Sitting ringside at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Saturday night when Danny Garcia outpointed Robert Guerrero to win a vacant welterweight title was England’s Amir Khan, the mandatory challenger for the winner of the fight.
Garcia won the vacant WBC belt and, according to the organization’s rules, a fighter who wins a vacant title must make two mandatory defenses. Now, the WBC does not always enforce its rules, but WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman said this week that he will order Garcia-Khan next.
“Amir Khan is the mandatory contender. He is next for Danny Garcia and they must fight by June,” Sulaiman said.
The fight would be a rematch of a dramatic battle from July 2012. That is when Garcia and Khan both held junior welterweight belts and met in a title unification fight at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
Khan cut Garcia early and was taking it to Garcia before Garcia rallied and knocked Khan out in the fourth round. A rematch would be a major fight, but there is no guarantee that it will happen.
Khan has been in a war of words with countryman and titleholder Kell Brook about a fight that has been anticipated for the past few years and certainly would be more lucrative for Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) than a rematch with Garcia (32-0, 18 KOs).
If Brook (35-0, 24 KOs) beats mandatory challenger Kevin Bizier on March 26, a summer fight between Brook and Khan is possible, giving Khan a shot at a different 147-pound belt and trumping Garcia-Khan II. Either way, however, Khan figures to get one of those two fights this summer.