Alexander’s trainer: ‘Khan can be next’
After former IBF/WBA junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan, of Bolton, England, completes his Showtime-televised Dec. 15 clash with unbeaten 140-pound prospect Carlos Molina, he can rise in weight to face southpaw IBF welterweight beltholder, Devon Alexander, according to Alexander’s trainer.
Responding to assertions made to BoxingScene.com by Khan (26-3, 18 knockouts), a loser of two straight, trainer, Kevin Cunningham, said that Alexander (24-1, 13 KOs) would gladly fight Khan after defeating his English countryman, Kell Brook (29-0, 12 KOs), in a planned Showtime-televised defense that is slated for Jan. 19 at a site to be determined.
“I think it’s a great step up for Brook, because Brook has been fighting a lower level [of opposition]. I’m surprised that he’s taking the fight with Devon Alexander. Devon Alexander is a great fighter,” said Khan during his interview.
“It will be a good fight for the welterweight division and in the future I can fight the winner. If he gets past Devon Alexander, then I think it makes sense to have a fight with him – and he’ll have a world title [so] it makes sense to fight Brook maybe in the UK. It would be huge.”
Cunningham said that Alexander would relish a challenge from Khan.
“We heard that in an interview, Amir Khan said that he wants the winner of Devon and Kell Brook, and I see him saying a lot of things. But every day, Amir Khan is saying that he wants this person or that person,” said Cunningham.
“But when we say that Devon wants to fight somebody, he doesn’t do that just to see him name in the media. So since he claims that he wants to fight the winner between Alexander and Brook, then, when Devon takes care of his mandatory, which is Kell Brook, I hope that he doesn’t get amnesia, because he can get it next.”
Khan will face Molina (18-0-1, 7 KOs) in his first fight under Virgil Hunter, the 2011 Trainer of The Year. Hunter also guides the career of RING, WBA, WBC and Showtime Super Six World Super Middleweight Boxing Classic Champion Andre Ward, a 2004 Olympic gold medalist who was named Fighter of The Year for 2011.
This past Saturday, Hunter debuted in the corner of junior middleweight contender Alfredo Angulo (21-2, 18 KOs), whose 56-second knockout of Raul Casarez (19-3, 9 KOs) was his initial fight since being stopped for the first time in his career in an exciting, sixth-round knockout loss to James Kirkland in November.
Khan left five-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach in favor of Hunter after 10 bouts and an 8-2 mark that includes four stoppage wins following July’s fourth-round knockout loss to Danny Garcia, whose triumph added Khan’s WBA belt as well as the division’s RING championship to the WBC crown he already owned.
The loss to Garcia was the second in a row for Khan, whose winning streak under Roach ended with a controversial split-decision loss to Lamont Peterson last December.
Khan had began working with Roach following his 54-second knockout loss to Breidis Prescott as a lightweight in September of 2008. From there, Khan won eight straight fights, four of them by knockout, and earned two major title belts.
That stretch also included stoppage wins over New Yorkers Zab Judah, who was the IBF’s 140-pound beltholder at the time, and current WBA welterweight titleholder Paulie Malignaggi, as well as victories over Marcos Maidana, Marco Antonio Barrera and Andreas Kotelnik.
Alexander, meanwhile, has not lost since January of last year, when he suffered an 11th-round technical decision loss to unbeaten Tim Bradley, whose controversial split-decision dethroned Manny Pacquiao as WBO 147-pound beltholder in June.
A 25-year-old southpaw, Alexander is coming off last month’s unanimous decision over hard-punching Randall Bailey, a knockout artist who had scored a come-from-behind 11th-round knockout of Philadelphia’s previously unbeaten Mike Jones on the Bradley-Pacquiao undercard.
The win over Bailey was the third straight for Alexander, 25, who was coming off consecutive wins over heavy-handed Argentines Lucas Matthysse and Maidana by split- and unanimous decision, respectively, in June and February.
Prior to facing Bradley, Alexander won a disputed decision over former titleholder Kotelnik — who already had vanquished Maidana — in August of 2010.
Earlier, Alexander’s eighth-round knockout of Junior Witter earned the WBC’s vacant 140-pound title in August of 2009, and another eighth-round stoppage of Juan Urango in Alexander’s next bout in March of 2010 added the IBF’s belt.
Urango and Witter were stopped for the first time in their careers by Alexander, who blamed extreme weight loss for the dull efforts against Kotelnik, Bradley and Matthysse.
Alexander debuted as a welterweight with the triumph over Maidana, and Cunningham has pointed out that his fighter has been more energetic and dominant at 147 pounds, in terms of rounds won.
“A lot of people are saying that they think that Amir Khan doesn’t have a chin, but I just think that it’s time for him to move up into the welterweight division anyway. I think that he’s a natural welterweight, so he can come on up to welterweight, where he should be anyway. We would love to give him a shot at the title when we’re done with his countryman. So when we’re done with Kell Brook, don’t get amnesia, and don’t hide behind Virgil Hunter,” said Cunningham.
“And I hope that he doesn’t find another excuse, because we all know that Khan has come up with eight million excuses in past. Because if he says that he wants the winner, then, when Devon takes care of Kell Brook, we will certainly oblige him with what he has claimed that he wants, and that’s the winner of Alexander-Brook. So after Devon takes care of Kell Brook, don’t get amnesia and look for somewhere to hide, because when Devon gets through with Brook, his a– can be next.”
Photos by Tom Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]