Posts Tagged ‘ Mandalay Bay ’

Amir Khan at Crossroads After Fourth-Round Loss to Danny Garcia

Kevin Mitchell for The Guardian

Amir Khan does not lack for friends. They gathered around him in impressive numbers in the small hours of Sunday morning after the second shocking stoppage loss of his career – this time at the hands of the strong young Philadelphian Danny Garcia in four rounds at the Mandalay Bay on Saturday night – and it seems not only will he fight on but he will be encouraged to do so by those who write the cheques as well as the condolence cards.

How wise this sympathy is might become clearer when they have time to reflect on the consequences of their loyalty. Khan will have to start again.

If he has the stomach for it, fine. If he finds some discipline to go with his courage and talent, fine. If he could buy a new chin, even better still.

But boxing rarely allows fighters to write all their own story. It seems unlikely that Khan will get a rematch with the unbeaten Garcia, a fine champion but the son of an intransigent father, Angel, who wants to move on, declaring Khan “an old pair of shoes”. It was a remark as cutting as were his pre-fight barbs, which had strong racial undertones and which got to Khan, according to his trainer, Freddie Roach.

This WBA/WBC light-welterweight unification bout defeat was a bad loss. It was bad for quite a few reasons. Not only did Khan, reinstalled as the WBA champion at 10st, lay down a beautiful gameplan in the first two rounds then rip it up, but the chin that Breidis Prescott famously exposed inside a minute in Manchester four years ago again looks a liability.

Khan did not lose just because he was angry. He lost because Garcia survived a ferocious battering for two rounds then got him with a peach of a counter that unravelled his senses. He lost because he boxed poorly – and he knows it.

The punches that felled him were heavy and arrived unseen – a left hook behind the ear in the third round, a glancing right that relieved his unsteady legs of their power at the start of the fourth then another arcing hook from the left that thumped the top of his head to finish it 32sec from the end of a fierce, thrilling stanza.

He was not counted out; indeed he would have fought on until dawn. But he would have been badly beaten up had Kenny Bayless, a sound referee, let it continue.

Khan went out swinging, but he should have gone out boxing – and winning. Too often, as Roach, the boxer’s father Shah, and his American promotional partner Richard Schaefer, agreed afterwards, he is unable to resist a war.

He is some entertainer. But he entertains disaster – especially when he lets the fire in his belly burn through his arms without constraint.

As Roach said while Khan was undergoing routine checks in hospital: “The plan was to counterpunch, use the jab, but Mr Garcia got under his skin, and his heart got in the way. Amir says he will be back. Hopefully Garcia will come to England and we will fight him over there.”

From what Angel Garcia said afterwards, there is no hope of that. “Why should we?” he screamed. “He is like an old pair of shoes that you throw out. Who needs him now?”

Cruel? Well, Mr Garcia is a pretty uncompromising character – and a roadblock to a rematch.

Schaefer, the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, was still supportive, though. “I agree with Freddie. Amir will be back. He’s an exciting fighter, one of the best pound for pound. He likes to entertain and the public like to see fights like that. We will let him rest and see what opportunities are out there for him at 140lb. Sometimes his balls are too big for his own good, but that’s what makes him the fighter he is. It doesn’t mean we have to write off Amir Khan. Who wouldn’t want to see him again?”

Shah Khan added: “He’s got a big heart and wanted to get engaged. All he had to do was stay one step away, but that’s the way he is. He’s OK, no worries, just getting a check-up in hospital. The Americans love him, Mandalay Bay love him, HBO love him. He’s not one of those guys who hides away.”

Yet, for all the kind words and promises of rehabilitation, Khan is a beaten champion for the third time in his career. That’s a worrying cycle of events. And for the second time, he has been physically taken apart.

The doubly disappointing aspect to the evening for Khan was that he had it pretty much all his own way for two-and-a-half rounds. He carved bleeding bruises in Garcia’s right eyelid, cheek and nose. Victory seemed assured.

Then he was felled by a left hook behind the ear – and we were in Prescott territory again. Garcia found the sweet spot twice more, and it was done. “I’m a killer,” Garcia said later.

Before he went to hospital, Khan took a quick look at the replay. He did not like what he saw. “I was coming in with my hands down and Danny took advantage,” he said. “I respect Danny. He was countering very well against me, I got a little complacent and he caught me. I was a little surprised when the referee stopped it. My mind was clear and my legs were OK. I respect the commission and the officials. Who knows? Maybe they made the right call.”

