Khan must pass Garcia test before 147 schemes
Amir Khan is set to meet WBC light-welterweight champion Danny Garcia at Mandalay Bay on the 14th July.
This comes after Khan’s original opponent Lamont Peterson failed a drugs test, seeing their rematch cancelled.
But Khan has been looking past this next fight and weighing up his plans to move up to the welterweight division.
This proved a grave error before the first Peterson fight, which saw the Washington man defeat Khan in the upset of the year to take Khan’s belts to America.
It is imperative that Khan stays focussed on the task at hand so he doesn’t get caught out in another fight he is favourite going in to.
Danny Garcia is unbeaten and fresh from winning the WBC strap of boxing legend Erik Morales via unanimous decision in March.
He will be eager to show his pedigree, as this is his first defence and he will be looking to truly announce himself on the world scene.
But while he has all these attributes, Khan is still the more skilled, quicker technician.
Garcia could not vanquish an aged Morales with a knockout, suggesting that he will probably not knock out a fresher-legged Khan either.
Meanwhile, Khan has knockout victories over the likes of Zab Judah, Paulie Malignaggi and Marco Antonio Barrera.
However, it must be taken into consideration that Khan’s spirits may be down, having trained as hard as he did for his Peterson rematch only to have it cancelled.
Be that as it may, Khan should still have the tools to see off Garcia, likely by decision.
Should he do so, what is next for the boy from Bolton?
He constantly says that he will move up to 147lbs, but it isn’t as easy as that.
Firstly, he must ingratiate himself to the division with an impressive victory over a good, but not necessarily great, opponent.
Fortunately for Amir, welterweight is about the most talent-diluted division going right now.
Victor Ortiz could be an option if he wants to go for a live, active fighter, and southpaw at that.
Sugar Shane Mosley could provide a nice stepping stone as Saul Alvarez showed last month.
It is wise that Khan stays away from Mayweather, Pacquiao, Cotto and possibly Marquez this time around, as he will need to get used to the weight and make adjustments.
That said, Amir does not balloon up in between fights. He keeps himself trim and walks around about half a stone heavier than his fight weight, which will stand in his favour.
He should not lose much speed in his fists as it is his legs that will need bulking up to take the slightly heavier shots, as well as his shoulders and neck.
His best options lie with three fighters: former WBC champion Devon Alexander, current NABA and NABO holder Mike Jones, and Timothy Bradley. Of these opponents, a Bradley fight is the most attractive as there is history from the light-welterweight as to who is the better combatant. But Bradley must get past Manny Pacquiao with his fighting dignity intact to keep this fight viable.
Alexander is coming off a resounding victory over Marcos Maidana, who took Amir Khan all the way 18 months ago.
Mike Jones, much like Danny Garcia, is fairly untested but unbeaten, and a fight with Khan would be a great acid test.
Many critics are asking whether he will be able to handle himself at the heavier weight. There should be no problem; his only knockout loss is far, far behind him and he learned from it that he needed better conditioning. If he can increase his leg mass slightly that should stand him in good stead.
As for how far he can go, Khan should be looking to have one fight and then setting his sights firmly on the top of the division to take on Mayweather, Pacquiao, Cotto or Marquez.
Any of these opponents would be great for Khan, and victories over Cotto and Marquez would heavily increase his stock whilst proving he looks to face the best.
Wins over Pacquiao and/or Mayweather would be on another level though, and would see Khan right up there with Britain’s best-ever boxers, having competed in two divisions saturated with the best talents in world boxing.
One thing is for sure, Amir “King” Khan is looking to become just that – a king, and a legend of boxing.
In order to achieve that he must move up to welterweight and force his way through the politics of match-making to ensure himself the biggest fights before his planned “retirement” when he turns 28.