By Kieran Mulvaney
There was some talk, before Amir Khan stepped into the ring with Danny Garcia at the Mandalay Bay on Saturday night, that with a victory he could not only erase last December’s controversial loss to Lamont Peterson, but potentially even set himself up for a December megafight with Floyd Mayweather.
One huge counter left hook from Garcia was all it took to blow that idea to pieces.
Suddenly it is the undefeated but unheralded Garcia who is talking about the big money fights, and Khan who is looking at a career that has suddenly reached a crossroad.
Khan started brightly, landing long right hands behind a swift and stiff jab. The difference in hand speed was apparent, Khan’s immense advantages making Garcia’s punches look ponderous and painfully slow. But Garcia, despite looking slightly overwhelmed in the early going, kept his composure. Although a Khan left hook opened a cut by his right eye, his defense was tight, and as the minutes ticked by, he almost visibly grew in confidence.
In the third, Garcia gave up trying to exchange combinations with his speedier opponent and began targeting his body with thudding shots. But it was a shift back to Khan’s sometimes suspect chin that paid dramatic dividends.