A lot has happened to Amir “King” Khan since his last fight in the U.K – against Paul McCloskey in April of 2011 – most notably he has suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of Danny Garcia. The news, then, that Khan’s latest rebuilding will take place on these shores – The Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield on April 27th to be exact – is exciting and intriguing.
Khan, 27-3(19) will have his second fight with new trainer Virgil Hunter and he will face former IBF lightweight ruler Julio Diaz. The ultimate goal for Khan is, of course, a revenge meeting with the unbeaten Garcia (who will have his rescheduled clash with former Khan victim Zab Judah that same night, in New York) and a big win over the 33-year-old Mexican would only boost Khan’s confidence.
It’s possible, maybe even likely, that some fans may grumble at the choice of Diaz, 40-7-1(29) as Khan’s newest chosen foe. After all, “The Kidd” has been stopped five times in his seven reverses and he has had a long and somewhat arduous career (turning pro way back in 1999). But the exciting warrior who has been in with everyone from the likes of Jose Luis Castillo, Jesus Chavez, Juan Diaz and Kendall Holt, has enjoyed a decent run as of late.
Having left his lightweight days behind him in 2009, Diaz enjoyed mixed fortunes as a light-welter (being stopped in three by Holt at 140, also losing a decision to Victor Cayo there, but winning a decision over the useful Herman Ngoudjo) – but since moving up to welter, Diaz has kept a clean sheet: going 2-0-1. The draw, last time out in December of 2012, came against hot prospect Shawn Porter. Diaz looked good and strong in that ten rounder, with a number of fans feeling he deserved to have his hand raised.
Diaz, the word is, will face Khan at a catch-weight of 143-pounds (Khan wants to stay at close to the 140 limit, so as to remain “strong at the weight for the Garcia rematch”) and as long as the Mexican can retain the durability and the speed and power he showed up at welterweight, he might give Khan a hard night. Diaz has gone on record as saying Khan cannot take a punch (some claim, fans may say, from a guy who has been stopped five times!) and Diaz also claims Khan “panics” when hurt or under pressure.
The question is, can Diaz hurt Khan or put him under pressure when he meets him in The Steel City? If he can, Diaz could well give the U.K fans in attendance a great action fight.
Khan has to be the pick to win, but this one could well be lively!