Can Khan unify the light welterweight division?
Last Updated: July 12, 2012 6:09pm
Amir Khan takes centre stage on Saturday night as he returns to the ring after nearly eight months out.
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" I expect a big performance from Khan. He has had a long time out of the ring but I don't expect him to have any ring rust because I think Freddie Roach will have him in great condition. I am expecting a huge fight from him.
Jim Watt Quotes of the week
Khan takes on Danny Garcia at Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas on Saturday with the WBC and the WBA light welterweight titles up for grabs.
Khan has been reinstated as WBA light-welterweight 'super' champion by the governing body ahead of his fight with Garcia.
The Bolton boxer lost his WBA and IBF belts in a hotly-disputed points defeat to American Lamont Peterson in Washington last December.
Khan, who was twice docked points for pushing during the contest, raised a number of grievances surrounding the result, including questioning the judging at ringside.
Peterson then tested positive for synthetic testosterone - which he claims is for medical reasons - before their scheduled May rematch. Khan will now take on the unbeaten Garcia who beat Erik Morales in March to win the WBC title, and Garcia is determined to upset Khan's comeback.
skysports.com caught up with our esteemed boxing pundits to find out how they see this bout going.
First and foremost, who do you think will win: Khan or Garcia?
Glenn McCrory: I see Amir Khan coming out on top. He's got the speed and Garcia's style suits Amir because he's slow. Garcia's heavy hitting but we don't know how good he is. Maybe he hasn't shown his best yet and has got a massive performance in him, but from what I've seen of him, I think Amir will win by stoppage.
Ed Robinson: Khan. Purely and simply, his speed of hand and foot makes him a very tough proposition for anyone. Garcia is a little too one-paced for someone like Khan.
Johnny Nelson: Khan. Garcia is strong and young but he is coming up against another strong young fighter in Khan. I think Khan is too fast and too busy.
Jim Watt: Khan. I expect a big performance from him. He has had a long time out of the ring but I don't expect him to have any ring rust because I think Freddie Roach will have him in great condition. I am expecting a huge fight from him.
Khan insists he doesn't need to change the tactics he planned on using for the Peterson fight. Is that the right option?
Glenn McCrory: Garcia is a similar kind of fighter to Peterson. Peterson is very much a pressure fighter, he showed that in his last fight where he jumped on Khan and didn't give him any room. Garcia is going to do the same thing, but I just think Peterson is far more of a handful. He's quicker and more aggressive. He probably had some 'assistance' in his fight against Khan but it made him a very ferocious fighter. I don't think Garcia has got that same intensity.
Ed Robinson: Definitely. Garcia and Peterson both sit down on their punches to get some power in them, and Garcia could struggle with Kahn's deft movement. When he lets his combinations go he's so fast; he's out of there before most people get a chance to counter.
Johnny Nelson: No, I don't because looked what happened in that fight. He made an easy fight into a hard one and he needs to learn from that.
Jim Watt: Yes, Khan boxed well at times against Peterson. He boxed very well as a matter of fact. He lost concentration a few times and sometimes a little bit of a macho thinking comes over him and he drops his hands. He boxed well against Peterson, but the two points deductions cost him and we know since then that Peterson put up the performance of his life and could have been on steroids.
Has this fight come too early for Garcia?
Glenn McCrory: I think it has. Also, his father has put a lot of pressure on him with his comments. He's put him in a place where he didn't need to be, and it could affect him on the night. Khan is used to big atmospheres and all that surrounds it, but I think Garcia could resemble a rabbit in the headlights.
Ed Robinson: I don't know whether he's necessarily going to get a much better chance. He was national amateur champion, he's undefeated - he's got to take his chance. Khan hasn't fought yet this year, and has been vulnerable in the past so I can see why Garcia is taking the fight. The only thing is it might have been a bigger fight down the line, because Garcia isn't as well-known as some of the other champions. It's all about levels. Garcia won a close decision against Ashley Theophane, who is a British-level light-welterweight, and got a few points wins over people like Kendall Holt. But they were on the slide, and so was Erik Morales.
Johnny Nelson: I think it may be a little bit too early for him to be in that position. He needs to grow and establish himself and become a bit more of a fighter. He is a good fighter and I don't want to disrespect what he has achieved but I think it is too early for him to hold on to that position.
Jim Watt: I would have liked to have seen him settle into being the champion, get a defence or two under his belt before he faced Khan but his handlers are obviously confident. They honestly think he can beat Khan. I would have thought a couple of defences first to get the confidence of being champion would have been good for him.
Glenn McCrory: I can't see this fight going the distance. I think Khan will stop him. He's got fantastic speed and power. Khan could catch him early as Garcia is quite ponderous, but I think he'll win it in the sixth or seventh round. Khan is going to have too much for him, and if he hits him with a few hard shots the referee is going to have to jump in.
Ed Robinson: I'd say Khan on points. Garcia is a tough, strong guy, and it's the first time Khan will face an undefeated American. In a couple of Khan's fights over Stateside, he's knocked down Marcos Maidana and Lamont Peterson in the first round, and then went life and death with both of them. Khan is one of these people who starts very fast, and it could get interesting if it goes 12 rounds. Garcia might soak it up, and produce a late charge, but I don't know whether he's a hard enough hitter to really give Khan problems. I think Khan will win at a bit of a canter.
Johnny Nelson: I think Amir Khan will stop him in six or seven rounds. I expect a convincing performance from Khan. If Khan does it right then Garcia will make him look good. If Garcia is to have a chance he needs to crowd Khan and con him into a fight. He can do what Carson Jones almost did with Kell Brook over the weekend and wear him down, take the shots, and put the pressure on Khan. But if he tries to box Khan, he doesn't have a chance.
Jim Watt: I think Khan on points. I think the fight can go all the way as I have a high opinion of Garcia. But I am just wondering if he has enough to beat Khan in a 12-rounder and I don't think so. Khan boxes at a terrific pace and throws lots of punches, so if Garcia tries to counter punch against Khan he is going to come second. He is going to have to initiate and take the fight to Khan and I don't know if he is ready for that.