They did. Without question.

The other loss on his record – a controversial decision to Lamont Peterson in Washington last December – was seemingly forgiven by Golden Boy Promotions, HBO and the public – especially when Peterson failed a drug test.

Khan had tremendous backing on Saturday night. But talk of a super-fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr in London next May is no longer relevant.

Whatever Schaefer says, Khan will have to reconstruct his career from the bottom up. There will be no immediate world title fight. It will be against a lesser foe, someone he might struggle to feel motivated against – and that is another danger for him. He lives on the adrenaline of the big occasion – and, on Saturday night, it flooded his brain with foolishness.


Lamont Peterson to Lose Titles and Chance of Rematch with Amir Khan

By Kevin Mitchell for The Guardian

Amir Khan’s rematch with Lamont Peterson was officially cancelled last night and the American will almost certainly be stripped of his world titles over a failed drug test when he goes before the Nevada State Athletic Commission on Tuesday.

Khan is likely to fight on 30 June for the World Boxing Association and International Boxing Federation light-welterweight titles he lost to Peterson in Washington last December. The former champion will return to Bolton on Saturday and await the announcement of his new opponent.

It is an anticlimactic turn of events for Khan, who confirmed on Twitter: “The fight is off! sorry everyone the only person to blame is [Peterson].” He was desperate for revenge over the American, who rose from living on the streets of Washington with his brother as an abandoned waif to being warmly embraced as one of the sport’s most heart-warming heroes. That fairytale now lies in tatters.

When Peterson’s team flew from Washington to Las Vegas on Tuesday it was to argue that the presence of a banned synthetic substance resulted from the “inadvertent” use of pellets designed to counter low testosterone levels.

The Nevada commission’s executive director, Keith Kizer, said beforehand it would take some “really enlightening” new evidence to persuade the commission that Peterson should be granted a licence to box in Nevada. Nobody thought that was going to happen and last night the promoters called it off.

Even before their plane had landed, sentiment had swung away from the likable Peterson. He had left his supporters disappointed – and Khan without a credible opponent.

The drama of the past couple of days reached another high point on Wednesday when the commission released details that Peterson tested positive before challenging Khan before Christmas in his home town. It was a fight of rolling controversy but recent developments have overridden even those rows about questionable refereeing and the mysterious appearance at ringside of the man who came to be known as “The Cat In The Hat”, Mustafa Ameen.

Referring to Peterson’s positive test for excessive levels of testosterone, Kizer said: “He and his team say it was inadvertent. We consider it dishonest. We have to go through the proper procedures, not least with reference to the chairman [of the commission, who has the final say on granting a licence], but we can see no alternative to refusing him a licence.”

Asked about Peterson’s pre-fight declarations in support of stringent drugs-testing, Kizer replied: “Isn’t it always the way with athletes who [test positive for] drugs? We would have loved to have Mr Khan fight here on the 19th but clearly that is not possible. The Peterson team left it too late to inform everybody, ourselves included.

“I feel sorry for Mr Khan and all the undercard fighters who will not now be paid, as well as all the fans who bought tickets and made travel plans.”

It is estimated as many as 4,000 British fans have already booked flights, hotels and tickets – Khan’s biggest ever contingent of support since he moved to the US to fight under the tutelage of Freddie Roach. He has grown in popularity, with local fans and with the powerbrokers of the game, from Golden Boy Promotions, to the commissioners.

“Hopefully we will have Mr Khan back here in June,” Kizer said. “He is always welcome here. We have informed the Washington commission and I suppose they will invalidate the result [of the fight in December]. It’s certain we would have been doing so had it taken place in Las Vegas. I suspect the World Boxing Association and the International Boxing Federation will strip Mr Peterson of his titles.”

Khan tweeted: “Let’s hope the right thing will be done.” He added: “Boxing is a dangerous sport a toe to toe battle someone can seriously get hurt especially with an unfair disadvantage, we need to put a stop to this, I still believe they are my belts.”

The options for Khan are many and varied. He may contemplate another go with a fellow Golden Boy client, Marcos Maidana, whom he beat in a belting affair at the Mandalay Bay. Zab Judah, whom he beat at the same venue, is likely out of the picture as he is trying to negotiate a fight with Juan Manuel Márquez, but the unbeaten Philadelphian star Danny García would fancy his chances.

Whoever it is, it will not be the opponent Khan was desperate to fight.

