By Kevon Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
PAUL McCLOSKEY makes his return tonight with his confidence boosted by making Amir Khan look “ordinary”.
The Dungiven bruiser faces Colombian Breidis Prescott at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast in an eliminator for the WBA world light-welterweight title.
It is his first bout since his tussle with Khan ended in the sixth round when McCloskey suffered a cut eye.
Khan has since comfortably beaten Zab Judah in a contest from which McCloskey, 32, derived a great deal of pleasure.
He said: “He’s got a lot of credit since the Zab Judah fight but I got a lot of messages after that saying it just shows how good I am.
“The feeling in those messages was that, even though Judah was a champion and a deserved one, Amir beat him easily.
“People compared that with my performance against him – a performance in which I made him look like an ordinary fighter.”
The defeat by Khan is the only blot on McCloskey’s 23-fight pro career but he insisted: “I can’t dwell on it.
“I’ve moved on and one fight won’t make or break anybody.
“I will always be disappointed with the way the fight ended – the plan was working perfectly.
“It would have been different had I been getting annihilated but it wasn’t like that.
“There will always be a question mark over the ending and it won’t go away unless it happens again between us.
But Amir Khan is not the only fight out there and Prescott is a real test and one on which I am fully focused.”
Prescott, 28, famously defeated Khan with a sensational first round KO in September 2008 and he will give McCloskey a stern test.
The Irishman added: “I’ve been studying him and seen that he’s boxing a bit more now, but I’ve been concentrating on what I need to do right to win the bout.
“Of course, you have to work on your opponent, but you may leave a gap to be exploited.
“You can rest assured I’ll be doing my utmost in front of my own fans to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
PREDICTION: Prescott certainly brings plenty to the table but I feel that McCloskey will wear him down and win around the eight.