Sunday, 15 July 2012 16:22

Amir Khan vs Danny Garcia | One Smashing Left Hook Changed Everything

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Last night, Amir Khan dazzled onlookers with a masterful display of speed, accuracy and technical brilliance.... until he was nearly embalmed by a Danny Garcia left hook.

Looking to solidify his chances for a superfight showdown in the United Kingdom with pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather in 2013, the Bolton, United Kingdom resident came out of the blocks sizzling.

A bit more aggressive than usual, Amir Khan wasted no time engaging Danny Garcia, the underdog from the fighting city of Philadelphia. From the opening bell, the Brit repeatedly dropped hard right-hands behind a blinding jab and unleashed fast, crisp combinations on a foe who appeared clearly outgunned at the onset.

The ring general early on, the 25 year old Khan used his two inch reach advantage and superior hand-speed and technical skills to effectively dictate the tempo and win nearly all the exchanges on the inside and outside.

Pictured: Amir Khan and Danny Garcia prior to Khan vs Garcia 
Courtesy of Hogan Photos 


Defensively, the quicker, fleet-footed Khan effectively darted inside and out to escape Garcia's return fire and stay out of harm's way. And when Garcia managed to get the angle advantage on Khan on the inside, the Brit alertly coiled into a defensive shell à la Floyd Mayweather and allowed Garcia to unload non-scoring shots on his biceps, elbows and hips until the fighters reset.

But despite Amir Khan's initial success, Danny Garcia sat in the pocket and was seemingly unflappable under the wall of flying leather in front of him. With his hands held high, Garcia was well-protected and effectively parrying or rolling with many of Khan's power shots to the head.

Offensively, Garcia's countering was a bit sloppy and predictable in the first two stanzas as he missed a few right-hand leads by a proverbial mile. Finding little success off the counter-right hands to the head, Garcia was able to occasionally connect with a few thudding hooks to Khan's body. And although he didn't get the opportunity to unleash Khan-like flashy 3 and 4 punch combinations due to the great disparity in speed, the few punches Danny managed to shoot were thrown with bad intentions.

Pictured: Danny Garcia's cut which he suffered in Round 2


In the waning moments of Round 2, Garcia suffered a nasty cut above the right eye from what appeared to be an accidental headbutt that was missed by the referee.

Outboxed and outfoxed by the Brit after two full rounds, a bloody Garcia, in perhaps an apparent act of admiration, attempted to touch gloves after the bell only to miss yet again.

The route was on.... Or so it seemed.

"He's picking you apart," stated Garcia's father and trainer, Angel Garcia, in the Garcia corner prior to the start of third round.

"You've gotta let your hands go," implored Angel.

Rounds 3 and 4
The start of the third was a continuation of the first two rounds. A nimble Amir Khan launched an aggressive but cautious attack, utilizing his superior hand and foot-speed to hit and move and pile up points in the process.

At 2:26 of the third, the Brit came forward to engage his slower foe once again but this time Garcia was ready. The Philadelphian skillfully blocked Khan's shots, took a half a step back and uncorked a well-timed short right hand/uppercut that found Khan's chin and stopped the advancing Brit dead in his tracks. But the effects of Garcia's return fire were short-lived as Amir Khan gathered himself and resumed his stalking ways following a 15 second respite.

Pictured: Amir Khan days before Khan vs Garcia
Courtesy of Hogan Photos


"I respect Danny, he was countering very well against me."

With Amir Khan's head an elusive target, Garcia began focusing on Khan's body and landed a few sweet left and right hooks downstairs with some drifting a bit low.

And then, as Khan asserted himself again by stepping forward to land a seemingly potent left-hook/right uppercut combination, Garcia leaned inside of Khan's mis-placed shots, planted his feet, twisted his torso and uncorked a massive, perfectly-timed left hook. The shot, thrown with the weight of Garcia's body fully behind it, caught Amir Khan flush on the side of neck just below the ear, flooring him for only the second time in his career.

Pictured: Danny Garcia lands the punch than changed everything.


Hard punches that land cleanly on the upper side of the neck under the ear don't always produce a knockout but can shock the brain and cause the recipient to stagger and wobble badly - and Amir Khan did just that.

Although Khan arose and appeared somewhat coherent, he was on very, very unsteady legs. Grudgingly, Referee Kenny Bayless let him continue as there were only 10 seconds remaining in the round. Unable to get on his bicycle, Amir Khan was now forced to stand toe-to-toe and slug it out with Garcia. Receiving more than he was giving, a shaky Khan would survive the round.

Like a shark smelling blood, Garcia pounced on his weakended foe at the start of Round 4 and landed a series of right hands that sent a retreating Khan to the canvas yet again in the stanza's opening ten seconds. A seemingly lucid but badly hurt Khan arose and was allowed to continue.

Pictured: Amir Khan absorbs a right hand from Danny Garcia
Courtesy of Hogan Photos


Having not recovered from the effects of the left hook in the previous round, Khan was on 'queer street' for the entirety of Round 4 but stood toe-to-toe with Garcia like a wounded tiger, refusing to submit.

The round was a classic as the fighters loaded-up and exchanged hard shots in dramatic fashion. And while Garcia got the better of Khan, the defiant Brit landed some huge punches of his own in retaliation.

Then, with 49 seconds left in the round, Garcia grazed Amir Khan on the top of the head with a left hook that sent the Brit falling backwards. During Khan's fall Garcia managed to punctuate his efforts with a glancing right hand to Khan's head before the Brit touched the canvas.

On his feet but still wobbly, a glazed Khan insisted he wanted to continue but Referee Kenny Bayless had seen enough and stopped the bout.

A New Star is Born
With the win, the 24 year old Danny Garcia unified the WBC and WBA Jr Welterweight titles, gained status as the The RING's (lineal) champion and catapulted himself among boxing's elite.

'We got a little complacent and he took advantage and he caught me,' said a disappointed Amir Khan (26-3, 18 KO) after the bout.

"I was a little surprised the referee stopped it. I thought he was going to let us continue. My mind was clear and I thought my legs were okay but I respect the referee, the judges and the commission, maybe they made the right call."


"Timing beats speed any day,"
Garcia insisted before the bout.

Danny Garcia (24-0, 15 KO) , boxing's newest star, discussed his title-winning strategy after the bout. 

"We knew Khan was going to come out fast because he thought I had no power but I waited and stepped up to use the power and speed I have, and it worked."

Garcia added, "I was going to fight until the death, just like he did. Now I want to continue to fight the best."

Khan vs Garcia Factoids

  • Amir Khan was the top-rated light welterweight contender according to The Ring Magazine while Danny Garcia, a 4.4 to 1 betting underdog, was ranked as the No. 2 by the same publication.
  • Purses: According to the Nevada Athletic Commission,Amir Khan earned $950,000 USD and Danny Garcia raked in $520,000 USD.



Lee Cleveland

Lee is Managing Editor of, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.