British fighter Amir Khan last week won a lopsided 12-round decision over former champion Devon Alexander in a welterweight matchup thereby improving his chances for a possible fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Khan (30-3) won round after round using the same formula, jabbing at Alexander and following it with right hands that found their mark more often than they missed. The British fighter didn't knock down Alexander (26-3) and never seemed to really hurt him, but was impressive enough to solidify his spot in the lineup for a possible fight next year with Mayweather.
Khan's quickness was too much from the opening bell as he kept the southpaw Alexander on the outside and was first with his punches in most exchanges. Khan pitched a shutout on one ringside scorecard, winning 120-108, while the other judges scored it 119-109 and 118-110.
"I didn't call Floyd Mayweather out with total confidence before, but now I feel I proved to everyone I deserve that fight," Khan said. Promoter Oscar De La Hoya said it was a fight he would love to make, if Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao can't come to terms for a bout next year. Mayweather said he wanted to fight Pacquiao, but immediately put conditions on negotiations for what would be the richest fight ever. "He almost had a perfect fight with a southpaw, which is very complicated," De La Hoya said. "He has proven himself over and over again. You can see the determination in Khan's eyes that he wants Mayweather."
Khan never seemed to hurt Alexander but was in control throughout. His dominance was shown by ringside stats that had him landing 243 of 563 punches to 91 of 461 for former two-time champion.
"I'm getting better with age," the 28-year-old said. "The Mayweather fight didn't happen last year, but I now believe I've earned it this year." Alexander pressed forward through the fight, but never seemed able to solve the speed and accurate punching of Khan. "I was having a hard time catching him," Alexander said. "I tried to follow the game plan but something just wasn't right." Late in the fight, Khan started opening up more, throwing flurries of punches to Alexander's head. Alexander kept advancing, but didn't throw nearly enough punches and landed even fewer even as he needed a knockout to pull out the fight.
Still, there were scattered boos from the crowd of 7,768 at the MGM Grand in the final round.
The stakes were high for both fighters on a night where top welterweights jockeyed for position on two different cards on the Las Vegas Strip. Timothy Bradley, who lost his last fight to Manny Pacquiao, drew with Diego Chaves in an HBO fight down the street at the Cosmopolitan.
Khan was a 3-1 favourite against Alexander, a former champion who has held titles at 140 and 147 pounds. The British fighter was offered a chance to fight Alexander for a title at this time last year, but declined the fight because he thought he would get a bout with Mayweather instead.
Mayweather, though, picked Marcos Maidana as his opponent, and this time Khan didn't really have a choice but to fight Alexander.