Amir Khan sees his Dec. 13 welterweight bout against Devon Alexander as a springboard to bigger things, but that does not mean he will take the US southpaw lightly.
“Obviously it’s going to catapult the winner to bigger fights,” Khan said on Tuesday at a Los Angeles press conference to promote the bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. “Alexander wants the big fight, I want the big fight against Mayweather, Pacquiao. First of all, I have to get through this fight in good style. I’m not looking past this fight. I have to stay hungry, stay focused.”
In a sense, Khan-Alexander has been a year in the making.
Britain’s former IBF and WBA light welterweight world champion was slated to fight Alexander, who boasts a record of 26-2 with 14 knockouts, in December last year in New York.
At the time, Alexander held the IBF welterweight title, but Khan opted out of the bout, thinking he was in line for a mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr that never materialized.
Since then, Alexander has surrendered the title to Shawn Porter, and Khan’s fellow Brit Kell Brook seized it from Porter in August.
Khan is coming off a victorious welterweight debut in May, when he looked impressive in a unanimous decision over former champion Luis Collazo.
That bout was on the undercard of Mayweather’s fight against Marcos Maidana — the foe the unbeaten American selected in preference to Khan — and saw Khan quickly shake off any rust from a 12-month ring absence.
Khan, 29-3 with 19 knockouts, has been training in Oakland, California, with Virgil Hunter since September.
“We’re way ahead of schedule,” he said of his preparations, adding that thanks to Hunter’s tutelage Alexander will face a better Khan than he would have encountered a year ago.
“I’ve made a lot of improvements,” Khan said. “I’m a better fighter defensively. I’m more focused, I’m more patient, I’m more of a smart fighter.”
Those improvements would stand him in good stead if the call from Mayweather ever comes.
However, if the American again drags his feet, a victory over Alexander could put Khan in line for an all-British blockbuster against Brook.
Brook has said he is determined to continue his career after he was stabbed in the leg while on holiday on the Spanish island of Tenerife.
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