Boxing


Roach Says Khan Will Stop Malignaggi - Will Freddie's KO Prediction Come Good This Time?

Amir Khanby James Slater - There is no doubt at all that ace trainer Freddie Roach is one of the best in the business today. There is also no denying the fact that he has at times shown an uncanny knack for predicting the round correctly when suggesting what round his fighter will win in - Roach has done this on numerous occasions; often making good with what were initially seen as outlandish predictions.

However, Roach, for once, was proved wrong back in March. Going into the big Manny Pacquiao Vs. Joshua Clottey welterweight clash, Freddie said his man - the Pac-Man - would "definitely" get the stoppage, "around the 9th-round." Instead, though, the much bigger Clottey went into his shell for pretty much the entire fight and made it to the final bell. Will Roach's latest prediction - that his WBA light-welterweight champ Amir Khan will "walk right through" Paulie Malignaggi - get the trainer back into the win column, prediction-wise?

Okay, making the predictions he does is probably nothing more than a touch of gamesmanship on the part of the owner of The Wildcard Gym, designed to unsettle the rival fighter. But it's still interesting, always, to hear what Roach has to say. Can Khan do what Freddie says he can and stop "The Magic Man" in the later rounds come May 15th?

Though Malignaggi has been stopped before - by Ricky Hatton via an 11-th round corner retirement Paulie himself was not in favour of - he has never been knocked out flat. In fact, this has never come close to happening. As such, Khan, who will be making his U.S debut, will score some impressive statement if he can become the first man to put Malignaggi down and out in New York.

And at a recent media gathering in New York, Roach explained how and why his man will do this.

"We're going to set traps for Paulie, who is not a big puncher and is not dangerous," Roach said recently. "We can take a little more risks with him because he's only knocked out five people. I think our speed and our power will overwhelm him, and that we'll definitely stop him in the later rounds.

"I think that Amir walks right through him. Ricky Hatton walked right through Malignaggi and I know that Amir is better than Hatton."

Of course Roach is correct when he says Malignaggi is no puncher, but to believe he will not be dangerous because of this could be a mistake. What about the superior edge in experience Malignaggi has over Khan? What about the toughness and the ability to outbox opponents the 29-year-old has shown many times? And is Khan really "better than Hatton?" That much is at least debatable.

In the past, a number of fighters - Miguel Cotto, Lovemore N'Dou, Herman Ngoudjo and, most recently, Juan Diaz - felt they'd be way too strong and powerful for Malignaggi, and that they also would stop him. Neither fighter did (although Cotto did win a wide decision). Surprised at the toughness of the fast-talking New Yorker, these fighters, instead of stopping Malignaggi, found themselves being outboxed, hit by fast flurries of punches and even somewhat outclassed (Cotto aside). Could this happen to Khan in May?

Though the 23-year-old from Bolton, UK is as fast as he is powerful, and though his chances of getting the stoppage win cannot be discounted, I think he will find himself being taken into the later rounds next month, with Khan being taught a few lessons along the way. Will Khan grow frustrated when he fails to land his best punches on Malignaggi? Will this frustration grow when he sees round after round pass by?

This is what I feel we will see on may 15th: a close distance fight that may not be all that great a spectacle, but a fight that is often dictated by the older, more experienced man. I'm not saying Malignaggi wins. I am saying he will not be KO'd. And Roach will be 0-2 as far as his latest predictions go!

Article posted on 08.04.2010



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