Close range fight is McCloskey’s best hope of beating Khan
Keeping the fight on the inside seems the best strategy to follow if Paul McCloskey is to spring a big surprise and take the WBA light welterweight title from Amir Khan in Manchester on Saturday.
Former WBU light middleweight champion Wayne Alexander is one of a rare few who believe that McCloskey can add a second loss to Khan’s resume and it is 6/1 in the boxing betting that the Irishman retains his unbeaten record.
It is clear that McCloskey is taking a massive step up in class to fight Khan and that he would have never stepped into the ring before with anyone coming anywhere close to the current champion in terms of speed and boxing ability.
However, as long as he can settle into the fight and successfully negotiate his way through the early rounds then he is certainly not without a chance.
Alexander believes that the fact that McCloskey is a southpaw is something that will work in his favour, with Khan never having previously fought anyone of this style.
But this should pose few problems to Khan as his trainer Freddie Roach is sure to have brought many southpaws into sparring sessions to aid his development and improve his skills.
Therefore, McCloskey is going to have to be more than awkward to stand toe-to-toe with Khan and this may mean keeping the fight at short distance.
The fact that McCloskey does have a low defence will leave him open to the jab and Khan’s superior reach advantage will be another reason why he may choose to keep the fight at distance.
But with Khan liable to want to prove a point in front of the UK fans and potentially go looking for the stoppage, there is a chance the fight will develop at short range.
This would suit the European champion who may be more at home attempting to land uppercuts and hooks and with Khan still largely believed to have a weak chin, there is the chance that this approach could lead to some success.
A £30 stake on McCloskey beating Khan by KO, TKO or disqualification would return £240. New customers can sign up here for a free £30 bet.