Tuesday, February 26, 2013
British homecoming for Khan
By Dan Rafael
Amir Khan's likely opponent for his return to the UK is former two-time lightweight titlist Julio Diaz.
Former junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan, who hasn't fought in his native England in two years, will have his next fight there on April 27.
Khan tweeted the other day: "Next fights in UK everyone after 2 years. Venue tba."
From what Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer tells me, the fight will be in either Manchester or Sheffield. Initially, Khan's date was going to be April 20, but Schaefer said it was moved back one week to April 27 for various reasons.
Schaefer said no opponent is signed yet but that "it looks like it's going to be Julio Diaz."
Now fighting as a welterweight, Diaz (40-7-1, 29 KOs) is a former two-time lightweight titlist who has definitely seen better days, although he is coming off a surprise 10-round draw with hot prospect Shawn Porter in December.
Since Khan (27-3, 19 KOs) has designs on eventually fighting at welterweight and whatever fight he has April 27 won't be a world title fight, Schaefer said Khan-Diaz would likely be contested at a catch weight of 143 pounds. That gives Khan a chance to see how feels with a little more weight on him as well as be fair to Diaz, who likely would not be willing to come all the way down to 140.
The April 27 date makes for a busy day for Golden Boy, which is also promoting the rescheduled Danny Garcia-Zab Judah junior welterweight title card at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn that night.
The logistics are not all worked out, but Schaefer said he will be in England at Khan's fight while the rest of his staff is handling the Barclays card. As far as the television situation goes, Schaefer said the likely scenario will have Showtime televising Khan's fight live in the afternoon U.S. time with the Barclays card
already scheduled for primetime. He said the primetime telecast might also include a replay of the Khan fight.
You can also count on an edition that night of Showtime's "All Access" show about the buildup to the Floyd Mayweather-Robert Guerrero fight, which takes place in Las Vegas on May 4 on Showtime PPV.
"I don't have everything worked out yet," Schaefer said. "I am talking with Showtime about everything."
Khan is under a multi-fight contract with Showtime, but because this bout is in England and, therefore, not in American primetime, Schaefer said the bout would fall outside of the network contract with Khan but that he would work out a deal outside of that contract with the network for the bout.
The last time Khan fought in England was in April 2011, when he won an ugly, but dominant, sixth-round technical decision against Paul McCloskey of Northern Ireland when McCloskey suffered a severe cut over his left eye from an accidental head butt.
In Khan's next fight, he knocked out Zab Judah to unify to 140-pound titles, but has lost two in a row since on a controversial split decision to Lamont Peterson and a fourth-round knockout to Garcia. He returned in December for the first fight of his Showtime deal and stopped overmatched Carlos Molina, a career lightweight, in the 10th round.
Schaefer said the April 27 card would also feature the pro debut of middleweight Anthony Ogogo, the 2012 British Olympic middleweight bronze medalist who recently signed with Golden Boy. Also likely to turn pro on the undercard is flyweight Haroon Khan, Amir's younger brother. He was the first fighter Khan's new promotional company, Super Fight Promotions, signed in October.