Amir Khan is determined to silence his snipers when he faces WBC junior welterweight holder Danny Garcia in Las Vegas on July 14.
The English star was widely criticised following his controversial points defeat to Lamont Peterson in December, with many pundits accusing him of not taking the threat of the American seriously enough.
Since then IBF/WBA holder Peterson has tested positive for synthetic testosterone — wrecking a planned rematch with Khan — while it has been confirmed he took the banned substance before the original showdown in Washington, D.C.
But though he may feel vindicated by recent events surrounding Peterson, who could be stripped of both titles, Khan (26-2, 18 knockouts) knows he must prove himself all over again by producing the goods against unbeaten Garcia (23-0, 14 KOs).
“The last few weeks have been so crazy. I am upset with Lamont Peterson because I really wanted to win the titles back the right way. But now I want to put it behind me,” said the 25-year-old Bolton man. “We will have to see what the officials say. I really think he should get a ban, because it‘s bad for boxing, and that those titles should come back to me.
“Now we have the fight against Garcia. Hopefully, I will put on a decent performance, I’ll win the fight in style and shut all the mouths of those people who doubted me…because I put on a great performance against Lamont Peterson and only just missed out.
“I believe I won it and, after hearing he was on something, deep down I knew that because he had never performed like that before. But it hasn’t knocked my confidence at all. It’s only made me a better fighter and a smarter fighter.”
Khan currently is in England and will spend the next ten days there, kicking back with family and friends and generally winding down — as ordered to by his trainer, Freddie Roach. Then, it is back to the grind of another full-on training camp in preparation for his clash against 24-year-old American Garcia.
“I’ve taken the last two weeks off. I spoke to Freddie and he just told me to relax, to eat and drink what I want and not to do any training,” said Khan. “Next week I will start doing some strengthening work with my trainer here and the week after I’ll start doing the really hard work with Freddie.
“It was really hard to train for ten weeks in the Philippines and then go to LA only to find out a week before that the Peterson fight was off. All that hard work had gone to waste. That’s why I had to pack my bags, come home and relax with my family and my fiancée, who is over from New York.
“But it’s going to be back to the drawing board and working on new tactics for a new opponent. I have an unbeaten fighter in front of me. Danny Garcia’s very strong and tricky. He’s won 23 fights, he has 14 knockouts and a world title, having just won the WBC belt from Erik Morales.”
As for the IBF and WBA titles he lost to Peterson, Khan is optimistic that one way or another they will be on the line when he steps into the ring at the Mandalay Bay Hotel.
“We’re going to see what the governing bodies do about the WBA and IBF titles, “ he said. “ I’ve heard rumours they will come back to me or they will be vacant for the next fight. If they are, then the Garcia fight will be an undisputed unification fight.
“Hopefully, I will win that and clear the 140-pound division and then move up to the next weight category.”