Q&A: Amir Khan on Kell Brook, Chris Algieri, Adrien Broner, boxing fans
Amir Khan is well aware of the power of social media and the internet. The former WBA/IBF junior welterweight titleholder claims his U.S. debut against Paulie Malignaggi in 2010 was the first fight to be made through Twitter. He was part of an internet fan poll to see who Floyd Mayweather Jr. would face last year (Marcos Maidana won out, even though Khan had the most worldwide votes).
So he knows what fans are saying about his interest to face former 140-pound beltholder Chris Algieri as opposed to challenging fellow British standout, IBF welterweight titleholder Kell Brook – and knows much of it is negative.
However, Khan (30-3, 19 Kos) of Bolton, Lancashire, UK, wants fans to understand that boxing a business, not just a sport (in reference to the Brook showdown the British public is demanding). The 2004 Olympic silver medalist draws his own conclusion as to why Brook continues to call out his name.
“Brook continues to call my name simply for a payday, says it could be a big UK fight – why not make it worldwide prizefight?”
The 28-year-old speed demon says Algieri would be much more than a stay-busy fight.
“Styles make fights, my style may be suited for Algieri, making for a great fight,” he said.
Khan, THE RING’s No. 4-rated welterweight, expressed his desire to face Adrien Broner and noted how social media is gaining success in helping big fights to be made.
“Paulie Malinaggi and I were the first to ever make a fight on Twitter. Some words were tweeted back and forth, by the time we knew it, Paulie and I had a fight made on social media.”
Khan spoke recently with RingTV.com’s Dominic Verdin about his dominant victory against Devon Alexander, training with Virgil Hunter, the deep 147-pound division, his polarizing popularity, Brook, Algieri, and more.
RingTV.com – Talk to us about your performance over two-division champ Devon Alexander?
Amir Khan – I was happy with my performance. I stuck to the game plan. It takes time to find your comfort zone with a new trainer like Virgil Hunter. Before the Alexander bout we spent around four fights together. I went to training camp early and because of that I had a great performance, listening to my corner; not doing anything more or less. Because of that I out-boxed him at his own game, put on the pressure, and it showed I can box and fight. Virgil was very pleased with the victory.
RTV – You were once trained by one of the most famed and highly influential trainers in boxing, Freddie Roach. Now you have Hunter in your corner. How do you rate the two?
AK – Both trainers are very good. But with Virgil he’s a technician, he’ll break down the fight. He’ll explain it to you; won’t just give you a game plan, Virgil will have you understand his formulated plan. He drills it into you and will have you execute a perfect game plan.
RTV – How are you feeling as a welterweight? Did you make the right move in going up in weight?
AK – At the moment, I am a big 147 pounder with the height behind me, suits me well. The 140-pound class was difficult. I was killing myself, dehydrating myself at that weight and I was not performing at my best. Now I can say, that I am as strong as ever and will be at my very best. I’m very happy with the results at 147.
RTV – Why did it take so long to make a move to 147?
AK – I wanted to build up to the weight and feel strong, not eat up to 147 pounds. Doing a lot of strength and conditioning with Tony Brady, doing a lot of training sessions between fights and keeping in shape. Sometimes, when not in the gym for an opponent, you’re simply focusing on your technique, improving on your style and correct the mistakes to become a better fighter.
RTV – You’re a popular athlete. However, you’re liked and disliked at the same time. Please explain why this is?
AK – First of all, I feel my popularity is well deserved because of my boxing style, being an athlete who speaks well and has achieved much at a young age in the sport of boxing. I speak the truth and give the fans their money’s worth. When Fans come and see an Amir Khan fight they see a great fight, never a boring a fight. I’m a respectful person; I have much respect for my fans and will continue to do so.
Some of these haters wish they could be me, or to be in my position. You will always have a lot fight fans disrespecting your career when you achieve so much at a young age. I have been on the scene since the early age of 17, from the Olympics. The negative feedback drives me to work harder.
RTV – Give me your thoughts on Brook’s last performance. Is he on your level as an elite fighter?
AK – He boxed Jo-Jo Dan very easily as he should. Other than his title, Brook does not have anything else. He’s not a big name, he’s not a threat to any other fighters. He pulled out of the fight several times with Devon Alexander. I had to clean up his mess with Alexander. Styles make fights and I believe Alexander would have the style to beat Brook. The only other fighter that he has faced with any real class was Shawn Porter. And Porter gave him the fight of his life. Some people thought Porter deserved the fight. He really needs to prove himself by fighting the Maidanas, the Alexanders, the Bradleys of the world. He says it could be a big UK fight – why not make it worldwide prizefight.”
RTV – Brook says he deserves a major UK showdown with you in the proposed Wembley Stadium. Do you agree?
