Former world champ Paulie Malignaggi: Amir Khan better than Ricky Hatton and deserves same respect


Former world champion Paulie Malignaggi believes Amir Khan should be given the same respect in Britain as Ricky Hatton, insisting Khan is the superior fighter of the two.

Khan had impressed in the opening five rounds of Saturday's fight in Las Vegas with Saul "Canelo" Alvarez until suffering the heavy sixth-round knockout that ended his challenge for the WBC middleweight title.

The defeat - the fourth of his professional career - has done little to harm his reputation given he had made such a significant jump in weight, but there is little question a victory would have secured his status as one of Britain's greatest fighters.

Unlike Khan, Hatton is widely considered one of Britain's finest ever after a successful career in which he only lost to Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao before his comeback against Vyacheslav Senchenko.

Malignaggi fought and lost to both Hatton and Khan, however, and is convinced the latter should be held in similar esteem, telling Press Association Sport: "I don't think it's fair (Hatton is more highly-rated in the UK) but perception is reality, unfortunately. I fought them both, I thought Amir was a lot better.

"On a skill basis, what I saw from both guys, Amir was a lot more difficult to deal with."

He continued: "You've also got to understand Amir came to America a lot sooner than Ricky did, so Amir racked up a couple of losses. Amir also fought a lot more fighters than Ricky was able to because Amir came to America a lot sooner.

"Once you come to America you're fighting top fighters. They're not going to let you get away with the guys you're fighting in England, you're going to have to fight constant monsters.

"Ricky came here a little later so he was able to build his record up a little more, he was also able to be loved a little bit more. Ricky deserves a lot of the hoopla he got, but when comparing them, you've got to compare them knowing those differences. There'll never be a right or wrong answer because they're never going to fight, but for me Amir was the best."

Since Saturday's defeat, Khan has spoken of his desire to pursue a rematch with WBC welterweight champion Danny Garcia, who he lost to at light-welterweight in 2012 and whose title he remains the mandatory challenger for.

When they fought the first time, the American stopped Khan in the fourth round, but Malignaggi believes the 29-year-old would be the favourite to avenge his defeat and has even praised him for possessing the world's finest jab.

"If Amir never fought Danny Garcia or (Breidis) Prescott who would you pick to win? Even in a rematch, who would you pick?" Malignaggi, a former WBA welterweight and IBF junior welterweight champion, asked.

"It'd be very hard for Danny to beat him in a rematch, he was losing the fight the first time. I don't think Danny got lucky - Amir should have recognised what was going on - Danny was punching with him.

"(But) Amir has the best jab in boxing. Can you think of a better one? It's definitely one of the top two or three jabs."