Amir Khan vs. Marcos Maidana; Khan wins a unanimous but close decision
Amir Khan (24-1, 17 KOs) of England successfully defended his world junior-welterweight title with a close but unanimous decision over Marcos Maidana (29-2, 27 KOs) of Argentina on Saturday night at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Lance Pugmire of The Times was ringside and gave a round-by-round account.
Here it is (scoring is unofficial):
Round 1: Maidana blows off the touching of the gloves to throw a right at Khan. Some big early power by Maidana. Nice response of power by Khan, good rights. Khan's speed is obvious. Good right by Maidana. Big flurry by Khan. Khan ducks an attack. Big jabs and left body blow drops Maidana. He's back up but Khan goes for kill with wicked right landing at bell. Khan wins round, 10-8.
Round 2: Big flurry by Khan. Maidana accepts hard right to face. He can't keep up. Solid combos by Khan to head and body. Jab, jab, jab. Big right by Khan backs up Maidana. Good right by Khan. Maidana keeping elbows low to cover body. Khan wins round, 10-9. Khan leads fight, 20-17
Round 3: Maidana's commitment to this fight is in question as the round starts. Khan ready to attack. Good right uppercut by Khan. Khan reaches long arm to land a right. Maidana suddenly erupts with big blows, though. Good uppercuts. Hard shots that back up Khan. Khan jabs, tries to stick to the plan rather than brawl. Hard right by Khan. Nice right by Maidana. Maidana wins round, 10-9. Khan leads fight, 29-27
Round 4: Khan's jabs set up hard left to Maidana's face. Big right by Khan. Maidana tries to press Khan to ropes. Khan back in middle of ring. Hard uppercuts by Maidana. Khan's chin holding up. Cortez warns of holding. Maidana lands right on break. Good combo by Khan. Good right uppercut by Maidana. Khan wins a close round, 10-9. Khan leads fight, 39-36
Round 5: Good Khan combo leaves Maidana covering. Maidana charges, gets in a good left hook. Nice right by Maidana. Khan allowing the pressure, but not backing away. One point deducted from Maidana for an elbow. He's trying to use dirty tricks. Hard right by Khan. Nice pressure by Maidana at end, but he lost the round and a point, 10-8, to Khan. Khan leads fight, 49-44
Round 6: Maidana pressures Khan into a neutral corner. Big right by Khan. Strong uppercuts and pressure by Maidana. Khan was in some trouble. Maidana's pressure slows. Maidana chasing Khan so hurriedly his right arm gets caught in ropes. Maidana wins round, 10-9. Khan leads fight, 58-54
Round 7: Maidana ducks in and lands a right. Khan at his best when punching away. Good uppercut by Maidana, who's imploring Khan to come at him. Big right by Maidana. Uppercuts by Maidana. Lefts by Maidana. Khan responds. Khan raises his arms, as if to show crowd he can take Maidana's best shots, but he clearly lost the round, 10-9 to Maidana. Khan leads fight, 67-64
Round 8: Khan jabs, uppercuts and backs off. Nice left, right by Khan. Maidana punches on break. Good right by Khan. Maidana not coming forward as often. Khan wins slower round, 10-9. Khan leads fight, 77-73
Round 9: Maidana's corner tells doctor to take a hike between rounds. Some red around Maidana's eye. Great right uppercut by Khan. Now, Khan's active again. Hard right by Khan. Khan lands three jabs. Maidana slips. Brutal flurry by Khan. Maidana can take it. Khan wins round, 10-9. Khan leads fight, 87-82
Round 10: Khan jabs, keeps Maidana away. Hard rights wobble Khan, he's in big trouble. Maidana trying for the knockout. Khan ducks away, Maidana nearly goes through ropes. Khan was destroyed for the last two-plus minutes of the round but amazingly stayed on his feet. How he survived was astounding. Maidana came at him with everything. Maidana wins round, 10-8. Khan leads fight, 95-92
Round 11: Round 10 might have been the round of the year and we still have six minutes left. Khan in defensive mode. Huge uppercut by Khan. Big right by Khan. What a fight! Khan with a combination. Maidana adds some late uppercuts. Khan wins the round, 10-9. Khan leads fight, 105-101
Round 12: Both fighters getting a lot of rest. Referee has blood on his back. Maidana uppercut as round starts. Butting. Maidana to Khan's body. Maidana uppercuts. Maidana roughing up Khan against ropes, hits him in back of head. Hard right by Maidana, who then goes to the body. Hard against ropes. Khan bleeding from nose. Big power shots by Maidana, Khan still upright. Khan pushes Maidana off. Big combo by Khan. Maidana answers. Big flurry by Khan at bell, holds his arms up and embraces trainer Freddie Roach. Maidana wins round, 10-9. Khan unofficially wins fight by decision, 114-111
On to the judges: it's a unanimous decision for Khan. Judges Jerry Roth and C.J. Ross score it 114-111 for Khan while judge Glenn Trowbridge has it 113-112 for Khan.
Photo: Amir Khan delivers a left against Marcos Maidana during their junior-welterweight title fight on Saturday night in Las Vegas. Credit: Steve Marcus / Reuters