Welterweight contender Amir Khan is expecting a technical battle on Saturday night as the Briton defends his WBC Silver title against Devon Alexander on top-billing in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The 28 year-old is riding the crest of a wave since his impressive win over Luis Collazo in the spring and believes his sharpness will be the defining factor against the former two-weight world champion.
“Speed is something that both Devon Alexander and I pride ourselves upon and I’ve never fought a southpaw with Alexander’s speed,” Khan exclusively told World Boxing News ahead of the contest.
“Luis Collazo was renowned for his power, so his speed didn’t trouble me at all, but ultimately I know my speed and power will be too much for Alexander.
“You have to approach every fight differently because at the end of the day you’re facing someone new every time. Virgil and I have watched a lot of videos of Alexander and I have been working on ways to beat him. He isn’t a renowned puncher but it’s a 12-round fight and anything can happen.
“Alexander is a great fighter and he has plenty of strengths. I think he uses his footwork really well and that is something that Virgil and I have been working on. Another major strength of his are his combinations. He very rarely throws stray shots and is usually pretty accurate with his jab.”
It has been proposed that Alexander has shown signs of mental weakness in the past in bouts against Timothy Bradley and more recently Shawn Porter, although Khan was dismissive when asked his thoughts on the American’s temperament.
“Regarding suggestions that he is mentally weak, if you have got the mental frame of mind to get into a ring and fight then I don’t see how anyone can say you’re mentally weak,” said Khan.
“I’ve got the utmost respect for anyone who sticks on a pair of boxing gloves, gets into a ring and fights. It is Alexander’s first fight in Vegas though and we’re fighting on the biggest stage of all so I’m sure this could be overwhelming for him. I’ve boxed on this stage a number of times now – and I love it.”
Khan’s collaboration with trainer Virgil Hall, whom he appointed in 2012, has been the subject of much debate in the build-up as the Bolton man is now seen as much more of a threat to the top fighters than when losing back-to-back fights to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia at 140lbs.
Since moving up to 147, a division which many see as Khan’s ideal weight class, the one-time super-lightweight ruler feels much more at home and aims to prove it once again at the MGM Grand this weekend.
“Virgil has taught me a lot in the past two years and I feel that I’ve developed so much as a fighter. He has taught me to take my time with shots and to use my head instead of trying to knock my opponents out with every punch.
“I think my performance against Collazo showed this. There were moments in the fight where I could have quite easily knocked him down but in doing that I would have taken the risk of getting knocked down myself.
“When Danny Garcia put me down, I tried forcing my jab which I didn’t need to throw, but he caught me with an overhand left so I didn’t want to make the same mistake against Collazo. So instead I took my time and ended up winning the fight by 15 points on two of the judges’ scorecards.
“I’m a completely different fighter under Virgil and in my opinion, I have never felt stronger,” he concluded.
Amir Khan vs Devon Alexander is live on Sky Sports 1 on Saturday December 13th.