Lamont Peterson, Amir Khan Set Fight

By Dan Rafael for Espn

Unified junior welterweight titlist Lamont Peterson and former titleholder Amir Khan will meet in a rematch at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas on May 19, a little more than five months to the day after their all-action first fight went down as one of the most controversial bouts of 2011.

“Everyone is very pleased that this is Lamont’s next fight,” attorney Jeff Fried, who represents Peterson and Barry Hunter, Peterson’s trainer/manager and father figure, told on Thursday after the deal had been signed. “It was challenging for a variety of reasons, including some of the post-fight antics undertaken by Khan. But at the end of the day, Lamont and Barry had a singular focus on what is in the best interest in Lamont Peterson and his family, and that is what drove this deal getting done.”

England’s Khan (26-2, 18 KOs) came to Peterson’s native Washington, D.C., to defend his belts Dec. 10 and lost a split decision in a fight filled with great action but marred by questionable officiating, issues over the scorecards and an unauthorized figure at ringside.

“Both sides are signed, but this has been one of the most difficult negotiations I have had for any fight I have ever been involved with,” said Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer, who has negotiated dozens of major fights. “There was a lot of back and forth, but it all ended good in getting this fight done. I think it’s one of the most anticipated rematches. It’s the right fight for Lamont and the right fight for Amir, and I’m really excited both parties agreed to do this fight.”

Peterson accepted the deal from Golden Boy, which handles Khan, for the rematch even though Top Rank’s Bob Arum had been wooing Peterson, a promotional free agent, for a fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, which he hoped to put on at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Peterson, who earned $650,000 for the first fight and rejected a $1 million offer for the rematch shortly after the first fight, will make “substantially more than $1 million,” Fried said, although he did not divulge the terms.

Khan, who has a contract with HBO in the United States and Sky in England, brings substantial money to the fight but wanted the rematch so badly that he gave 50 percent of the worldwide revenue that the fight will generate to Peterson.

“We offered 50-50 because that was how much Amir wanted this fight,” Schaefer said. “There were times where it looked like we were close to getting it done, but it was a drawn out process. But in the end it was not a sanctioning organization, a TV network, the media or fans who made this rematch. It’s the fighters who wanted to get the fight done. It was Lamont Peterson saying he didn’t want to fight anybody else except Amir Khan and it was Amir Khan saying he wanted to fight only Lamont Peterson. That is what makes fights.

“The truth is both fighters had other options. But it really came down to what they wanted most. For both guys, other options might have been more lucrative, but it was not really only about the money. They realized the right thing to do was to fight each other again.”

The refereeing was the most controversial aspect of the December fight. Khan had two points deducted for pushing — an almost unheard of foul call — in the seventh and 12th rounds by Washington-area referee Joe Cooper. Without the deductions, Khan would have retained the belts via unanimous decision.

Khan complained that while he was docked points for pushing, Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs) was never warned for leading with his head. Golden Boy also raised questions about judge George Hill’s scoring of the seventh round, which appeared to read 10-10 but was crossed out to read 10-8 in Peterson’s favor.

Then there was the much-publicized issue of the so-called ringside “mystery man,” who turned out to be Mustafa Ameen, who is affiliated with the IBF and had a credential arranged as a courtesy from the organization, but was not at the fight in an official capacity. However, he was seen on video at ringside apparently touching the scoring slips, which is against the rules, and distracting a judge. He was later seen in the ring apparently celebrating with the Peterson team after the fight.

It all led to Khan protesting the decision to the sanctioning bodies and harsh words were exchanged between the camps. But now all of that should only add to the interest surrounding the rematch, which will headline HBO’s “World Championship Boxing.”

“May the better man win,” Schaefer said. “It will be one of the most talked-about fights of the year. This is one of those fights people wanted to see and I am happy we can deliver it to the fight fans. I will say this, Jeff Fried deserves a lot of credit for helping us get this done.”

Schaefer said he is close to finalizing the co-featured bout for the card, which would also take place in the 140-pound division: Lucas Matthysse (29-2, 27 KOs), the hard punching contender from Argentina, against former lightweight titleholder Humberto Soto (57-7-2, 34 KOs) of Mexico, who is now fighting as a junior welterweight.

“I am almost done with that fight and HBO is licking their chops on this fight,” Schaefer said. “Those two fights as a doubleheader is probably the best 1-2 punch HBO boxing has delivered in a long time.”


Amir Khan Can’t Get Floyd Mayweather Out Of His Head

By David Anderson for The Daily Mirror

HE may have taken a couple of wrong turn here and there, but Amir Khan insists he is on track for a 2012 showdown with Floyd Mayweather Junior. Just as Ricky Hatton became obsessed with Pretty Boy, so Khan can’t get him out of his head.

