Who wins Amir Khan-Devon Alexander?
It was nearly a year ago this week that southpaw Devon Alexander was dethroned as IBF welterweight beltholder by Shawn Porter, their Dec. 7 bout taking place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Alexander was supposed to face Amir Khan rather than Porter but Khan declined, believing that Floyd Mayweather Jr. would elect to fight him in May 2013.
Instead, however, Mayweather chose to face Marcos Maidana, against whom he won a majority decision in the first of his two consecutive victories over the Argentine at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Khan wound up fighting on the undercard of Mayweather-Maidana I, ending a 13-month ring absence with his one-sided unanimous decision over former welterweight titleholder Luis Collazo, a southpaw who was floored three times during Khan’s 147-pound debut.
But on Saturday at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Khan (29-3, 19 knockouts) will finally meet Alexander (26-2, 14 KOs) in a clash of former titleholders that is being promoted by Golden Boy.
Their focus on each other notwithstanding, Khan and Alexander realize a Mayweather bout could be in the future for Saturday’s winner.
Prior to Collazo, Khan, 28, was in action for a unanimous decision over two-time lightweight titleholder Julio Diaz in April 2013. Khan had struggled over the course of his previous six fights, going 4-2 with two knockouts.
Khan said he had been physically draining himself to make 140 pounds since way back in July 2011, when he stopped ex-beltholder Zab Judah, another southpaw, in the fifth round of their IBF/WBA junior welterweight title unification bout.
After defeating Judah, Khan lost his next fight by disputed split decision to current IBF 140-pound beltholder Lamont Peterson in December 2011. In his following bout in July 2012, Khan was stopped in the fourth round by RING, WBC and WBA junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia.
Khan then left trainer Freddie Roach, under whom he was 8-2, with four knockouts, in favor of Virgil Hunter for his next two fights, resulting in a 10th-round knockout over Carlos Molina in December of 2012. Molina was followed by Diaz, who dropped Khan in the fourth round.
Alexander is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Jesus Soto Karass in June to bounce back from the loss to Porter. Alexander had previously faced seven current or past titleholders in nine fights, a run that includes decision victories over two of Argentina’s most devastating punchers – Maidana and Lucas Matthysse.
Matthysse represented the final fight at 140 pounds for Alexander, who, like Khan, had blamed extreme weight loss for his last few sub-par performances at junior welterweight.
Entering his match with Maidana in February 2012, there were some observers who felt Alexander had lost his previous three bouts against Andriy Kotelnik, Bradley and Matthysse. Alexander, meanwhile, dominated Maidana, winning by scores of 99-91 and 100-90 (twice).
Alexander’s eighth-round technical knockout in March 2010 added Juan Urango’s IBF 140-pound belt to his WBC title. Alexander’s only other loss was to two-division titlist Timothy Bradley as junior welterweights in January 2011.
But Khan’s resume is equally impressive, including a unanimous decision over Maidana, whom he dropped in the first round in December 2010. Khan’s also owns a a technical decision victory over Mexican great Marco Antonio Barrera as well as a TKO over two-division titlewinner Paulie Malignaggi and a decision over Kotelnik, an ex-beltholder.
Having earned major 140-pound belts by beating Kotelnik and Judah, Khan believes that he will “have all of the answers” for Alexander.
In addition to his loss to Garcia and the fact that he was dropped and badly hurt by Diaz, Khan has endured lingering questions about his chin as a result of a 54-second KO loss to Breidis Prescott in September 2008.
The results of the RingTV.com poll taken from 28 insiders regarding Khan-Alexander are as follows.
Amir Khan SD 12 Devon Alexander: I see Devon Alexander winning rounds but Amir Khan is very motivated by a potential Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight. I’ll take Khan by disputed split decision.
Record: 4-1 [Last pick: Wladimir Klitschko SD 12 Kubrat Pulev]
Amir Khan W 12 Devon Alexander: I like what I’m seeing from Amir Khan working with Virgil Hunter. His defense is better and he seems to have more purpose when he throws a punch than does Devon Alexander.
