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Boxing Preview Analysis: Amir Khan vs. Paul McCloskey

The cavernous MEN Arena in Manchester, England is the stage for Amir Khan's fourth defence of his WBA light welterweight championship when he takes on tough Irishman Paul McCloskey tonight.

For Khan, this is his first fight since the tough defence in Vegas four months ago when he was rocked a couple of times against the big punching Argentinean Marcos Maidana.

That fight in Vegas for many proved more than Khan's previous three defences put together when in arguably his first fight against a big puncher since the Breidis Prescott shock, he showed character and a chin in securing a tough decision win.

The future at the moment is shining very bright for Khan. Should he get through this bout, a unification fight against the canny American Tim Bradley is being mooted for July in the States so he cannot afford to overlook his Irish challenger.

McCloskey is unbeaten in 22 fights with 12 KOs and is the current European champion. He has also held the British title and holds wins over respected opponents such as Colin Lynes. He also holds a win over Cesar Bazan, a man deemed good enough to challenge Jose Luis Castillo for world honours.

Khan must be the overwhelming favourite. He has by far the more experience in the big fight environment, having won an Olympic silver medal and three successful WBA defences including wins in big fight cities such as New York and Las Vegas.

Although seen by many as a marking time fight, I feel that McCloskey's slippery awkward southpaw style will cause Khan problems. However to be successful, McCloskey will be the one who needs to take chances and I think Khan, once he has worked out the Irishman's style, will begin to take over.

In contrast to his last fight against Maidana, where big punches were exchanged, this I feel could be a tactical and skilled encounter but I think when all is said and done Khan will emerge victorious in a match that could go the whole distance.

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