Amir Khan’s hopes of returning to the top of the light-welterweight tree were dealt a shattering blow Saturday night as the undefeated American Danny Garcia inflicted a second consecutive defeat on the former champion.
Khan was put down three times in little over a round as Garcia exposed the Briton’s glass chin.
The former WBA and IBF light-welterweight king had gone into the fight a major betting favourite and appeared to justify that tag early on as he comprehensively outworked and outboxed his seemingly limited opponent.
Khan opened up two cuts above the eye of the American who was subsequently warned for a series of low blows as he tried to come to terms with the speed of the former Olympic silver medalist.
The fight turned in the final minute of the third round when Garcia caught his more decorated opponent with a cuffing left hand- sending Khan to the canvas.
Referee Kenny Bayless appeared on the verge of ending the contest as a dazed Khan stuttered to his feet, however the bell to end the round came to prevent the stoppage.
As the fourth round began it was immediately clear that Khan had not recovered from a first knockdown in nearly four years and he was quickly on the canvas again after feeling the force of another left hand.
To the Briton’s credit, he appeared to have stemmed the flow when landing shots of his own to force his rampant opponent backwards, however it proved only temporary respite.
Garcia caught Khan again down the final minute of the round, and despite surviving the count, Bayless rightly waved the fight off.
The result fires Garcia into the upper echelons of the light-welterweight division as he adds the WBA title to his already acquired WBC belt.
For Khan, the loss marks the end of his hopes of facing unbeaten Floyd Mayweather and leaves him with a huge amount of work to do if he is to ever get back to world level again.
Get more great boxing news and analysis over at Boxing Fancast.