And whether or not he ever fights Floyd Mayweather Jr., Khan still has that possibility to motivate him to prepare him properly to win this fight.
Record: 4-0 [Last pick: Manny Pacquiao TKO Chris Algieri]
Stephen Donatelli, guest/fan, Pittsburgh, PA.
Amir Khan W 12 Devon Alexander: Amir Khan is very thirsty right now, will have the perfect opportunity to quench it against crafty Devon Alexander. The winner will be included in the Floyd Mayweather Jr. sweepstakes.
Khan used his lightning quick jab and listened to trainer Virgil Hunter during his win over Luis Collazo, flooring Collazo three times. Two years earlier, Alexander dominated Marcos Maidana and edged Lucas Matthysse but he looked ordinary while falling to Shawn Porter.
While Khan will have to set traps and Alexander must get inside and invest to Khan’s body. The difference will be Khan boxing his way to a clear but competitive unanimous decision.
Record: 1-1 [Last pick: Gabriel Rosado TKO 10 David Lemieux]
Devon Alexander SD 12 Amir Khan: I expect a career-best effort from Devon Alexander, who knows he is running out of chances to remain a relevant factor at welterweight.
Amir Khan looked good against Luis Collazo in his welterweight debut and knows that one more win puts him squarely in the hunt for a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. or Manny Pacquiao.
Call it a hunch but I see Alexander pulling out all the stops to score a decision whose outcome sparks similar debate to Khan’s loss versus Lamont Peterson.
Record: 28-7 [Last pick: Tyson Fury W 12 Chisora]
Amir Khan SD 12 Devon Alexander: Amir Khan calls himself the future of boxing but the future doesn’t matter here. Only Devon Alexander does and everything about him poses a challenge to Khan’s claim on what and who are next.
Alexander is not noted for power but not much is needed to make Khan look like history. Khan, a good student, knows that. His hand speed and footwork are assets that can keep that fragile chin out of harm’s way. Khan has a slight advantage in both, enough for a narrow, perhaps controversial victory.
Record: 31-9 [Last pick: David Lemieux TKO 9 Gabriel Rosado]
Devon Alexander SD 12 Amir Khan: When Floyd Mayweather Jr. won’t choose either of you as an opponent, choosing instead to make you both jump though hoops, the next best thing is to fight each other.
That’s what Amir Khan and Devon Alexander are doing in an attempt to loot a big money fight from “Money” Mayweather. Who wants it more? I don’t know. Who’s going to win? I’d say Alexander.
Alexander is the underrated talent in this equation while Khan is a hyped-up bust. Inside the ring, Khan will do what he does: wheel around on his legs, maintaining a safe distance, clinching and pushing when the gap closes in on him.
Alexander is a southpaw counterpuncher but by pressing his attack early, he’ll catch Khan on the chops and hurt him. With a diminished wheelhouse, Khan’s initiative becomes Alexander’s. I see the American from St. Louis capturing a split decision that I fully expect Khan will protest.
Record: 24-12 [Last pick: Lemieux TKO 10 Rosado]
Randy Gordon, Host of “At the Fights” on SiriusXM Radio
Amir Khan UD 12 Devon Alexander: This could be an excellent fight between two world-class welterweights. Amir Khan’s hand speed and foot speed will be the difference, carrying him to a competitive but unanimous decision over Devon Alexander.
Record: 1-0 [Last pick: Floyd Mayweather Jr. W 12 Marcos Maidana]
Amir Khan TKO 11 Devon Alexander: I think this fight will be chess early and violence late. These guys are mirror images of one another as Devon Alexander is southpaw to Amir Khan’s orthodox stance.
In terms of speed, agility, athleticism and technique, Khan and Alexander tick all the boxes. But the areas where I think Khan has the advantage are heart and desire.
The Brit may have come out on the wrong end of knockout losses but it was knockout artists that took him down. Alexander can punch but I doubt the American takes Khan out.
