Amir Khan is kidding nobody when he claims he will only have Devon Alexander on his mind when he finally meets the American in a welterweight showdown in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
Khan only has eyes for Floyd Mayweather, the undisputed 147lb king who has reportedly challenged the Bolton 28-year-old to look stylish if he wants to move closer to a prospective fight some time later this year.
Mayweather is likely the reason Khan will choose to take to the ring in a gold-embossed, £30,000-worth pair of shorts; surely a ploy designed to out-dazzle the self-styled “Pretty Boy’”and add much valued hype to the pre-fight headlines.
Mayweather versus Khan is a distinct possibility at some point next year provided Khan keeps his side of the bargain and does not suffer the indignity of scuffing those shiny shorts of his on the MGM Grand canvas.
But it is a prospective bout rife with uncertainties, not least Khan’s ability to see off former world champion Alexander in a sufficiently impressive manner to make Mayweather, fresh from his double win over former Khan foe Marcos Maidana, sit up and take notice.
CONNECT WITH THE SCOTSMAN
• Subscribe to our daily newsletter (requires registration) and get the latest news, sport and business headlines delivered to your inbox every morning
In truth, Khan has not mightily impressed since dispatching brash Brooklyn light-welterweight Zab Judah in July 2011 – a contest followed by consecutive defeats by Lamot Peterson and Danny Garcia.
A low-key comeback win over Carlos Molina in December 2012 was followed by a frankly dismal homecoming against ageing lightweight Julio Diaz in Sheffield four months later, which Khan was fortunate to survive via unanimous decision.
On his welterweight debut in May, Khan out-hit former Ricky Hatton foe Luis Collazo at the same MGM Grand Arena with a creditable enough performance but hardly one which, taken alone, justifies a lucrative shot at Mayweather.
Impressing may be the least of Khan’s problems. If Mayweather cares at all about public opinion, he will set about securing his next fight against Manny Pacquiao, whose win over Chris Algieri last month suggested the 35-year-old is over the career bump he suffered in 2012.
And try as he might, Khan has not quite managed to get over the what-might-have-beens arising from his aborted fight with Alexander – then the IBF welterweight champion – towards the end of last year.
Khan rejected the assignment in the belief that the Mayweather fight would be forthcoming and, as a consequence, was forced to endure a damaging 14 months out of the ring.
In the meantime, Alexander lost his title to Shawn Porter, who in turn went down to Sheffield’s Kell Brook, now IBF king and angling for a fight with Khan, which would surely be the domestic showdown of 2015.
Therein lies a safety net for Khan, in that if the Mayweather fight does not happen – disappointing as that may be – he is not exactly short on options.
The war of words with former coach Freddie Roach over what did and did not happen in sparring sessions with Pacquaio would seem to pave the way for a prospective showdown between the two and, loathe as he may currently be to consider it, Brook is delivering increasingly loud knocks on his door.
SCOTSMAN TABLET AND IPHONE APPS