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Khan says May 15 fight with Malignaggi is official

From Amir Khan's Twitter:

Khan_paulie_twitter_1_medium

Malignaggi hasn't said anything anywhere, but this makes it look like it's a go, which was pretty well expected anyway.

Khan (22-1, 16 KO) will defend his WBA junior welterweight title against Malignaggi (27-3, 5 KO) at Madison Square Garden, which should do a pretty decent house with Paulie pulling most of the weight at the gate. It's an intriguing fight between a couple of guys with a lot of skill and a lot of speed, who both make the most of what they've got when they've got it all working. Malignaggi has looked like a reborn boxer since splitting with ex-trainer Buddy McGirt, putting in back-to-back performances against Juan Diaz that have been his best in a long time.

Khan is coming off of a 2009 that saw him beat Marco Antonio Barrera in a farce of a fight, then win the WBA belt from Andriy Kotelnik with a near-shutout decision. He also overwhelmed unqualified challenger Dmitriy Salita in December, putting the New Yorker away in the first round.

Paulie and Amir both have a lot to prove still, and are jockeying for position in a very competitive junior welterweight division. The winner of this fight has a good argument to be the guy calling at least some of the shots. With Paulie's history of big (or at least fairly big) fights, he's among the division's biggest stars at the cash register. No one ranks Paulie above Timothy Bradley at 140, but he's a bigger name, and there's no arguing that. Outside of Ricky Hatton, who is a bigger star?

It's a risky proposition for Khan, but that's what it has to be. He can't keep taking Salita-level fights, or else he's just going to meet backlash. Paulie is a legit contender who's gotten himself back in the race at 140 and earned his title shot.

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