I see Alexander losing his shape and composure down the stretch. Khan’s fitness and determination see him posting a second consecutive victory over a quality left-hander, this time by stoppage. Alexander will be broken, physically and mentally, when his corner pulls him out.
Record: 30-9 [Last pick: Lemieux UD 12 Rosado]
Amir Khan W 12 Devon Alexander: This one should go the entire route and though both are the same height, Amir Khan fights in a longer and rangier style than Devon Alexander and his piercing jabs can exploit the cut-prone tissue around Alexander’s eyes.
Khan’s chin will always be a point of concern and a target for his opponents. But Khan is faster, has a better jab, has more ways to win at his disposal and has a pretty good history against left-handers.
Record: 20-6 [Last pick: Lemieux TKO 10 Rosado]
Devon Alexander UD 12 Amir Khan: When this fight was originally made, I thought this was a horrible fight for Amir Khan. Devon Alexander can box and has just enough power to rattle the often fragile jaw of Khan.
Despite Alexander getting bulled for 12 rounds against Shawn Porter, I’m still leaning towards the St. Louis fighter in this one. Khan suggested that the move up in welterweight would make him stronger and have the ability to absorb punches better.
But even though he got past Luis Collazo, Khan was rocked in the eighth round in a fight he was dominating. Collazo looked slow and unable to get anything off.
Alexander won’t be the same, as he’ll use his speed to get off in close quarters and just might test Khan’s chin in the later rounds. It will be close but I see Alexander spoiling Khan’s Floyd Mayweather Jr. dreams.
Record: 22-9 [Last pick: Terence Crawford TKO 7 Ray Beltran]
Amir Khan UD 12 Devon Alexander: Amir Khan has been a more effective defensive fighter since he began working with Virgil Hunter. And Devon Alexander, who figures to have some difficulty dealing with Khan’s hand speed and athleticism, probably isn’t a big enough puncher to knock out Khan anyway.
Look for Khan, who fared well against the last two southpaws he fought – Luis Collazo and Zab Judah – to beat another left-hander in a reasonably competitive fight.
Record: 16-6 [Last pick: Crawford UD 12 Beltran]
Devon Alexander W 12 Amir Khan: I am picking Devon Alexander by a decision. Amir Khan was off-balance a lot in his last fight and I think Alexander is the better boxer.
Record: 4-0 [Last pick: Pacquiao KO 6 Algieri]
Amir Khan UD 12 Devon Alexander: There’s no doubting the talent level of both of the combatants. In the skills category, they both rank among the elite. However, I think Amir Khan’s speed will be difference.
Khan will maximize that advantage with volume punching and outhustle Devon Alexander. I think Alexander will try to push the pace some but I suspect Khan will establish the style and tempo of the fight early and pull away to a comfortable points win.
Record: 25-12 [Last pick: Rosado TKO 10 Lemieux]
Devon Alexander W12 Amir Khan: Great speed. Superb boxing skills. Dubious chin. Shaky confidence going in. Career-defining fight ahead of him. Potential multimillion-dollar fight on the line. Which fighter am I talking about? Both of them, of course.
Unless Amir Khan comes in with a do-or-die attitude, this fight has the potential of being the dullest fight of the year, with both fighters trying to outsmart and outbox each other in a horrendous, fan-unfriendly, not-made-for-TV match-up.
If they are serious about using this fight to drum up a potential mega-bout against either Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr., the fight could become interesting. Otherwise, it’s all Devon Alexander by a solid margin in a snoozer.
Record: 17-9 [Last pick: Lemieux W 12 Rosado]
Amir Khan W12 Devon Alexander: Amir Khan and Devon Alexander have a number of things in common. They’re both young, quick, and former champions.
They posted impressive victories in their last fights. Khan beat the stuffing out of Luis Collazo, while Alexander boxed circles around Jesus Soto Karass.
Khan believes a victory will catapult into a mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather. Alexander wants another shot at a world title. I see this bout starting slow, with Khan edging ahead in the later rounds to win by close decision.
