Friday, January 25, 2013
Amir Khan set to return April 20
By Dan Rafael
Amir Khan battered Carlos Molina in December to rebound from dispiriting back-to-back losses.
Former junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan of England is ticketed to return to action April 20 on Showtime, Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer told me on Thursday.
Who will Khan fight and where will it take place? Schaefer said those questions haven't been answered yet.
"We have earmarked April 20 for Amir, but I can't say whether it will be from the U.S. or the U.K.," Schaefer said. "If it's up to Amir, he wouldn't mind doing a fight from the U.K. It's important to keep the U.K. tie. As for the opponent, I have been on the phone with [Showtime Sports boss] Stephen [Espinoza] and we're talking about it."
Khan has a multi-fight contract with Showtime, which will have substantial influence in the fight location and opponent.
"Showtime is open to doing a fight from England, but the question then will be the license fee and the opponent," Schaefer said. "When Amir entered into the multi-fight deal, it was tied to some pretty big names. But if you are fighting in the U.K., it doesn't make sense for the big names because of the time difference [meaning an afternoon fight in the U.S., which means less money from the network]. The license fee for an overseas fight will be less, so we are talking about it."
Khan (27-3, 19 KOs) lost two title fights in a row -- a controversial split decision loss to Lamont Peterson in December 2011 followed by a fourth-round knockout against Danny Garcia in July -- but returned with a win in December in a lopsided 10th-round knockout of Carlos Molina.
Schaefer said that if Khan fights in America, Josesito Lopez -- who stopped Victor Ortiz and then was wiped out by junior middleweight titlist Canelo Alvarez -- is a potential opponent.
Schaefer said he would like to make a Garcia-Khan rematch later in the year because the timing doesn't work for that match to be their next fight. Garcia fights Zab Judah on Feb. 9 and Khan is fighting in April -- too soon to make a Garcia rematch if Garcia beats Judah.
Khan is tied to April because he wants to fight before his wedding in May. And then comes the Muslim holiday of Ramadan, which means Khan won't be back until the fall.
Three names are being discussed, from what I'm told, if Khan fights in England -- although Schaefer didn't want to discuss the list. Nonetheless, those potential opponents are former lightweight titlist Humberto Soto, former interim junior welterweight titlist Pablo Cesar Cano (who lost a debatable decision in October versus welterweight titlist Paulie Malignaggi) and former welterweight titlist Vyacheslav Senchenko, who knocked out Ricky Hatton in the ninth round in November in Hatton's comeback bout.
Schaefer did say that if Khan fights in England, British middleweight Anthony Ogogo, the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist who recently signed with Golden Boy, would make his pro debut on the undercard.