By Jake Donovan
It didn’t take long for the war of words to begin between the camps of Amir Khan and Danny Garcia.
The fight was formally announced during Monday’s press conference at the ESPN Zone in Los Angeles, as the two are set to square off on July 14 at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. HBO will televise the 12-round bout, which may or may not have alphabet titles at stake, with a number of rulings pending.
No matter what’s on the line, Khan and Garcia are treating the date as the biggest fight of their respective careers.
Khan (26-2, 19KO) hasn’t fought since last December, dropping a controversial split decision loss to Lamont Peterson. The outcome was disputed on the surface, with Khan deducted two points for what was deemed excessive holding.
A rematch was set for May 19, only for the plug to be pulled after Peterson tested positive for synthetic testosterone in his system during random pre-fight drug testing. With Peterson admitting that he began treatment late last year prior to their December fight, Khan has lobbied for the verdict to be changed to a no-decision and his titles returned.
That matter is still under discussion, as is whether or not Garcia (23-0, 14KO) should be permitted to enter the ring with his alphabet belt still in tow. The Philly fighter won a title in March after scoring a decision over faded and overweight Erik Morales, but took the fight with the condition that the winner would next face mandatory challenger Ajose Olusejun.
The WBC is awaiting rulings on the aforementioned subject of whether Khan will reclaim his championship status prior to this bout. If so, there is a loophole that states unification matches serve as the lone exception for ordered mandatory challenges.
Whatever the case, Garcia is anxious to prove his worth against Khan, regarded along with Tim Bradley as among the top 140 lb. fighters on the planet.
“You haven’t seen the best of me,” Garcia told the crowd and reporters on hand at the ESPN Zone on Monday. “I want to defend my title and on July 14 I am still going to be champ.”
Angel Garcia, Danny’s father and trainer, took it one step further in declaring his son to be the superior fighter.
“Amir Khan is overrated,” insisted the cornerman. “We are coming to fight. My son will still be champ on July 14.”
Never one to bite his tongue, Khan naturally took exception to the remark.
“When I beat your son, will I still be overrated,” Khan immediately fired back.
As has become the standard in recent major fights from Golden Boy Promotions, random pre-fight drug testing will take place. USADA will oversee the testing, serving as a supplement to testing standards already in place with the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments via e-mail.