Record: 29-11 [Last pick: Lemieux TKO 10 Rosado]
Amir Khan W 12 Devon Alexander: This is a very difficult fight to pick. Both Amir Khan and Devon Alexander have been spotty in recent fights and it’s a matter of who’s “on” more this time around.
Based on recent performances, I’d have to think that’s Khan. Khan surprised me with how sharp he looked against Luis Collazo in his last fight. Yes, Alexander looked sharp in his last fight too but I tend to think Alexander’s very best days are behind him.
I think Khan really, really, really wants a Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight and he knows he has to win this fight to get it. I’m not sure if Alexander is as motivated. So in a fight this tight, motivation could be the only thing separating the winner and loser.
Record: 23-8 [Last pick: Lemieux TKO Rosado]
Amir Khan W 12 Devon Alexander: If Amir Khan doesn’t get clipped, and one assumes even Devon Alexander could hurt him, he’s got every advantage. Khan is quicker, longer, has more range, is willing to hold and has more pop. Khan should have a strong night.
Record: 25-13 [Last pick: Rosado KO Lemieux]
Amir Khan UD 12 Devon Alexander: Amir Khan-Devon Alexander is a 50/50 fight. They are both good, quick-handed boxers. Khan has more punching power than Alexander but a weak chin, the latter of which could decide the fight.
I don’t think it will though. Khan has tightened his technique under Virgil Hunter, which allows him to protect his chin. I think the Briton is just a little faster and little better, which will allow him to win a close but unanimous decision.
Record: 19-5 [Last pick: Lemieux KO 9 Rosado]
Vince Santino, guest/fan, New York, N.Y.
Devon Alexander SD 12 Amir Khan: Amir Khan and Devon Alexander are as closely matched as two fighters can be. They are almost identical in physical dimensions, skills, resumes, mentalities and even average punch outputs per fight.
The only real difference is their fighting stances, Khan being a right-hander and Alexander, a southpaw. This should be a very difficult-to-score chess match and if draws weren’t so rare, I’d probably predict one here.
But in the end, I have to lean toward the guy who hasn’t fought as soft of opposition for the past two years, hasn’t shown a sense of entitlement and probably has just a little more heart. Alexander should squeak out a controversial decision.
Amir Khan KO 9 Devon Alexander: Amir Khan is old enough to know by now not to repeat the same mistakes. Khan got caught six years ago by Breidis Prescott looking ahead. Khan won’t do that this time.
Khan sees the big payday ahead against Floyd Mayweather Jr. and he’s going to want to put a show on to prove against Devon Alexander that he deserves it, although Danny Garcia deserves it more.
Record: 20-0 [Last pick: Lemieux W 12 Rosado]
Amir Khan W 12 Devon Alexander: I’ll go with Amir Khan to have a little bit too much power and a spearing jab that will carry the fight. Early on, Khan may run into a little trouble with the speed of Devon Alexander. But I think Khan will break through and get that jab going and impose his power advantage with great effect.
Record: 19-10 [Last pick: Lemieux W 12 Rosado]
Amir Khan W 12 Devon Alexander: I like Amir Khan in this fight because of his movement and jab. I think Khan’s stance is a bit wide open at times and that can play into the southpaw Devon Alexander’s hands.
So I’m curious to see what kind of strategy Alexander has for exploiting that. Overall, I like Khan by decision. Some may feel Khan has become less exciting under Virgil Hunter but perhaps this is the fighter he has to be at this point in his career.
Record: 6-2 [Last pick: Bernard Hopkins W 12 Sergey Kovalev]
Amir Khan UD 12 Devon Alexander: This battle of former 140-pound world champions figures to be a chess match between two skilled boxers.
Amir Khan is hoping a solid win will propel him to a spring showdown with Floyd Mayweather, while Devon Alexander is looking to gain some momentum since losing to Shawn Porter.
