AMIR Khan is thinking globally rather than nationally after beating Devon Alexander in Las Vegas.
There was no middleweight world title on offer for the Bolton man but his slick points win means he can consider himself a strong contender to face unbeaten American Floyd Mayweather in 2015.
Khan has long sought the fight but now, after impressing in Vegas, can offer a genuine case for the match being made. If he cannot meet Mayweather he is eyeing former stablemate Manny Pacquiao.
Either of those would mean there will be no domestic grudge match with IBF champion Kell Brook next, but Khan wants to cash in while his stock is high. “If Mayweather doesn’t happen, Manny Pacquiao is a great name,” he said.
“We trained together, there’s a great storyline there. With Kell Brook, that fight will always be there but, at the moment, I want to catch the right guys because how long are they going to be in boxing for? They’re at the top of their game.”
Khan is targeting a 2 May date with Mayweather, who has not lost in 47 fights. “This puts me in a great position to fight the biggest names of boxing; Mayweather, Pacquiao. That’s where I belong and today [Alexander] was a great statement,” he added. “Everybody now wants that fight [against Mayweather].
“Golden Boy [Khan’s promoters] were saying they want that fight with Mayweather. It’s up to him, the ball is in his court.
“It’s the fight the fans want, why don’t we get it done now? I’m only getting better, I am hitting my peak. I can’t wait to show the world what I have.”
Khan already did that in the early hours yesterday.
He controlled the fight from the start, using his superior speed to stay ahead of Alexander and out-punching his American opponent, who could do nothing to change the rhythm as the night went on.
Khan’s performance was reflected in a comfortable win, with the fight scored 119-109, 118-110, 120-108 – the 30th win of his professional career. The match-up had been billed as a 50-50 contest, but Khan had other ideas as he controlled the flow of the fight and knocked Alexander off his game.
Wearing his specially-designed shorts encrusted with 24-carat gold, Khan ruled the ring as he was able to have the final word in almost every round.
Alexander could not make his jabs count, with Khan’s carefully-timed flurries making much the bigger impact. Khan was quick and hard with his punches, and Alexander was put on the defensive with his frustration – and that of his corner – clear as the rounds went by.
It was not until the eighth that Alexander landed anything to bring him encouragement, but Khan immediately responded with a big counter-punch.
Alexander, desperate for any momentum, attacked in the tenth but Khan responded with a series of huge blows and Alexander looked resigned to defeat well before the end.
“We worked very hard for this fight,” Khan said. “I knew I had to make a statement at the 147lbs division against a tough guy in Devon.
“I think it was one of my best performances because I wasn’t rushing, I was on my feet, up against a very good fighter. I knew not to make any mistakes.”
Ireland’s Andy Lee became the WBO middleweight champion on a memorable night in Las Vegas.
While Amir Khan was outpointing Devon Alexander further down the strip, little-known Lee was knocking out the undefeated Matt Korobov at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. The 30-year-old, who formerly worked under famous trainer Emanuel Steward, stunned his opponent with a right hand and then moved in to finish the job in the sixth round.
It is a remarkable achievement for Lee and his new trainer, Adam Booth, and one that is sure to earn him bigger fights and recognition in Great Britain and Ireland.
Victory also means he is the first member of the travelling community to win a world strap.
“It’s tough to describe this moment,” he said to the media afterwards.
“I am a champion and I want to defend my belt in Ireland and I will fight the best in the world.
“I have to say a thank you to this man, my coach Adam Booth, who has done so much for me in the last couple of years - this title is for him before also for the man who made me Emanual Steward.”
Steward, who coached the likes of Thomas Hearns, Lennox Lewis and Wladimir Klitschko before his death in 2012, had taken Lee, from Limerick, under his wing.
The pair lived together and Steward had tipped his man for big things.
“I lived with him for seven to eight years and learned so much from him. He said I would win a world title and tonight I made him true,” Lee added.
Booth, who coached David Haye to the heavyweight championship of the world, added on Twitter that it was his “proudest moment”.