Belfast Telegraph

McCloskey’s power can give him the edge: Nash

By David Kelly

Paul McCloskey is ready to cause a major shock and claim the WBA light-welterweight title, according to former European champion Charlie Nash.

Nash has followed his fellow county Londonderry man from his amateur days and believes those who have World champion Amir Khan has a red hot favourite for their showdown at the MEN Arena on Saturday have got it wrong.

“Of all the guys from our area who I have seen come through, I have always felt that Paul McCloskey would be the one to win a world title,” said Nash.

“I think Paul is in with a great chance against Khan. You saw in Khan’s last fight the number of punches he took against Marcos Maidana and Maidana doesn’t have the skills that Paul McCloskey has.

“I would say the Maidana fight must have taken a lot out Khan, it must have dented his confidence because he tired so badly in the later rounds.

“Paul just has to be very careful in the first four to five rounds because Khan always starts very, very fast and when he throws that jab there are four or five punches coming behind it. Sometimes Paul just likes to slip shots but this time he has to move as well.

“Once it goes into the middle rounds then Paul has a great chance because he will very hard to hit and Khan will tire.

“Khan is vulnerable to a right hook and Paul has shown in recent fights that his power has increased a lot and he throws a very good fight hand.

“Paul’s got that awkward style which makes it very hard to land cleanly on Paul and that will be factor as well.”

Nash knows all about progressing from the European stage to World level having lost a WBC lightweight clash with Jim Watt 31 years ago, but believes McCloskey’s preparation is far superior.

“When I was boxing I was really like an amateur taking on professionals because I never had any professional sparring right up to when I fought Jim Watt for the World title,” added Nash.

“So when you take that into consideration I think I did quite well!

“Paul has been able to bring in sparring and has had professional sparring from the start of his career. That’s a lot different to me but certainly stepping up from European to World level is a big step.

“But you know Khan isn’t that experienced at World level — he won the World title after being knocked out three fights earlier. He’s had three defences since but it’s not like when I fought Jim Watt — he had 45 fights and I only had 21.

“I think it’s going to be very interesting because Paul has more power than Khan.”

Meanwhile, Khan insists that wrangling over the televising of Saturday's fight will not affect his performance.

The fight will now be shown by pay-per-view station Primetime TV after the champion became embroiled in a dispute with Sky. Khan's purse is understood to have been reduced from around £1.2m to around £300,00 but he played down the issue.

“There are going to be times when there are pay cuts,” said the 24-year-old.

“But what drives me is all the training I have done. You know, it's a big lump sum that's been cut but what can you do?

“My job is to get in the ring and fight. I just have to stay focused and bigger paydays will come.”

Primetime is on channel 480 on the Sky digital box and the cost is £14.95

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