WBA and IBF junior welterweight champion Amir Khan celebrated his 25th birthday yesterday (December 8). Birthdays are milestones where most people reflect on past accomplishments and set new goals. Amir Khan is no different, having already began a public campaign to have what would be the biggest fight of his career in facing Floyd Mayweather in 2012. But before Mayweather, the welterweight division and potential international stardom, Amir Khan has uncompleted tasks remaining at 140. Next up in his seventh title defense against Lamont Peterson, a fighter with good inside fighting skills and a tough mental makeup that can’t be taught. Find out why Khan still expects to deliver a “spectacular” performance Saturday night (December 10).
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Even though it was very one-sided, did you learn anything from the Zab Judah fight?
Amir Khan: Well, it was my second time fighting in Vegas. It was a full house and I could have gone out there in the first round and just try to blast him out. If I did it would’ve been like “wow, he knocked him out in the first round.” But if I didn’t it would’ve turned into a long, hard night. So, it was about sticking to the game plan, getting the jab going and just keep hitting him really. It was about learning and seeing if I could stick to the game plan. I think I did well. Freddie [Roach] was very happy. It’ll be the same thing this fight in not looking for the knockout because Peterson is a very tricky fighter. It’ll be about working it out the first couple of rounds and getting the distance right. But once I’ve gothim hurt I am going to go for the kill. I want to surprise him and really put on a show.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Lately, you’ve talked a lot about the importance of putting on a show. Does that mean you feel you haven’t been that spectacular in recent bouts?
Khan: Yeah, that’s why I’m fighting a lot in the U.S. The Maidana fight was in Vegas, the Malignaggi fight was even in New York. I’m going ot these guys’ hometowns to fight. I want to fight all over the country. Even in England when I started I fought up and down the country. I know I’ve got that style that fans like to see. Nowadays a lot of boxing is holding and hitting and standing still. When I fight you can’t blink because you’ll miss something. You don’t know what to expect. That’s why I came to Washington D.C. and Peterson’s hometown. My last couple of fights I’ve had millions watching on HBO. After this I want them to demand me fighting the best.
Beats,Boxing & Mayhem: On that note of fighting the best, we know Floyd Mayweather has an open date on May 5. I know you want that fight, but you’ve also told me before you wanted a tune-up at 147 before facing an elite. Would you have reluctance in jumping to 147 and facing Mayweather immediately in your next bout?
Khan: I mean, if he’s willing to fight me on May 5 that gives me enough time to prepare. Ideally, I’d like one fight in the 147 division before moving on to Mayweather. What people don’t understand is that in my last few fights I’ve been weighing in at heavier weights, around 150 to 154. I’ve been getting used to fighting around 147 and higher. I have the right team behind me and know exactly what I’m doing by sparring heavier guys at 154 and 160. They are big guys who hit hard as well. And I’ve hurt these guys. So when I do move up to 147, whether it’s Mayweather, Ortiz, Berto or whoever, I’ll be able to handle the power and strength of these guys.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Having toured D.C., anything stood out to you about these fans?
Khan: Back home in England everyone knows me and expects to see me there. Here it’s a big shock to people. I was outside the Lincoln Memorial and a lady walked up to me like “Wow, it’s Amir Khan!” Fans here are really delighted to see me and very supportive. If you’re the best, you’ll have fans all over the world and it’s important for them to be able to see you. I expect them to be very loud Saturday night. We had a public workout on Tuesday and I was very surprised at all the fans who came out.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: What did you learn from watching Prince Naseem and Ricky Hatton’s U.S. campaigns?
Khan: I mean Ricky Hatton, Prince Naseem, Joe Calzaghe and Lennox Lewis are the big 4-5 guys that tried to make it America. The difference with me is that they did it towards the end of their careers and have 2-3 fights that did really well with the exception of Lennox Lewis [coming earlier]. Calzaghe stayed undefeated and they all did well making money. They had their fan base in England and Europe, but I want to have a fan base in America. Being that I’m still young and have titles, it’s my main goal.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Let’s look to 2012. If you could envision that perfect 2012 for your boxing career, who would be the opponents?
Khan: The perfect, perfect year would be to fight [Timothy] Bradley in February/March [and] take his title off him. Erik Morales and take his title off him. Then move up to 147 and fight Floyd Mayweather. That would be a big statement. And from there fight the rest of the top guys at 147.
Bradley has the WBO and Morales has the WBC [140 pound titles]. I have the other two belts and want to become the youngest undisputed champion out there. Bradley stopped that when he ran and didn’t take the fight on and they stripped him of his title. It’s more hurdles and takes time when someone doesn’t want to fight. If he keeps not wanting to fight I can move up and fight guys like Mosley, Ortiz and Berto before getting a fight with Mayweather.
Beats, Boxing & Mayhem: Thanks for the time Amir and best of luck Saturday.
Khan: Thank you very much, man. Take care.
“Capital Showdown: Khan vs. Peterson,” a 12-round Unified Super Lightweight World Title Fight for Khan’s WBA World Super Championship and IBF World Championship taking place on Saturday, Dec. 10 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Khan Promotions and sponsored by Cerveza Tecate, DeWalt Tools, AT&T and MicroTech. Also featured will be a 10-round heavyweight battle between Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell and Timur Ibragimov. The fights will be telecast in the United States on HBO World Championship Boxing at 9:45 p.m. ET/6:45 p.m. PT and on Sky Sports in the United Kingdom. The Walter E. Washington Convention Center doors will open on fight night at 6:00 p.m. and the first fight will begin at 6:30 p.m.