By John J. Raspanti - Amir Khan returns to the ring July 14 for the first time since his controversial loss to Lamont Peterson, to face WBC junior lightweight titleholder Danny Garcia in a 12-round fight at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas , Nevada .
Garcia (23-0, 14 KOs) captured the WBC belt by defeating future Hall of Famer Eric Morales last March in Houston , Texas .
(26-2, 18 KOs) was scheduled to fight Peterson in a rematch on May 19
at the Staples Center in Los Angeles . However, Peterson tested positive
for a substance consistent with a steroid (synthetic testosterone)
forcing the cancellation of the bout. Instead Khan will now face Garcia,
who jumped at the chance to face the former champion.
24, struggled at times with the aging Morales. The Mexican legend was
able to tag him repeatedly with right hands. Garcia knocked Morales down
in round eleven, but was unable to finish the former champion. Before
facing Morales, Garcia defeated former light welterweight champions
Kendall Holt and Nate Campbell.
Khan, 25, is motivated to win
another title. He first captured the WBA world lightweight belt in 2009
by defeating Andriy Kotelnyk. Two years later, he knocked out Zab Judah
to win the IBF version of the championship. Even with Peterson testing
positive for steroids, many felt that Khan’s loss was dubious at best.
His risky decision to fight in Peterson’s hometown came back to bite
him. His languishing on the ropes and allowing Peterson to outwork him,
was also a bad strategic move. Referee Joe Cooper inserted himself into
the middle of what was a terrific fight, by deducting two points from
Khan for pushing, a foul call that is rare. The point deduction cost
Khan the fight.
Garcia will have to raise his game if hopes to
defeat Khan. He needs to emulate what Peterson did, by cutting off the
ring and forcing Khan to the ropes. Garcia is stronger, but Khan is
quicker. Khan is the sharper fighter, but Garcia has the edge in power.
Khan will need to use his athleticism and stick to his game plan. Garcia
will likely rough Khan up, and force him to fight. The defending
champion and his father have been critical of Khan since the fight was
"Everybody says he's fast and all that, but he reaches
a lot with his punches and I think that's where he goes wrong,” said
Garcia during an international press call. “If he wants to fight then we
can fight. If he wants to box then we could box. Whatever he wants to
do, I'm going to adapt in there and make a exciting fight and win.
know that I'm going to hurt him in this fight,” he continued. “He never
fought anyone like me. All of his other fights were setup fights to
make him look good. This fight right here, he is going to have his hands
“Khan is a nobody. He is a fighter from Europe ,” said Garcia’s father Angel. “Danny is an American fighter”
not going to retaliate to Danny’s father or Danny himself,” Khan said
to Boxing Scene’s Jake Donovan. “I’ve been in this situation so many
times. I’m a professional fighter and I’m going to let my fists do the
“In the end it’s only going to be me and him in the ring and I know exactly what I need to do in there,” he said.
should be able to outbox Garcia. His ability to throw accurate
combinations gives him an additional edge. Khan’s suspect chin is always
a concern and Garcia has the power to hurt him. Khan needs to keep his
jab in Garcia’s face. Garcia won’t be hard to find. His inside game is
good, but at this point in their careers, Khan is the better all-around
fighter. He should be able to box his way to a hard-fought unanimous
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