the fact that Khan, who was repeatedly rocked by Maidana’s powerful haymakers, remained upright is the reason it was so memorable.
Khan, who won the 12-round barnburner by a close unanimous decision, is a 24-year-old British sensation with elite-level talent, athleticism and skill. However, despite his considerable potential, many fans refused to get on the 2004 Olympic silver medalist’s bandwagon because of what they perceived as a fatal flaw: a weak chin.
This perception wasn’t unfounded. Khan was brutally knocked out in one-round by hard-punching but unheralded Breidis Prescott in September of 2008. The lightweight bout shocked British observers and prompted hardcore fans to dismiss Khan’s future.
Khan rebounded from the first-round loss as well as a fighter could. He hired Freddie Roach to train him, relocated to Los Angeles to train, won six consecutive bouts and stepped up to the junior welterweight division, at which he won a major title.
However, despite impressive performances against Top-10 contenders Andreas Kotelnik and Paulie Malignaggi, Khan could not rehabilitate his image as a china-chinned pretender waiting to get knocked out by the first world-class puncher he faced.
Enter Maidana, a brutally powerful Argentine strongman who boasted 27 knockouts in his 29 victories against just one loss (a split nod to Kotelnik) going into the showdown with Khan, which took place on Dec. 11 in Las Vegas.
Khan wanted the fight with Maidana, who owned stoppage victories over prospects Victor Ortiz and Victor Cayo, to prove that he could take the heat from a bona-fide KO artist.
Many fans were sure that he couldn’t take a direct hit to the chin from Maidana and remain conscious. That moment of truth came one minute and five seconds into the 10th round, when Maidana connected with a huge overhand right that shook Khan down to his shoes.
Khan instinctively grabbed and held Maidana until referee Joe Cortez broke them up, but the relentless power puncher kept swinging and landed another right as he backed Khan to the ropes. Khan tried to spin away from his tormentor but was caught with a right-hook-right combination as he reeled around the ring.
With more than a minute and a half left in the round, it was “high drama in the desert,” as HBO commentator Larry Merchant stated during the U.S. broadcast.
Maidana mugged the rubber-legged titleholder against the ropes and ripped him with nose-bloodying uppercuts.
“Will he hold? Will he hold!?” asked HBO blow-by-blow announcer Jim Lamply when it appeared that Khan was on the brink of being overwhelmed.
Khan did not hold. He covered up for a moment and then pushed Maidana off in hopes of creating the space to retaliate. With 30 second left in the round, the weary Briton punched back as the fatigued challenger continued to tee off on him.
Khan barley made it out of the round, and he merely survived the next six minutes of the bout, but he answered the questions about his ability to take a punch.
Yes, Khan’s chin can be dented by a major-league slugger such as Maidana, but it’s not made of china. He never went down despite the pounding he took in the 10th round, proving that his heart makes up for his chin’s shortcomings.
Khan also proved that his future is still very bright.
So although he soundly lost the 10th, the combination of high stakes and drama made it the Round of the Year for 2010.
Note: These are not the official RING awards. Those will be announced next month in the magazine.