Amir Khan, left, exchanges words with trainer Angel Garcia, far right,… (Victor Decolongon / Getty…)
Amir Khan knew the recent history of his July 14 opponent Danny Garcia -- victories over veterans Nate Campbell, Kendall Holt and Erik Morales – and little more before Monday.
Then Garcia’s father and trainer, Angel Garcia, stood up on the L.A. Live ESPN Zone news conference dais and proceeded to call Khan “overrated,” mocked the Brit’s fighting style and said he was “whipped like an octopus” in his last bout.
Suddenly, Khan perked up.
“Worst thing he could’ve done,” Khan said. “His son will suffer for his actions.”
Khan (26-2, 18 knockouts) opted to fight new World Boxing Council junior-welterweight champion Garcia (23-0, 14 KOs) at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas after Khan’s scheduled May 19 rematch against World Boxing Assn. and International Boxing Federation champion Lamont Peterson was canceled due to Peterson’s positive drug test for synthetic testosterone.
“He’s getting his biggest pay day because of me,” Khan said of Garcia.
Khan-Garcia, to be televised by HBO, has the potential to be a three-belt unification match too.
Asif Vali of Khan Promotions said that if the Nevada State Athletic Commission denies Peterson’s appeal for immediate reinstatement, Khan will move to have the Washington, D.C., athletic commission rule Peterson’s controversial December victory by decision over Khan a no-contest.
Or Khan will ask the WBA and IBF to vacate the belts, giving them to the July 14 winner. Peterson admitted after his positive test result that he began using synthetic testosterone one month before fighting Khan in December.
Who will win Khan-Garcia was a strong point of dispute Monday.
Khan kept quiet about the elder Garcia’s outburst until he was summoned to talk.
“When I beat your son, will I still be overrated?” Khan asked Angel Garcia. “I promise you all: I’m going to beat … Danny Garcia. I’m too smart, big and strong for you guys.”
Afterward, Khan told reporters, “I don’t like the way his dad disrespected the sport. There’s one thing to be confident, another to be scared. He’s scared.
“My last five opponents could beat him. And when he says I haven’t fought anybody, who has he fought? Old guys. I would’ve knocked Morales out.”
Philadelphia’s Garcia, 23, contends Khan, 25, lacks the power to hurt him, and claims Khan’s speed asset doesn’t matter “because he doesn’t have good timing.”
When told Khan is projecting a knockout, Garcia said, “I’m saying the same thing, so I guess it’s going to be a fight. People will believe me before him, because he’s been knocked out before,” by Breidis Prescott.
Khan said beyond the motivation of Garcia’s taunts, he’s energized by his new conditioning coach, Ruben Tabares, who replaced the fired Alex Ariza, who coaches Manny Pacquiao.
“Alex left my camp in the middle, and said Manny said it was OK to leave, but I didn’t, and I was his No. 2 fighter,” Khan said of Ariza. “My new strength coach is down to earth. He doesn’t want his name mentioned, and he understands” Khan trainer “Freddie Roach is the boss.”
Khan said this fight too, will have pre-fight drug-testing, operated by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
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