Former world light-welterweight champion Amir Khan heads into the biggest fight of his career so far tonight at the MGM Grand knowing a victory could lead him to the promised land of a match-up with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
In stark contrast, a defeat against Luis Collazo in Las Vegas would push him to the very opposite end of the spectrum and possible career wilderness for the once-celebrated 2004 Olympic silver medallist.
Recent form has not been great for Khan since his crowning unification night against Zab Judah in 2011, with two devastating defeats preceding a pair of mediocre victories over blown-up lightweights Carlos Molina and Julio Diaz.
Four fights in three years is not ideal preparation for Khan as he faces a solid career welterweight in Collazo, as the New Yorker hits hard and barring one solitary stoppage as far back as 2002, keeps coming all night long absorbing any punishment.
Khan, 27, does possess power himself as his 19 knockouts will testify, but it will be interesting to see if he carries that with him to 147lbs for what will be his debut at the weight on the back of a ten month ring absence.
The experienced Collazo is currently riding the crest of a wave following his crushing two-round win over Victor Ortiz, although that could be a deceiving triumph in some quarters. Ortiz has been faded and evidently lost his spark in the sport since securing a big pay day against Floyd Mayweather in 2011 and has never been the same since that September night.
At 33 years old, this opportunity represents a return to his heady days of fighting the likes of Ricky Hatton, Andre Berto and Shane Mosley in the world title bouts of his prime for Collazo, who will know that this is his last chance to claim another championship challenge in such a huge event as ‘The Moment.’
There is plenty of talk that the winner could be pitted against Mayweather in September, or even next May, although whether Collazo would be given the opportunity if he comes out on top is debatable to say the least. The general consensus is that Khan is the name Mayweather wants to build for a future fight, but the Bolton technician call ill-afford to get involved in a punch-up with Collazo to prove himself a worthy PPV opponent.
Box and move will be the order on the day for Khan, who has to use his elevated power to break Collazo down over the duration, and whether any of that blistering speed has been affected by his move up will also be interesting to observe.
If Khan is on top of his game as he was in 2010 when overcoming Paulie Malignaggi and Marcos Maidana, then Collazo could be in trouble and be stopped late. If the 2012 Danny Garcia Khan shows up, it could be an early night for Collazo to celebrate yet another big knockout performance.
Mayweather v Maidana is live on BoxNation in the UK from 2am, visit BoxNation to subscribe on a monthly basis.
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