I think that Khan will be the bigger fighter and harder puncher but I would be surprised if either fighter hurts the other, much less wins by stoppage.
Alexander is good but Khan can be superb when he is on his game. I look for the more talented fighter to win by close decision and in this fight, it’s Amir Khan.
Record: 19-6 [Last pick: Lemieux TKO 10 Rosado]
Bradley Starks, guest/fan, Novato, Calif.
Amir Khan UD 12 Devon Alexander: This fight has a good chance of being a real snoozer with lots of feinting, dancing around and holding.
I like the adjustments Devon Alexander has made to his style but really dislike Amir Khan’s new “Klitschko on a Schwinn” approach of jabbing, grabbing and bicycling around the ring for 12 rounds.
Unfortunately for the fans, while very unpleasing to watch, this method is pretty damn effective. It is so effective that it should carry Khan to an 8-to-4 or 9-to-3-type of unanimous decision over the St. Louis native.
Record: 17-3 [Last pick: Lemieux KO 7 Rosado]
Amir Khan TKO 11 Devon Alexander: With the Floyd Mayweather Jr. sweepstakes the likely prize for the winner, this should be a terrific and meaningful match-up of two of the quicker fighters in the business.
Both men are similar in a lot of ways. Size, reach, speed, quickness. Amir Khan has the slight edge in power, which should serve him well. Devon Alexander’s southpaw style might cause some problems for Khan.
But Alexadner’s habit of keeping his chin up when he throws could leave him open to Khan’s power shots and sooner or later, Khan will connect. I say that happens in the 11th round.
Record: 16-5 [Last pick: Pacquiao UD 12 Algieri]
Amir Khan UD 12 Devon Alexander: Amir Khan vs. Devon Alexander could go both ways. It could be a disaster of a contest with both men not doing much or it could be a very highly competitive boxing match.
I see a little bit of both. Khan should be able to handle the talented but hittable Alexander. Khan will dominate Alexander later in the fight and score an unanimous decision.
Record: 26-9 [Last pick: Rosado TKO 10 Lemieux]
Amir Khan UD 12 Devon Alexander: If this fight had had happened three or four years ago, it would have been must-see TV based on the skill sets of the two fighters. Amir Khan was one of the best shows in boxing, utilizing insane hand speed, more-than-respectable powe, and a penchant to scrap. Devon Alexander had the same blinding hand speed, high-level technical skills and used the entire ring to leave opponents flustered in search of a target.
Nowadays Khan’s chin has been the main event in any of his fights and Virgil Hunter has taken an offensive barrage and turned it into a flurry-then-clinch methodology. Alexander still has skills but lacks the activity or killer instinct to make his fights truly entertaining.
At the end of the day, this is yet another potential eliminator for a Floyd Mayweather Jr. sweepstakes winner. While both fighters have suffered losses that have taken some shine off their stars, this is still a competitive fight. Both fighters rely on distance to land their shots of choice, neither being comfortable when matches go on the inside.
Alexander still has fast hands and an excellent jab that causes fighters to reset their offenses. However, with Khan having a significant amount of Virgil Hunter training under his belt, look for the Bolton man to throw combos coming in and out of the clinch, earning enough activity to impress the judges.
Record: 19-10 [Last pick: Fury TKO 9 Chisora]
Amir Khan W 12 Devon Alexander: On paper, this is a big welterweight clash with huge ramifications for both fighters. The winner will be primed as the favorite to face Floyd Mayweather Jr. next year while the loser will have to rebuild.
Stylistically, this may not be entertaining. It matches two speedsters who I feel will box cautiously, setting traps and hoping the other makes a mistake that they can counter.
The key for me looking at this fight is that Amir Khan has dealt with other fighters with speed and I’m not sure that Devon Alexander has met anyone with Khan’s speed. That said, I see Khan winning a points decision.
Record: 27-9 [Last pick: Lemieux TKO 7 Rosado]
By a one-sided margin of 22-6, the insiders favor Amir Khan to win Saturday’s welterweight clash against Devon Alexander.