Two fighters with history together are fighting one day apart.
On Friday, July 17, at Planet Hollywood Casino and Resort in Las Vegas, Colombia’s Breidis Prescott jumps in the ring to face Miguel Vazquez (24-3, 12 KOs) in the main event of a card featuring several talented Cuban boxers.
On Saturday, July 18, at Manchester, England, Amir Khan vies for his first world title against WBA junior lightweight titleholder Andriy Kotelnik.
History was made when Prescott became the first fighter to beat the talented Khan with a crackling knockout victory. That victory prompted Khan to seek a world-class trainer in Freddie Roach. In the last nine months the talented British fighter has been molded into a more skilled defensive fighter.
The question many fans want to know, especially in England, is when will Khan face Prescott?
It’s clear that there is no rush to make the rematch especially when so much more money can be made once either Khan, Prescott or both hold world titles. That’s when they’ll get back in the ring.
Prescott (21-0, 18 KOs) is not just a one-punch wonder. He has skills to go with that power and hopes to continue his trek toward a world title and a mega rematch with the streaking star Khan.
The Las Vegas fight card also features several talented Cuban fighters including Erislandy Lara (6-0, 4 KOs) facing super tough Darnell Boone (16-11-2). If Lara is not careful he could end up losing to the Ohio fighter who has excellent boxing skills and has been around the ring. I’m surprised they’re making this fight.
Also on the card is Cuban junior featherweight Guillermo Rigondeaux (1-0) against Robert Guillen (4-2-2).
Scheduled to fight is Ghana’s Sharif Bogere, an extremely talented lightweight who could match skills with most fighters in his weight class today.
It’s an excellent fight card.
Meanwhile, on the next day, Khan will be in England.
Thousands of miles away from home Khan has found a second home amid the heat and sunny weather of Southern California.
Khan returns home to England against Ukraine’s Kotelnik (31-2-1, 13 KOs). The world title fight will not be televised but many eyes in the boxing world will be looking for the results.
“I’m really quite comfortable here in California,” said Khan, 22, who began training at the Wild Card Boxing gym in Hollywood last November 2008. “Everything has been brilliant.”
The last time Khan fought he put on a sizzling display of speed, power and determination while dominating Mexico City’s Marco Antonio Barrera. A huge cut on Barrera hampered his ability to keep step with the fleet-footed Brit and ultimately the fight was stopped due to excessive bleeding in the fifth round. The technical decision was awarded to Khan. No arguments.
“I was the bigger, faster stronger fighter and it showed,” said Khan (20-1, 15 KOs) describing his victory over legendary boxer Barrera. “Barrera is a great fighter but he never fought anyone quite like or as tall as me.”
That fight in March was held at the 135-pound lightweight division. When an opportunity arose to move up in weight to fight for the world title, Khan’s team jumped at the opportunity. Now he’s ready for the biggest fight in his young career.
“It’s a massive opportunity,” said Khan, who still has a size advantage at 140 pounds against most other junior welterweights. “I can always move back down.”
It was less than a year ago that Khan’s train to success was slightly derailed by Colombia’s power-punching Prescott. A right hand dropped the lanky British fighter hard but he managed to get back to his feet. Seconds later it was over for good. Khan lost for the first time in his pro career.
“Anybody can get caught,” Khan said of that loss. “You have to learn from that loss.”
Realizing that his defense was leaking, he sought world-renowned trainer Freddie Roach and was accepted as a student. Though it’s only been nine months, the gradual changes in Khan’s style have tightened up the flaws in his fight game.
“Speed and more speed is his best weapon,” said Roach, who also trains Manny Pacquiao and Vanes Martirosyan. “We still have some things to work on in his defense, but he’s getting there.”
Several weeks ago, Argentina’s Marcos Maidana, a former opponent of WBA titleholder Kotelnik, upset number one junior welterweight contender Victor Ortiz at the Staples Center. Both Roach and Khan were in the audience. Maidana barely lost to Kotelnik.
“What I’ve seen of Kotelnik is he’s a basic fighter who knows what to do. He’s not flashy or very fast but he does everything well,” said Roach, who has trained other elite fighters such as Oscar De La Hoya, James Toney and Israel Vazquez. “It’s not going to be easy. Amir has to be careful.”
In the two months of preparation Khan has shown during his sparring that his blinding speed is one weapon often talked about, but his accuracy is another seldom discussed. The former British Olympian can rattle off a four-punch combination before an opponent can even think of returning fire.
“Speed will win this fight,” said Khan.
Roach, who knows a thing or two about speed in a fighter, agrees that Khan’s speed both with hands and feet, can provide the difference in the fight.
“One thing we have to worry about is defense,” said Roach, who regularly adjusts and corrects Khan’s defensive lapses. “One punch can end a fight. But we’re not going to let that happen.”
Back in England the fans are both massively supportive or against him. Either way the boxer of Asian descent will fill the Manchester stadium.
“I’ll be focused,” said Khan eager for his first world title contest. “It’s going to be more of a technical fight. He has a bit of a peek-a-boo style.”
Fights in California
Covina’s John Molina (17-0, 13 KOs) meets Mexico’s Sandro Marcos (27-19-2, 23 KOs) in a lightweight contest on Thursday at Tachi Palace in Lemoore. Also on the card is Javier Molina (no relation to John), the 2008 US Olympian. The Commerce-based fighter meets Freddie Cisneros (1-0-1) in a junior welterweight match. The main event features heavyweight Travis Walker (31-2-1, 25 KOs) against Bakersfield’s Manuel Quezada (27-4, 17 KOs).
Corona Fight card
Thompson Boxing Promotions has become a sudden player in world boxing by scouting and signing fighters that others overlook. From WBO junior welterweight titleholder Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley to IBF bantamweight contender Yonnhy Perez, the Southern California-based company continues to uncover gems in the boxing world.
The newest discovery is Daniel Hernandez of South Gate who only has six pro fights but has shown an exciting style. He was recently signed to a promotional contract by Thompson Promotions and headlines the card at Omega Products International on Friday July 17. Hernandez faces San Diego’s Jovann Jones (9-5) in a six-round bout.
Also on the fight card will be Alberto “The Substitute” Herrera, a schoolteacher by day and a fighter by night, who is the younger brother of fast-rising junior welterweight prospect Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera. The Riverside teacher opposes San Diego’s Steve Macomber (3-4-1) in a junior middleweight bout.
The fights will be held outdoors. For information call (714) 935-0900.
Heavyweight Lance Whitaker (32-5-1, 27 KOs) fights Danny Batchelder (25-6-1, 12 KOs) in the main event in Redondo Beach on Friday July 17. Also expected on the same card will be several heavyweight matches including George Foreman III who is looking for a second win. Foreman had not signed a contract at press time but was in negotiations. For tickets and information call (702) 656-9570.
Roberto “La Amenaza” Garcia (26-2, 19 KOs), who trains in Maywood, Ca., fights Costa Rica’s Jaime Barboza (13-3, 4 KOs) in a junior middleweight contest on Saturday in San Jose, Costa Rica. Garcia is originally from Texas but trains along with Alfredo “Perro” Angulo. The fight card will be shown on www.boxingchannel.com at 6 p.m. Pacific Time. There is no fee to watch the fight card.
Fights on television
Fri. ESPN2, 7 p.m. Breidis Prescott (21-0) vs. Miguel Vazquez (24-3).
Fri. Telemundo, 11:30 p.m., Wilfredo Vazquez (15-0-1) vs. Cecilio Santos (23-10-3).
Sat. Azteca, 10 p.m., Jesus Soto Karass (23-3-3) vs. Alexis Camacho (17-2).
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV