A junior welterweight matchup featuring former IBF and WBA beltholder Amir Khan and newly-crowned WBC titlewinner Danny Garcia has been finalized for July 14 on HBO and will take place at either the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas or at Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, informed RingTV.com on Tuesday.
“I’m going to be working on the two venues now,” said Schaefer. “It’s going to be either at the Mandalay Bay or the Honda Center in Anaheim. It’s an exciting matchup, and I’m very happy about it.”
On the Khan-Garcia undercard, unbeaten heavyweight prospect Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell (25-0-1, 19 knockouts) will pursue his 11th straight knockout against Johnathon Banks (28-1-1, 18 KOs) in a clash of 29-year-olds.
Mitchell is coming off a third-round stoppage of Chazz Witherspoon last month, this, after having scored a second-round knockout of Timur Ibragimov in December.
A traditional sparring partner for Wladimir Klitschko and Vitali Klitschko, Banks has gone 8-0-1, with four stoppages since, himself, being knockout in the eighth round by Tomasz Adamek in February of 2009.
“That’s going to be a great, great double-header. An explosive double-header,” said Schaefer. “Hopefully, we will have the venue wrapped up by tomorrow.”
The pairing of Khan (26-2, 18 KOs), who is 25, and Garcia (23-0, 14 KOs), who is 24, became a necessity after Khan’s intended opponent, Lamont Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs), tested positive for a banned substance.
Peterson dethroned Khan as IBF and WBA beltholder via split-decision in December, but his positive test forced the cancelation of their rematch that was slated for May 19.
Peterson’s was the second negative test to affect a Golden Boy-promoted show within the past two weeks.
Former WBC and IBF welterweight beltholder Andre Berto tested positive for traces of the banned substance norandrosterone, an infraction which took him out of a June 23 rematch with Victor Ortiz, who will, instead, face replacement Josesito Lopez at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Peterson and Berto had contractually agreed with Khan and Ortiz to be the random drug testing guidlines for blood and urine of the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA), which is run by president and founder Margaret Goodman.
“Under the circumstances, I’m very happy about what we’ve been able to deliver to the fight fans over what has been a tough past few days,” said Schaefer. “We saved the event for Victor Ortiz to fight Josesito Lopez, which you know is going to be a toe-to-toe action fight.”
The Ortiz-Lopez undercard will feature a matchup between hard-hitting junior welterweight contender Lucas Matthysse (30-2, 28 KOs) and former WBC junior lightweight and lightwieght titleholder Humberto Soto (58-7-2, 34 KOs) as well as heavyweight contender Chris Arreola (35-2, 30 KOs) against an opponent to be determined.
“That’s going to be a great card with Chris Arreola on it and Humberto Soto against Lucas Matthysse. That’s going to be great night of boxing from the Staples Center, so we were able to save that event,” said Schaefer.
“I’m very proud of my team for being able to pull that off, and the same for being able to find a replacement opponent for Amir Khan. With Danny Garcia, this is not just an opponent, but this is a world champion.”
In his last fight in March, Garcia dropped four-division titlewinner Erik Morales in the 11th round on the way to dethroning him by unanimous decision.
It was the third straight triumph over a current or former world titleholder for Garcia, following consecutive decisions over ex-beltholders Nate Campbell and Kendall Holt in April and October, respectively.
“Danny is a young, exciting undefeated champion, and Amir Khan is one of the best young fighters in the world, so you know that this will be an exciting fight,” said Schaefer.
“Because any time that Amir fights, and every time Danny Garcia fights, it’s going to be exciting. I think that these are two guys who, from a style point of view, are made for each other as well.”
Golden Boy Promotions has sent separate letters to the IBF, WBA and the (Washington) DC Boxing and Wrestling Commission requesting that Peterson’s decision over Khan be declared a no-contest after Peterson’s admission that he had taken the banned substance less than a month before their fight.
Claiming it was for medical reasons, Peterson had surgically implanted testosterone pellets inserted into his hip by Las Vegas-based Dr. John Thompson on Nov. 12 after he was diagnosed with an abnormally low testosterone level.
“We are hoping that it will be a unification fight. Amir certainly should have the belts,” said Schaefer during an earlier interview. “We will ask the IBF and the WBA to reinstate Amir Khan as their champion. So our hope is that Amir’s next fight [against Garcia] will be for all three belts.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org