Freddie Roach may have floated the idea of a possible clash between Khan and his pal and gym-mate Manny Pacquiao, but Mayweather is the one he wants.

Khan’s plan was to unify the light-welterweight division against Timothy Bradley in his July 23 date before stepping up to face Mayweather at welterweight next year.

His plan took a hit when Bradley refused to honour their agreement to meet and instead the Bolton fighter will take on IBF champ Zab Judah at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay.

Khan says fighting Judah is not too much of a detour from his path towards Mayweather and reckons they could still meet next year.

His new plan is to beat Judah, have one more fight in the autumn before taking on the winner of Mayweather v WBC welterweight champ Victor Ortiz in 2012.

Khan is convinced Mayweather will beat Ortiz on September 17 in what will be his first fight for nearly 18 months and then their paths will finally meet.

“I’m hoping to get Zab Judah out of the way and look good against him, then get one more fight at the end of the year,” Khan said. “Then I’d like to fight the winner of Ortiz-Mayweather, maybe next year.”

Khan could get his wish and Mayweather is currently with his US promoter Golden Boy, which removes one massive hurdle from the negotiations.

As ever with Mayweather, it all comes down to money and if he feels he would get enough from fighting Khan, he will take on the Athens silver medallist.

Khan will have to get in line, though, and there is the small matter of Mayweather v Pacquaio which is still unresolved.

Some of the bitterness between the two camps has gone and that megafight is looking more likely than it has done for 18 months. Khan may have to wait his turn and Pacquiao would love a showdown with Pretty Boy to be his swansong.

Khan can wait and as we keep having to remind ourselves, he’s still only 24.

He’s still developing under Roach’s tutelage at the Wild Card gym and maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing if he had time to improve even more before facing Mayweather.


Amir Khan Does Enough to Retain Title

By Lance Pugmire for The LA Times

Amir Khan stood on his greatest American stage Saturday, and the fact that he remained standing is why he retained his World Boxing Assn. junior-welterweight world title against Marcos Maidana.

Withstanding a brutal 10th-round assault by the tough, hard-hitting Argentine, England’s Khan convincingly answered allegations that he has no chin and otherwise produced a sensational display of speed and flurry punching to win a unanimous decision by scores of 114-111 (judges Jerry Roth and C.J. Ross) and 113-112 (Glenn Trowbridge).

“I’m a boxer, I know I’m going to get hit.” Khan, 24, said in the Mandalay Bay ring. “He’s a strong puncher. I took everything he gave me.”

Khan (24-1) knocked down Maidana in the opening round, unleashing a quick flurry that closed with a hard left to the body that brought an obvious groan of pain from the challenger.

Maidana (29-2), who had knocked out 27 opponents, couldn’t match Khan’s punching or foot speed, but he did catch the Briton of Pakistani heritage often, like in the second round, when he erupted with uppercuts and rights.

Maidana threw 767 punches to Khan’s 603, but landed only 156 to Khan’s 273. Khan won four of the first five rounds on the judges’ scorecards.

Maidana’s response was pressure that backed up Khan in the sixth and seventh rounds, and dimmed some of the champion’s earlier shine.

The eighth and ninth rounds went Khan’s way and he appeared en route to quieting the critics who still bark about his first-round knockout loss in 2008, producing a resilient, entertaining style that the sport has needed from a young star who previously fought in Europe and first came to the U.S. earlier this year.

This was more than that polite introduction; it was an all-out brawl that produced the epic 10th round in which Maidana appeared poised for a knockout in the first minute.

Maidana staggered the champion to the point he was grasping for support from anywhere — a ring rope, referee Joe Cortez, Maidana — to stay upright.

At one point, it appeared tears were coming from Khan’s eyes as Maidana battered him without abandon. All three judges scored the round 10-8 for Maidana, astounding given that Khan was not knocked down.

The sense afterward was that Khan was more thrilled by his display of toughness than his defensive lapses.

“I’m sure everyone watching my fight knows I’ve made mistakes,” Khan said. “But I worked hard and came back stronger than ever. He’s a strong fighter and punches hard. My chin was tested and I proved today I’ve got a chin.”

Maidana couldn’t get Khan in the 11th round, either, and the champion rallied late in the 12th round with impressive combinations, walking with his arms raised into the embrace of trainer Freddie Roach at the bell.

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