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Marcos Maidana announcing his comeback to boxing this year was one of the few comebacks announced this year that looks to make genuine sense.
Their 2010 fight was a classic, with both men in their prime, that matched Khan’s lightning-fast hands against the power and ferocity of Maidana. Ten years on and a rematch between the two might make more sense for one than the other.
Khan has been the most recently active, dominating Billy Dibb in July last year and going 3-1 in the last two years. Before that, his last fight was an understandable loss to Canelo Alvarez in 2016. While Khan has remained an impressive boxer, we have seen a noticeable decline in his hand-speed, which happens to all the fastest boxers past 30.
Maidana has looked impressive in videos since he started training again but has a long way to go before he can step in with Khan. His first fight back is an exhibition against Argentinian kickboxer Jorge Cali at a catchweight 187lbs, which is Cruiserweight. He’d then have a further 40lbs, just under 3 stone, to lose before meeting Khan at the Welterweight limit.
It’s harder to gauge how age has affected Maidana though, as we last saw him box professionally in 2014 when he could still be considered prime. He retired of the back of two losses to Floyd Mayweather, having made enough money to live out the rest of his life comfortably in Argentina. While the first match was a Mayweather landslide, the Maidana that came back for the rematch was absolutely world-class. I would back that Maidana to beat 9/10 current Welterweights convincingly.
Weight loss and fitness aside, the rematch is an interesting one that favors Maidana. Generally, power sticks around longer than pure speed, and Maidana’s boxing style has typically allowed for breaks to recoup energy. The power punchers need to land less often and rely on a different type of pressure to the speed-based fighters like Pacquiao or Khan.
Brawlers like Maidana tend to keep their explosive power for longer, but experience a drop in activity rate as they age. Khan’s stamina, speed, and work rate have also dropped, which is more of a problem for his style.
Maidana was known for being solid, having never been stopped. Khan, on the other hand, has a suspect chin which is perfect for Maidana who built his career on bullying and knocking guys out.
In their first fight, Khan did a fantastic job and outboxed Maidana convincingly early on. As the fight went on Maidana started to hurt him more and more and Khan admirably weathered the storm to get a unanimous decision win. At this stage, had both fighters remained active continuously since they first, I would give the nod to Maidana in the rematch.
The effects of ring rust can’t be overstated though and six years is an exceedingly long time. If Maidana can get his fitness levels to anywhere near 41-year-old Pacquiao’s level, get the right amount of top-level sparring in and has a tune-up fight with a real boxer, I really fancy his chances against Khan this time. If it goes ahead, it definitely makes our must-watch list for the year.
Who do you guys have between Khan and Maidana? Let us know in the comments below!