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Amir Khan ’emulates’ Manny Pacquiao qualities in fifth-round victory over Zab Judah for IBF title in Vegas

Amir Khan’s dominant display on a night he was expected to be tested by the skills and vast experience of Zab Judah, bore all the hallmarks of his training partner Manny Paquiao, according to Khan’s trainer Freddie Roach.


Khan added the International Boxing Federation light-welterweight title to his own World Boxing Association version of the10st crown in a scintillating, dazzling performance. Yet more than that, the 24-year-old added to his burgeoning reputation in the United States.

It doesn’t come much better than comparisons with eight-weight world champion Pacquiao.

This was a new maturity from Khan, showing patience and composure, his timing perfect. He picked his punches with a perspicacity which left Judah perplexed and bewildered after just three rounds. There was no escape for the multiple world champion from Khan’s rapier attacks.

Judah was never allowed to gain a foothold in the fight, and while the New Yorker has a reputation himself for fast hands, he was made to look every bit a decade older by Khan’s clever in-out attacks and combinations.

The Briton landed 61 of 284 punches thrown, while Judah found the target with 20 of his 115 shots. Khan claimed the spoils in the first four rounds by a comfortable margin.

By the fifth round, caught by a right hand to the head and, as the pair went into the clinch, buckled to the midriff with a ramrod right uppercut on the waistband of his shorts, Judah took a knee claiming a low blow.

It was marginal. Judah was hurt, blood seeping from his nose and his lip, his left eye marked. His face showed distress, but more importantly, his will had been broken. Judah stayed down as referee Vic Drakulich administered the count to 10.

Judah remonstrated with officials afterwards, claiming he thought he was getting a breather for a low blow. But he was looking for a way out, in dangerously deep against a fighter who grows with every outing.

“Amir emulated his hero Manny Pacquiao in there, and there are similarities in speed and power between the two,” said Roach.

“They are becoming comparable. Manny is a great role model to have. We had worked on that [body] punch in training camp over and over again. Amir knocked the wind out of me 100 times in camp, on the mitts, but we also worked on his patience.

“If Amir had gone in there recklessly, Judah throws that dangerous left uppercut with real power, so we had to be careful.” Khan’s handspeed makes him a potent threat to anyone out there, even the outstandingly skilled Floyd Mayweather Jnr, the sweetest boxer of this generation.

“Mayweather is a whole different kind of cat,” reasoned Roach. “The gameplan would be different, as he’s more of a counter-puncher. We need a long training camp for that.

“But there is no doubt in my mind that we could beat Mayweather today, even though he is a very good boxer, very slick. Amir’s greatest weapon is his speed, and his power is coming.

“Speed is the greatest asset in the world. And Amir knows how to use it.” Khan, who will have earned in the region of £2 million for his efforts, but capturing the American market remains the bigger prize in the longer term. This had all the razzamatazz required.

“My aim is to move up the pound-for-pound rankings and to one day be pound-for-pound champion,” explained Khan.

“The Mayweather fight is something I’m looking at for the future and it would be huge for me. I’ve got the speed and the skills and with Freddie polishing me up a little more, it’s a fight we can win.”

The Olympic silver medallist will now choose from four potential opponents before opting for Mayweather, which could even to take place in Britain.

“I’ll take a look at the short list,” he said. “I’m still a fight or two away from Mayweather yet. I’m only 24 and there’s a lot of improvement to come.”

Khan will return to action in December, with two dates being considered, back in the United States. In the frame are Timothy Bradley, holder of the WBC and WBO 10st belts and unbeaten in 28 contests, Mexican great Erik Morales, the former multiple-world champion, or the winner of Robert Guerrero and Marcos Maidana, who meet in August in California.

Bradley would be the perfect opponent for Khan if he is to clean out the division, before stepping up to welterweight.

Yet, as ever, boxing politics could preclude the two men coming together in a ring. Earlier this year, a contract with Bradley fell through, and at present, Bradley has no promoter, no date for his next contest, and is in a legal case.

It is a contest Roach favours. “The Bradley fight would be good. It’s a dangerous one, because he uses his third weapon — his head — but we’d keep him at distance.

“He’s a tough, tough guy, a very hard person, and it would be a competitive fight.” However, Richard Schaefer, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, Khan’s US handlers, insisted to The Daily Telegraph that “there would be no waiting around for Bradley to mess about”.

“If he takes the fight with Amir in December, fine. But if not, we move on. Why should we wait around to fight him ?

“Amir is reaching the prime of his career, and we want him fighting regularly in the biggest challenges out there for him.” For Khan, for now, mission accomplished.

Who’s next for Amir Khan?

Timothy Bradley: The WBC and WBO light-welterweight champion, unbeaten in 28 contests, with whom Khan Promotions and Golden Boy could not finalise a deal earlier this year. Bradley has no promoter at present, no date for his next contest, and is in a legal case. Bradley would be a good test for Khan. Unbeaten, very tough and, for Khan’s credibility, the best opponent.

Roberto Guerrero/Marcos Maidana: The pair meet on August 27 in California, in an eliminator for the WBA light-welterweight title. Khan defeated Maidana (pictured) in the ’Fight of the Year’ in 2010, coming through a torrid 10th, to win a unanimous points decision. A rematch would be a chance for Khan to stamp his authority. Should Guerrero win, Khan versus the Mexican would be a thriller.

Erik Morales: At 34 the oldest of Khan’s potential opponents, is a vastly experienced Mexican who has won seven world titles in five weight divisions, and has beaten 15 world champions. Defeated by Maidana on a majority points decision in April, but made the Argentinian look one-dimensional.

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