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Amir Khan set to star in unofficial junior-welterweight tournament

June 8, 2011 |  4:33 pm

Recent boxing tournaments have been plagued by injuries, cancellations and delays -- see Showtime's appreciated but flawed efforts to crown a unified super-middleweight and bantamweight champion.

Richard Schaefer, chief executive of Golden Boy Promotions, is scripting something similar in the talented junior-welterweight division without daring to label the series of fights a tournament.

"You don't need to make it a tournament with the fighters we have in this division," Schaefer said.

The action starts July 23 with England's World Boxing Assn. champ Amir Khan (25-1, 17 KOs) fighting International Boxing Federation champ Zab Judah (40-6, 28 KOs) at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. Tickets go on sale Thursday for the bout to be televised by HBO.

Khan was in deep negotiations to fight Palm Springs' unbeaten world champion Timothy Bradley, but Bradley, in the midst of rocky talks to stage a final bout with his promoter Gary Shaw, declined to accept a $1.4-million pay day for Khan that could ultimately be inflated down the road.

"He has to deal with his issues," Schaefer said of Bradley. "We'll have Amir fight again in November-December, and we're still open to it if Bradley is."

Schaefer is in the process of finalizing another bout that could serve as a preliminary for the Khan-Judah winner, telling The Times he's planning an appetizing Robert Guerrero-Marcos Maidana junior-welterweight fight at San Jose's HP Pavilion Aug. 27. Guerrero's from nearby Gilroy.

Schaefer also promotes Erik Morales and Lucas Matthysse in the division.

At a news conference Wednesday at the downtown ESPN Zone, Khan dismissed the 33-year-old Judah's contention that the Brit is "not ready" for such a significant mental challenge from the skilled New Yorker.

"I have heart, speed and power," said Khan, who beat Maidana in what was the 2010 fight of the year. "I'll be even better against this guy [Judah]. He can't deal with me. I'll knock him out. I love fighting. I want to win titles. This guy [Judah] has a title I can get because Tim Bradley chickened out."

Bradley might move to welterweight for his final bout with Shaw.

"I'll still fight him and I'll knock him out," Khan said.

Let the tournament begin.


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-- Lance Pugmire

Photo: Amir Khan poses during a news conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday to announce his super lightweight world championship unification bout against Zab Judah. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press