Amir Khan, Victor Ortiz Win Definitively at the Garden
By Alec Kohut at ringside, MaxBoxing (May 16, 2010) Special to Doghouse Boxing  
Welcome to America, Amir Khan. Tonight, Amir Khan made a statement in the junior welterweight division by dissecting Paulie Malignaggi over 11 rounds and retaining his WBA world championship. Khan consistently beat Malignaggi to the punch and wore his opponent down until referee Steve Smoger stopped the contest at 1:25 of the 11th round, sending the Khan partisan at the Theater at Madison Square Garden into a frenzy.

Any fear that it would be a boring fight of two defensive-minded boxers was quickly dispelled as the two combatants began the opening stanza, throwing punches at a furious toe-to-toe pace. In one of the most exciting rounds of the year, both men threw punches at a furious pace until the bell sounded.

The fighters began to settle in as the second round started and Khan landed a left hook early that snapped Malignaggi’s head backward. Then Khan began to time Malignaggi with sharp rights as the Brooklyn native moved in to punch.

Khan continued to be quicker to the punch, in the third round as well, and he was not allowing the awkward Malignaggi to land with any effect. As the fourth round started, a left hook followed by a right sent Malignaggi backwards and Khan began to land his left jab, which would become a weapon as the fight went on.

Khan was landing more and better punches in the fifth round, when a he dug a hard left into Malignaggi’s midsection, which seemed to cause Malignaggi to drop after moving a step forward. However, referee Steve Smoger deemed the fall a slip, while Malignaggi appeared shaken.

By the middle rounds, Khan was clearly quicker to the punch and began landing even as Malignaggi was backing up. It was in these rounds that Khan was doubling up his sharper left jab consistently when Malignaggi was in retreat. Left hooks were also finding their mark on Malignaggi with great effectiveness.

The angles that Malignaggi has used so often to land clean punches on opponents were not available as Khan’s footwork effectively prevented Malignaggi from gaining any edge in the fight.

By the eighth round, Khan’s bombardment continued and Malignaggi’s face was showing the effects, as a swelling caused a large mouse under his right eye. At this point, Khan’s double jabs became ever more effective, and it started to look as if Khan would soon put him away.

Malignaggi connected with two very good jabs to start the ninth, but a solid straight right seemed to end any hope of a Malignaggi comeback. Khan’s left hooks were now finding their mark more than ever as Malignaggi was crouched in a defensive posture.

The tenth round saw Khan continually snapping his opponent’s head back while a powerful overhand right all but signaled that the end was near. Following the round, ringside doctors took a very close look at Malignaggi before allowing him to continue, but Smoger kept a close eye on him, looking for an opportunity to stop the action. That opportunity came when Khan backed Malignaggi into the ropes and landed a combination and Smoger stepped in at 1:25 of the 11th round, declaring Khan the winner.

Khan improved to 23-1 (17), while Malignaggi dropped to 27-4 (5).

Victor Ortiz tonight put himself squarely into title contention in the junior welterweight division with a technically sound and dominating victory over former lightweight champion Nate Campbell. Ortiz won by scores of 100-89 on two cards and 99-90 on the third for the unanimous ten-round decision, and improving to 27-2-1, 21 by knockout.

The story of the fight was simple: younger legs and faster fists. The combination of the two kept Campbell at bay throughout the fight, and unable to land effective combinations.

The fight began slow as both men felt the other out until the end of the first round, when a clear slip by Campbell was ruled a knockdown. Any controversy that may have resulted from the call was muted as Ortiz methodically took control of the fight.

In the second round, Ortiz began implementing the strategy that lead to his lopsided triumph. Ortiz circled the ring and as Campbell moved close enough, he was measured with a left jab and straight right. As Campbell would look to counter, Ortiz was already a step away.

Ortiz built up points, and by the fifth round, seemed to be gaining confidence and landing more combinations, and throwing more punches before moving out of Campbell’s reach. In the sixth, Campbell finally landed some power punches, and if there were to be a turning point in the fight, this would have to be it, as Campbell connected with overhand rights. But a composed Ortiz did not waiver from the strategy that had built his lead, and continued to stick and move a frustrated Campbell.

