By Jake Donovan
Amir Khan and Danny Garcia finally get to settle their differences in the ring. The pair of top super lightweight fighters both made weight for Saturday’s showdown at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Both fighters weighed in at 139 lb for their HBO-televised main event (Saturday 11PM ET).
Weeks of trash talk have preceded the fight, though mostly coming from the Garcia camp and head trainer Angel Garcia (Danny’s father) in particular. It remains to be seen whether negative publicity still counts as publicity. Industry-wide reports have swirled of slow ticket sales and minimal buzz along the Vegas strip heading into Saturday’s show.
The majority of fans present at Friday’s weigh-in were clearly pro-Khan. The Brit was met with raucous cheers as he stepped on stage, while Garcia was lustily booed. The stare down echoed the sentiment that neither fighter particularly cares for the other, though the afternoon’s festivities went without incident.
The bout will be the first for Khan (26-2, 18KO) since his controversial points loss to Lamont Peterson last December in Washington, DC. The outcome itself was disputed, as Khan scored an early round knockdown but was docked two points for what was ruled as excessive holding.
Casting an even greater shadow on the fight was the buildup to their rematch, which was scheduled for May 19 but canceled after random pre-fight drug testing turned up synthetic testosterone in Peterson’s system.
A deal was struck shortly thereafter for Khan to face Garcia (23-0, 14KO). Still, Khan has been out of the ring for seven months and endured 16 weeks of training camp.
Garcia is coming off of a 12-round points win over Erik Morales this past March in Houston. The unbeaten Philly fighter picked up an alphabet title with the win, but also inherited a mandatory challenger in Ajose Olusegun. Garcia and his handlers were able to avoid that fight when an exception was granted to face Khan.
The fight has now become a unification collision, as Khan was given back one of the two titles he lost to Peterson. The reason cited was the confession of Peterson using synthetic testosterone prior to the first fight, although in his appeal it is also stated that it was done so for medical purposes.
Whatever the case, two alphabet titles are now at stake in the main event, though the winner will have to give up at least one within 10 days following the conclusion of the fight.
The card will feature seven total fights, though Khan-Garcia will be the only bout televised by HBO.
Amir Khan, 139 lb vs. Danny Garcia, 139 lb - 12 rounds, super lightweight
Fernando Guerrero, 162 lb vs. Jose Medina, 162 lb - 10 rounds, middleweight
Jamie Kavanaugh, 135 lb vs. Paul Velarde, 136 lb - 8 rounds, lightweight
Phil Lo Greco, 149 lb vs. Brandon Hoskins, 146 lb - 8 rounds, welterweight
Abner Cotto, 135 lb vs. Juan Montiel, 135 lb - 8 rounds, lightweight
J'Leon Love, 162 lb vs. Joseph De Los Santos, 158 lb. - 8 rounds, middleweight
Daquan Arnett, 153 lb vs. Eddie Cordova, 151 lb - 6 rounds, super welterweight
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox