LAS VEGAS — Amir Khan believed he could emphatically defeat Devon Alexander – and did so Saturday night.
In the highly-anticipated “Royal Battle,” Khan (30-3, 19 KOs) impressively dominated crafty southpaw Alexander (26-3, 14 KOs) en route to an inevitable 12-round unanimous decision win in front of 7,768 inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Judge Jerry Roth scored the bout a shutout for Khan – 120-108 – while John McKaie favored Khan 118-110.
Glenn Feldman favored Khan by the same score as SFBay – 119-109.
Khan withdrew from a proposed title fight with then-IBF champ Alexander last year because he believed he was next in line for a big-money fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Instead, Khan made the jump to welterweight and impressively defeated Luis Collazo this past May while Shawn Porter annexed Alexander of his IBF strap.
Khan believes the timing of this fight was perfect, and told SFBay that the additional training he received since withdrawing helped establish him as a major force in the welterweight division:
“In that time, it’s not like I was just at home chilling. I was in the gym training hard. It was such a long camp. Then when I came in to fight Luis Collazo, I was 100 percent ready. I set a statement – I belong in the 147 lb. division. Same thing again this fight. We fought somebody better. It’s all about setting statements.”
Oscar De La Hoya – Khan’s promoter and president of Golden Boy Promotions – also acknowledged the former unified 140 lb. world champion as a force to be reckoned with following his domination of Alexander:
“He made a statement against a guy (in Alexander) who outboxed every single round against (Marcos) Maidana, who gave Floyd Mayweather the fight of his life. So what does that show you about Amir Khan? Amir Khan has not even hit his peak as a fighter. He’s growing, getting faster and stronger.”
Khan proved his technical superiority by displaying brilliant hand speed and accurate combination punching.
He constantly tagged Alexander with crisp left hooks and strong left-right combinations for the first three rounds of the bout.
Though Alexander threw back, he seemed intent on setting Khan up for one lethal counter shot that could send him home early.
But the more he waited, the more leather he ate courtesy of the 28-year-old star from Bolton, Lancashire, United Kingdom.
Even when Alexander opened up more during the second half of the fight, Khan continued beating him to the punch – knocking sweat off his foe’s head from pinpoint right hands.
Despite being manhandled in his two previous losses, Alexander had never been outboxed prior to this fight.
Khan said the gameplan he established with trainer Virgil Hunter in training camp made it easy for him to beat Alexander at his own game:
“I had to dig deep at times. I like to stay smart and move at the right time and hit at the right time. Basically, I made it easy work because I didn’t have to go in there and go all crazy and get caught with a shot. I was still explosive and the crowd was happy. The main thing is we got the win.”
According to Compubox, Khan landed 243 out of 563 total punches thrown (43 percent), while Alexander only connected with 91 out of 461 (20 percent).
Khan also punctuated the jabbing contest, landing 36 percent (123 out of 342) compared to a measly nine percent landed by Alexander (22 out of 242).
Alexander and his trainer Kevin Cunningham were unavailable for comment following the bout.
De La Hoya told SFBay that he believes Khan now ranks alongside Mayweather and Filipino sensation Manny Pacquiao as the three best welterweights in the world:
“I talked to (Virgil) and he goes, ‘Oh, just wait and see. One more fight. Wait and see what he’s capable of.’ I believe it. I really do believe it.”
Khan likely established himself as Mayweather’s next prominent challenger on the strength of his victory.
It’s a fight he’s wanted for four years now and his performance against Alexander could be an indication of the kind of problems he could create for the pound-for-pound king if they eventually square off.
While there is the possibility that the fight may not come into fruition again, Khan still looks forward to securing bigger fights in hopes of making 2015 his year:
“It’s a big year for me. Amir Khan belongs in those big superfights. I’m going to see what Golden Boy can do for me now.”