AK – Kell Brook will not sell. He’s not big enough in the UK to fill up any seats in Wembley Stadium. People continue to make it out as if he’s a big name in the UK, not true… Brook really needs to prove himself by fighting the top elite fighters in the world. He holds a world title; prove yourself that you’re an elite fighter. Go out there and fight the A-list opponents – I’ve known hard work my whole career, why should I go out and do all the work and give him the opportunity to fight me and make good money. Eddie Hearn continues to lie to the UK public. Also, Hearn, his promoter, is pushing him to say these things about “Khan vs. Brook needs to happen.” Hearn is doing his best to persuade the boxing world that the IBF had announced an eliminator between Tim Bradley and myself, not true. Eddie Hearns is trying to fool the UK fans that I’m not taking on a decent fight, not finishing the top guys, that I am avoiding Kell Brook. All the while I’m not there to back myself up.
RTV – Let’s talk Brook’s resume and yours. Is it an evenly matched list of opponents?
AK – I’ve known hard work, by fighting the top guys in my division. Brook and Hearn are literally fooling the public by putting Brook in with these bums in his last 15 fights. He has one fought one decent guy and continues to deceive the fans and are trying to have them on their side, in order to get a big money fight against Amir Khan.
RTV – What ticks you off most about Brook and Hearn?
AK – They keep fooling, lying to all the British boxing fans to make one good payday. Eddie Hearn is a businessman who wants to make good money, so he’ll throw in one of his fighters into the ring against me to get beaten and make some good money.
RTV – Lets talk about the popularity of social media. You and Adrien Broner took it upon yourselves to call each other out on Twitter. Talk to us about the potential bout?
AK – Adrien Broner recently was calling me out on Twitter. We spoke on FaceTime and Broner feels he has what it takes to beat me. I said I would take that fight in a heartbeat. When we were speaking about coming to terms with the fight, he asked me what weight I wanted fight. Obviously I’m 147-pound fighter, I’m not thinking about moving up or down in weight. Broner asked if I could make 144 or 145, I told him you’ve been calling me out at my weight. I think realized Amir is no joke, he came to his senses and is kicking himself for calling me out, because in return I called him out. I said let’s do it, only at 147.
RTV – It’s interesting how fights are now being made on social media. What are your thoughts?
AK – The first fight ever made on social media, it was on Twitter with Paulie Malignaggi. Paulie tweeted something over to me, I tweeted back and bang we had a fight on our hands. That was my first on American soil, and with that I realized how powerful social media has become. Just imagine how popular Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson would be with today’s social media.
RTV – Talk to us about the potential bout with Algieri. Some fans are not too intrigued with this fight. Share with us your thoughts on the proceeding matchup?
AK – The reason it may be Algieri is because Ramadan falls in June, mid-June, now Ramadan falls in between that month, so the reason I want that fight for the month of May, because I want to prepare for Ramadan. I don’t want to have a fight and go into Ramadan days later. Algieri, could very well be a dangerous fight for me. Styles make fights, my style can and may be well suited for Algieri, making for a great fight. A fight with Algieri will keep me focused and motivated to give a better performance than let’s say Manny Pacquiao. Algieri has beaten the likes of Ruslan Provodnikov, the kid is a fighter and I’ll give the fans a hell of a fight.
RTV – Will you be fighting on May 30 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn?
AK – We have three venues held, Staples Center in Los Angeles, Barclays in Brooklyn and the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. We are looking at May 23 and May 30 as our fighting dates. All three venues would be great for me. So I am looking forward to all three venues.
RTV – You took upon yourself on Instagram with proposing a fight with Miguel Cotto at a catchweight of 155 pounds. Were you serious about the fight?
AK – It’s what all boxing fans would want and I’m obviously a fan. Miguel Cotto is a great fighter, but if you break it down, you look at my style, for me it’s a good fight. I really have something that would beat him, I would build myself up to that weight, and take that fight. I really believe I could win that fight at a catchweight, that’s great fight and win for me.
RTV – What are your thoughts on two familiar opponents: Danny Garcia vs. Lamont Peterson?
AK – It’s gonna be a good fight. Garcia had some tough calls. Garcia boxed well against Lucas Matthysee and Lamont Peterson had a rough loss against Matthysse. Mauricio Herrea took some steam off Garcia and against Rod Salka he needed a guy like that to rebuild his confidence. I believe Garcia will be up for this fight and with Lamont Peterson he had a hard loss and was able to come back with a good win in his last two fights. Look, styles make fights and it could be a good fight. If Peterson stays very tight and keep away from Garcia’s left-hook, he could box him to a decision. If Garcia gets him with some big bombs early and hurts Peterson, Garcia can get to Peterson and take out his game plan that could very well end matters. It’s a 50/50 fight but I am leaning towards Garcia but it’s a good fight to watch.
RTV – Mayweather-Pacquiao, break it down for us, Amir.
AK – Mayweather-Pacquiao will be a decent a fight for the fans and will go the full distance. I believe Mayweather will steal the fight. Pacquiao will win four or five rounds, Mayweather will win the majority of the rounds and will more than likely walk out with a unanimous decision.
RTV – Any final words would like to share with your fans?
AK – I would like to thank all of my fans for their support and I want them to know I will continue to challenge myself in the sport of boxing. And I will continue to bring exciting fights and give my very best in each and every fight.