Amir Khan is set to take on WBC light-welterweight champion Danny Garcia in the early hours of Sunday morning in one of the most important fights of his career. It has been a tough few months for the Brit and he will be looking to bring the American’s belt back home (Khan 1/6, Garcia 4/1, draw 28/1 – Fight Prices).
Khan began his professional career in superb style, winning the Commonwealth lightweight title at an early age, but it all went wrong against Breidis Prescott back in September 2009 when he suffered his first professional defeat.
The Colombian knocked out the 2004 Olympic silver medallist on that occasion and sections of the media began to doubt whether he had it in him to mix it with the really top fighters in his division.
But after moving up to light-welterweight, the Bolton man won his first world title when beating Andreas Kotelnik at the age of just 22. He won his next five bouts before last December’s controversial fight with Lamont Peterson ended in a points defeat.
But irregularities with the scoring, when the judges were seen to be interfered with, made a re-match look likely and the two men appeared ready to get it on on Las Vegas, before Peterson was found to have failed a drugs test.
Khan was subsequently reinstated as WBA champion and will walk into the ring on Sunday full of confidence and with his reputation intact after Petersen admitted taking drugs.
The talented youngster has made no secret of his desire to win multiple world titles at different weights but, after failing to beat Petersen on the night late last year, he will want to put on a solid display at the Mandalay Bay Convention Centre.
The tension has been building, with Garcia’s father living up to his eccentric reputation at the pre-fight press conference, pulling faces and holding up his son’s belt when Khan spoke.
And his actions clearly riled the Englishman, who said he will “knock Danny Garcia out and win the titles” and then knock his dad out too afterwards if he wants to fight.
While that is unlikely to happen, Khan appears to have the bit between his teeth and will be looking for a rapid conclusion to the scrap (Khan 22/1 – 1st round win).
But Garcia will be no pushover as he owns an unbeaten record going into the fight, with 22 consecutive wins, and he beat Erik Morales of Mexico to claim the world title last time out.
Khan will be a different kettle of fish, however, as the Brit is hungry and eager for more success while it could be argued that Morales is now well past his best.
But Khan will have to be on top of his game to get past the 24-year-old American, who has knocked out or stopped 14 of his victims to date.
The Lancastrian will fancy his chances of sending his opponent to the canvas, as his punching power is undisputed, but question marks remains over his ability to take a punch and he will have to be wary – especially in the early rounds.
But everything points to a Khan victory and it would be no surprise to see him walk off the plane back in England with two belts over his shoulder.