From the middle to the final rounds, Ortiz meticulously picked apart Campbell, never failing to use his jab to set up effective combinations. As the ninth round began, a desperate Campbell stalked Ortiz, and scored several hard rights and, on one scorecard, won his only round.

Ortiz said he felt good, “but could’ve stepped it up more.” Yet there was no reason in the final rounds to engage a slugfest when he clearly had built a commanding lead. Meanwhile, Campbell said he felt his hip tighten in the third round, and could not move around as he would have liked.

Both fighters now seem to be headed in different directions; the highly-touted Ortiz has taken another step toward putting the loss to Marcos Maidana well behind him. While at 38, former champion Campbell must access his future prospects. Campbell’s record now stands at 33-6-1 (25) with one no-contest.

Middleweight contender and NABF and NABO beltholder Daniel Jacobs had no trouble manhandling Juan Astorga, en route to a second round TKO. Jacobs landed a clean right hook in the first round that sent Astorga two steps back and to a knee for his first knockdown. Astorga would taste the canvas again before the bell ending the round gave him a brief respite from the punishment.

Jacobs wasted no time in the second round as he again floored Astorga, this time with a left hand to the body. At 51 seconds into the round, referee Steve Willis mercifully ended the carnage.

Jacobs remained unbeaten in 20 fights with 17 KOs, while Astorga, who was coming off a first-round knockout at the hands John Duddy, fell to 14-5-1 (9) with one no-contest.

In a controversial six round split decision Kelvin Price handed New Yorker Tor Hamer his first loss in his 12th professional fight. The difference in the fight was a controversial ruling of a knockdown for Price in the second round. Backing into a corner, Hamer clearly slipped on a Tecate beer logo, but referee Benji Estevez ruled it a knockdown in a round Hamer appeared to be winning.

With two judges scoring the fight 58-55 in favor of Price, had the knockdown been ruled a slip, the fight would have been scored a draw.

Price was the more defensive fighter the first three rounds, throwing punches while backing away from the more aggressive Hamer. The fourth round saw Price taking a more offensive posture and moving forward. While Hamer seemed to be landing the more effective blows, the judges rewarded Price for landing more, if less effective, shots. Both judges who scored the fight in Price’s favor gave him the fifth and sixth rounds.

Price improved to 7-0 (4 KO), while Hamer stands at 11-1 (8).

The only man to beat Amir Khan, Breidis Prescott, scored a third-round knockout over Jason Davis, who retired during the round, due to a hip injury caused by Prescott’s left hand. Columbia native Prescott, now fighting out of Miami, Fl, who scored a first round knockout of Khan in September 2008, now stands at 22-2 (19 KOs). Davis fell to 11-7-1 (3 KO).

Prescott was the busier fighter, became more aggressive each rounds as Davis threw very few punches. Early in the third round, a hard left to the hip dropped Davis. Prescott pounced, sending Davis to the canvas again forcing the end of the one-sided fight at 1:11 of the third round.

Ireland’s Jamie Kavanagh, trained by Freddie Roach was impressive in his debut scoring a second round TKO or William Ware of Tennessee. Kavanagh was the aggressor from the opening bell and backed Ware to the ropes toward the end of round one, where he scored his first knockdown.

After Kavanagh dropped the Ware in the second round with a left to the body, it was just a matter time before referee Sparkle Lee would end the bout. The stoppage came soon after at 1:39 of the second. The loss was Ware’s third in his four pro contests.

2008 National Golden Gloves Middleweight Champion Denis Douglin of Morganville, NJ, began the night’s action with a second round TKO over Joshua Onyango of Trenton, NJ. After Douglin dropped Onyango in the first stanza, he started the second round pressuring the native Kenyan and dropping him twice before referee Sparkle Lee halted the contest at 1:10 of the round.

Douglin improved to 9-0 with 5 KOs, while Onyango dropped to 15-19-1 (12 KO).

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