By Chris Robinson
One dire reality with the sport of boxing is that some of the fights we wish for the most, simply never happen.
I personally have always been interested in a meeting between former junior welterweight champions Timothy Bradley and Amir Khan, but given the latter’s recent loss to Danny Garcia this past weekend in Las Vegas, such a proposition seems even more unlikely now than ever.
Khan, then WBA champion at the time, had offered Bradley the fight last year but the Palm Springs, California native passed on the deal, instead opting to let his contract with Gary Shaw run out so that he could join forces with Top Rank and go after a far more lucrative assignment against Manny Pacquiao.
Khan was a noticeable favorite against Garcia and despite starting off well, he was clipped and dropped in the third round and eventually halted one frame later after absorbing a tremendous amount of punishment and two more knockdowns. Watching the fight intently, Bradley’s trainer Joel Diaz seemed to see the writing on the wall well ahead of time.
“I knew he was going to lose,” Diaz would tell me recently. “I called that fight. Even thirty minutes before the fight, talking to my brother, he said ‘What do you think?’. I said ‘You know what? Danny hits hard and he shoots the left hook with bad intentions. Amir Khan is going to get caught’. Thirty minutes later, there he was, Khan was down.”
Khan is one of the sport’s biggest attractions but his career has taken another hit, as the Garcia fight marks his second consecutive defeat, as he also dropped a split-decision to Lamont Peterson this past December in Washington, D.C.
Offering up a prediction of where the British star may go from here, Diaz was more than just dismissive when giving his take.
“Down,” Diaz said without remorse. “What else is there for him? He thought he was going to beat Danny Garcia.”
What shouldn’t be lost in the aftermath of Khan’s third professional setback is what the victory means for Garcia, the undefeated and rugged 24-year old from Philadelphia who now holds both the WBA and WBC belts.
“You know what? I’m really happy for Danny,” Diaz said respectfully. “They underestimated him. He was an underdog in that fight. You could see the HBO commentators, they had Khan, from the beginning, talking about how great he was, the best 140-pounder. Never hardly mentioned Danny Garcia and there it is; never underestimate an opponent.”
Diaz is presently in Cincinnati, Ohio, as he will be guiding junior lightweight contender Vicente Escobedo into the ring on Saturday night on HBO’s airwaves as he attempts to hand brash WBO champion Adrien Broner his first loss.
Diaz admits that he hasn’t talked much with Bradley since their controversial split-decision victory over Pacquiao last month, but did note that Tim called him the other day to wish Escobedo luck. While telling me last month that the backlash from the Pacquiao fight was too severe for him to enjoy the victory, Diaz has seemed to have gotten past the disappointment and again seems focused on what the future holds.
“I have to ignore all that stuff,” said Diaz. “It’s over; whatever happened June 9th is already in the past. Now we’re going to look in the future. Just keep positive and just keep doing work. Because this is a sport, it’s a business, and it’s a long-term career.”
RECENT SLIDESHOWS - click for more photos
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Nonito Donaire downs Jeffrey Mathebula - Behind the scenes at the HBO card, including a ringside view of Donaire's victory, Kelly Pavlik, Robert Garcia, Bob Arum, Abner Mares, and others
Candid images of Tim Bradley's controversial victory over Pacquiao - A ringside view of the controversial showdown