Amir Khan – Danny Garcia Preview
By Jeff Day: The big Haye-Chisora domestic heavyweight clash this weekend has overshadowed (at least in the UK) what is a quality and genuine world title fight between Britain’s WBA light welterweight king Amir Khan and his WBC counterpart, Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia of Philadelphia (Puerto Rican parentage). Khan has been since been re-instated as WBA champion and so we now have a unification bout on our hands. The IBF have Peterson listed as their champion. They are clearly of the opinion that if they ignore the situation for long enough it will go away!
Article posted on 13.07.2012
The Garcia match was hastily arranged after the Khan-Peterson rematch was cancelled in May due to Peterson failing a post-fight drug test following the first meeting in December. It takes place on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. The 25 year old Khan will attempt to put behind him that loss he suffered last December to Lamont Peterson. Khan ventured to Peterson’s home turf and lost a highly controversial split decision. Amir had two points deducted for pushing his opponent that ultimately cost him his WBA and IBF belts.
What happened afterwards was that Lamont tested positive for ‘synthetic testosterone’ in March although quite why it took so long for it to be made public is somewhat puzzling. Anyhow, Peterson said that he had taken the steroid pellets for medicinal purposes due to having low testosterone. As it was the American that suggested the VADA random testing in the first place, it is hard to believe he could be that stupid and you would like to give him the benefit of the doubt on that basis.
What with the harsh points deductions from referee Joseph Cooper, the man in the hat at ringside and the PED matter, you can certainly sympathise with Khan. The man in the hat was identified afterwards as Mustafa Ameen, an IBF official, but one that was not on duty that night. What he was fraternising with judges on the night is open to conjecture, it just looked ‘dodgy’.
The result means that Khan will stay at light-welter for at least this fight before moving up to 147lbs to pursue a meeting with the currently incarcerated Floyd Mayweather Jr. The cancellation of the Peterson fight meant he had wound down his training camp before having to start once more with the announcement of the Garcia bout. For a world class operator like Amir he should have been able to adjust his focus to the new opponent with little inconvenience.
Khan will no doubt grow into welterweight and then even light-middle. His 5ft 10in frame should carry the weight fine and he will punch with more authority and be stronger for it. His record is 26-2 (18 inside schedule) although the Peterson result could well be changed to a no decision, meaning Amir’s only official loss will be the 54 second defeat to Breidis Prescott nearly four years ago.
That defeat looks more and more an aberration. Prescott has gone on to lose four of his nine fights since that stunning result in Manchester while the Brit has beaten among others Paul Malignaggi (now WBA welterweight king), Marcos Maidana (who subsequently beat Erik Morales) and Zab Judah.
Working under Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach, Amir has showed great maturity and as long as his confidence has not been shaken too much by the Peterson experience he will feel he can do a number on Danny. He has the big fight experience: this will be world title fight number eight for Khan. For Danny, this will be just his second world title bout, the first being his last fight when beating the legend that is Erik Morales.
Garcia is unbeaten in 23, winning them all – 14 inside schedule. You cannot knock an unbeaten record and at 24, Danny will have the exuberance of youth and the confidence of being a champion so that in itself could make this a tricky test for Amir.
If Amir was in any way not ‘up’ for this fight before, then he certainly will be after the classless comments of Danny’s father. He made a comment questioning Khan’s ability to fight as he was a Pakistani. Apparently Mr Garcia has never seen a Pakistani that could fight. He also stated that Amir was overrated etc. etc. The comment he made on race is unacceptable and won’t have done his son any favours. Although the WBA king will be fighting Garcia Jr, he is likely to punch with more venom because of Garcia Snr’s mouthy tirade. If Angel Garcia ever visits Britain, he will find British boxing has a wonderful mix of fighters of various religions and race.
Danny has been a pro just under five years. He was a good amateur. He won the national title in 2006 and is improving all the time in the pro ranks. The question is, is this bout a little too early for him? We shall see.
Khan is not the first British boxer Garcia has faced. In his 16th fight he met Ashley Theophane over ten rounds in Texas a couple of years ago. Ashley gave Danny all he could handle and Garcia got a split verdict in a good fight. I noticed that Garcia seemed to be vulnerable to right hands over the top. There were a number of occasions after jabbing where he dropped his left hand. With Khan’s speed that could be trouble for Danny. Ashley is a good solid pro, but not on Amir’s level.
In fairness to Garcia, he has garnered more experience and is improving all the time. Since Theophane he has defeated Mike Arnaoutis, Nate Campbell and Kendall Holt among others so he is now a more seasoned professional.
He knocked out Arnaoutis in four rounds – flooring him twice in the process. The left hook – for me Danny’s honey punch – doing the damage. He followed that performance up by clearly outscoring Nate Campbell on the Morales-Maidana card in April last year. More rounds. More experience.
On the Hopkins-Dawson card in October last year, Garcia faced Kendall Holt in a world title eliminator. The 30 year old Holt seems to have been around forever and provided Garcia with a real test. I though Garcia had lost the opening two rounds before picking up the pace and outworking the New Jersey man over 12 rounds for an Intercontinental bauble.
The victory propelled Danny into the WBC title challenge against all-time great Erik Morales in March, but when Morales failed to make the weight it was up to Garcia to go take the title from the veteran or the WBC strap would be vacant.
At 35, this was Morales’ 60th pro fight. When Erik turned professional as a super-bantamweight in 1993 Danny was 5 years old! Erik is headed for Canastota without a doubt and Danny had mentioned that Morales was a hero of his that he saw boxing when he was growing up.
I wondered if his respect for Morales would affect his boxing. I thought initially that Garcia was nervous at the start and was slow to take the initiative. Once more Garcia looked a little vulnerable to the right over the top. Once Danny started boxing the man and not the legend, I felt he warmed to the task by the halfway mark.
In round 11 Danny produced a left hook that caught Erik flush and floored him heavily. Had Garcia had more experience and belief he may well have stopped Erik. It seemed that Danny was either fatigued or boxed within himself in the last round rather than take chances trying to finish the veteran. I had Garcia ahead, but not by much and thought he may need a strong last round to ensure the verdict.
For Garcia to win I believe Khan will have to underestimate him, but thanks to Angel Garcia’s mouth I don’t believe that will no longer be the case. I think Khan will be too fast and too accurate for Garcia who may still be a little undercooked at top level and I see a Khan win in round 9.
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