Amir Khan retained his WBA Light-Welterweight title against Argentina’s Marcos Maidana last Sunday. The 24-year old Briton seemed en route for an easy night, as he felled the South American knockout artist with a vicious body shot in the dying seconds of the 1st round.

But come the 10th round, Maidana landed a looping right to Khan’s head. The reigning champion staggered at the blow. What ensued was a merciless attempt Madaina to finish off Khan. For almost two minutes, the Briton of Pakistani descent took in the best of the Argentian’s punches.

As I watched Khan dance his way around the ring, doing everything humanly possible to keep himself in the fight, the bout reminded me of that Japanese anime/manga, Hajime No Ippo. It seemed as if the 10th round was culled exactly from the action-packed series, with Khan playing the role of a beleaguered Ippo Makonouchi hanging on to dear life.

Watch the rest of the fight here

As the seconds ticked by, an even more frightening image came into mind – that of Z Gorres. Gorres, in similar circumstances, got clipped in the head by a monstrous punch from his Colombian opponent. He survived the final minutes of the last round, only to collapse shortly after the final bell. Gorres undertook a series of brain surgeries, his promising fight career brutally sidelined by a circumstances of this exciting, yet oftentimes cruel sport.

The Guardian’s Kevin Mitchell put it succinctly: “Who knows what toll the 10th round of last night’s fight will take on Amir Khan? He may not discover that for years.” Fortunately, Khan did not collapse after the narrow unanimous decision over Madaina. It speaks much of his conditioning – and fighting heart.

Read “Amir Khan wins his third defence – and a million hearts”

It was an entertaining fight pitting two warriors at the prime of their lives. No quarter was given; the focal point of the match was heart.

Maximus asks: “Are you not entertained?” Indeed we are.

But amidst all the fanfare, all the pre-fight and post-fight hype and the millions of Dollars worth of prize money, boxing remains a modern-day version of gladiatorial combat – a sport that has the terrible potential to maim or even kill.

With the aforesaid facts in mind, I tip my hat off to the prizefighters around the world. I salute you all.

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