It's almost too predictable to be true, but Rick Reeno of BoxingScene.com is reporting today that word around boxing is that if the WBA issues an order for junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan to face interim titleholder Marcos Maidana, Khan will vacate his title rather than face the powerful slugger from Argentina.
After the Ortiz win, Maidana's side was putting pressure on the sanctioning body for a shot at Khan. There was only one problem, Dmitriy Salita was the mandatory and his side was ready for an all-out legal war if their title opportunity was given to Maidana.
The WBA gave Salita the first crack - with a catch attached. The winner of Khan-Salita had 90-days to fight Maidana. I hear the sanctioning body will soon issue an order for Khan-Maidana.
This should come as no surprise. I'm not calling Amir Khan a coward or anything, but he has every right to be terrified of a fight with Maidana. Khan (22-1, 16 KO) still has some serious chin questions, and his matchups against nothing but light hitters since the first round KO debacle against Breidis Prescott last year should tell you that as much as they talk about the extra five pounds helping his resistance, they're still not totally confident against big punchers.
And Maidana (27-1, 26 KO) can punch. Victor Ortiz found that out for sure in June, quitting after feeling too much of Maidana's power. Maidana's only loss is a disputed decision against Andriy Kotelink, whom Khan beat in July for the title.
Part of it could also just be money, but there are wrinkles there too. If you look at the names that Khan and Roach have talked about, there's not a single guy in his prime, and two of them aren't 140-pound fighters. Roach has brought up Ricky Hatton, Juan Manuel Marquez and of course, in his most shameless call-out, Erik Morales.
Even if the WBA mandates it, don't expect to see Khan-Maidana. If all goes right for Khan, there will be plenty of title belts in his future, and giving one up to avoid a guy who has danger written all over him is, in its own way, plenty understandable. Khan is all of 23 years old, and while perfect records aren't all they're cracked up to be, a second bad KO at this point could be devastating for his career.
Like it or not, Maidana may be too damn dangerous for his own good in this case.