JOHN BREEN believes Paul McCloskey has developed into his greatest ever student and insists the Dungiven man will shock the world when delivering a knockout blow to WBA champ, Amir Khan, at the M.E.N. Arena tomorrow night.
Unfazed by Khan’s notoriety for his phenomenal hand speed and agility, Breen rates the latest star to emerge from his Central Belfast gym, as the best in the ultra competitive light-welterweight division.
And such a statement is significant from the 2009 Irish ‘coach of the year,’ given the fact that Breen has trained five world champions including Dave ‘Boy’ McAuley (IBF flyweight) and Victor Cordoba (WBA super middleweight), but he has never been as confident in the ability of his fighter than he is now.
Since ‘Dudey’ turned professional six years ago Breen has constantly claimed the Dungiven man will become Derry’s first ever world boxing champion and he believes that, between them, they have orchestrated a ‘master strategy’ to capture the WBA crown.
“All Khan has is hand speed and if Paul nullifies that, then what’s Khan going to do then?” asked Breen last night. “I think Paul punches harder than Amir Khan. I’m not saying I’m not worried about his power, it’s the speed that does the damage.
“The way Paul fights, he can make anybody miss, so we’ll be making Khan miss and punishing him every time he does.”
In the opposite corner, legendary trainer, Freddie Roach has made it a pre-fight ritual to predict the round in which his fighter’s opponent would fall to defeat, but Breen, with unwavering certainty, states only that ‘Dudey’ will win.
“I think Paul McCloskey will out-box Khan, he’ll beat him and if he stops him it’s obviously a bonus.
“I don’t care what Freddie Roach says or predicts, I just know what Paul McCloskey can do and I know he will win the fight, whether he stops him or not.
“I couldn’t be more confident about this fight. Paul has never been as strong; he has done everything that has been asked of him.
“If Paul can beat Amir Khan on Saturday night - a boxer rated one of the best fighters in the world - then Paul will automatically become one of the best fighters in the world.”
A win for McCloskey would certainly send shockwaves through the boxing world and launch the undefeated former British and European champion onto the general consciousness of American boxing fans.
McCloskey has nothing to lose and everything to gain. Regardless of the outcome, he will earn maximum exposure around the world as the fight will be relayed via a time delay to America’s HBO network.
And should McCloskey go the distance and show he can step up to compete with the best in the 10 st. division, this could be just the beginning for the stylish, unorthodox southpaw.
The positivity which engulfs the McCloskey camp would suggest the challenger has a real chance, something which is contradicted by the prohibitive 1/10 bookmakers odds in Khan’s favour.
Indeed, the general consensus among the boxing intelligentsia is that McCloskey is merely a stop-gap in Khan’s pursuit of total domination at 140 lbs but anyone who has watched McCloskey shock the British boxing scene with his demolition of Colin Lynes in Dagenham in 2008 will be drooling at these latest odds.