Khan doesn’t get Floyd, settles for Collazo

Updated: March 31, 2014

Months after Floyd Mayweather defeated Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez his first professional loss last September in one of the biggest fights in history, Amir Khan was heavily favored to be selected as Mayweather’s next opponent. However, after Marcos Rene Maidana pulled off the biggest upset in 2013 by lifting the WBA welterweight title away from Adrien Broner last December, the public demanded that Maidana be installed as Mayweather’s next foe.

Mayweather responded by challenging Maidana, leaving Khan, a former unified WBA/IBF junior welterweight champion, in the cold. Until now, as Mayweather will challenge Maidana, Khan (29-3, 18 KOs) will appear on the undercard against a resurgent Luis Collazo (35-5, 18 KOs), a former junior welterweight world champion to what should be a very interesting showdown.

“I’m looking forward to the big fight against Luis Collazo,” Khan said during a recent conference call with the media. ”You know, it’s my first fight at 147. I’m excited, I really believe that I belong in the welterweight division; it’s going to be my division for my future career.”

The big question is whether Khan deserves the opportunity to fight Mayweather. Many people have repeatedly stated that Khan doesn’t deserve the chance to fight Floyd. Although Khan has impressive victories against PaulieMalignaggi, Zab Judah, and Marcos Rene Maidana, his resume has looked mediocre since Danny ‘Swift’ Garcia impressively unified the WBA/WBC 140-pound titles against him July 2012.  

In 2011, Khan lost the unified WBA/IBF junior welterweight title to Lamont Peterson during what was a very controversial fight. Since his two defeats, Khan has fought only twice and he did not impress against Carlos Molina and Julio Diaz. Instead of remaining active, Khan risked waiting more than one year for a chance at Mayweather. Khan scoffed at an IBF welterweight title fight against Devon Alexander at the Barclays Center last fall.

In order for Khan to prove worthy of a Mayweather fight, he has to do something significant. Khan needs to put together a string of performances worthy of the public’s interest. Two victories in the last four fights dating back to 2011 year simply aren’t enough.

At least Robert Guerrero, in the two years he called out Mayweather, leaped two weight divisions, beat both Andre Berto, Selcuk Aydin, and won the WBC welterweight championship before fighting Mayweather. 

‘Canelo’ Alvarez was an undefeated, unified WBC/WBA super welterweight champion. Mayweather fought ‘Canelo’ before Alvarez, at age 23, became a better fighter. Mayweather, at 37, took advantage of Alvarez’ inexperience at the perfect time.

Maidana has won 6 of his last 7 fights since losing to Khan in December 2010.Maidana only lost to Devon Alexander, who won the IBF welterweight title. Maidana is currently riding a four-fight win streak and is coming off a career-best performance against the highly-touted Broner.

Khan, who is 27, was shocked that Golden Boy Promotions would put Khan on a pay-per-view undercard, unlike the main event spots that Khan has grown accustomed to through the years.

“I never thought I’d be an undercard,” Khan said. “It was a bit of a surprise when they said, I’d be on the undercard. I thought it would be a good idea, because for the millions of the people that would be tuned in to watch the fight-as we all know, Floyd does get a huge crowd of people, plus he gets a lot of viewing figures-I think it would be good to showcase my skills. But yeah, it was a bit of a surprise. But like, we’re here now, so I’m going to grab it with both hands.”

Mayweather had every right to turn Khan down. Khan only fought once in the past year, and he still hasn’t done anything significant to recover from the losses to Garcia and Peterson. Also, Khan hasn’t had one fight at 147 pounds in his professional career. At least Khan was consistent with his boxing training with trainer Virgil Hunter.

“It has been tough, mentally,” Khan said. “Then just-we kind of turned that around, and we worked it towards our advantage by working in the gym, spending time with Virgil and Tony and coming to America early, having mini camps in between. Because in the last 12 months I’ve gotten more fit. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the gym. I’ve been sparring. I’ve been hitting the mitts. I’ve been working on different techniques and stuff.’’

Khan can no longer concern himself with the missed opportunity, or non-existent opportunity to fight Mayweather. Khan, in his most significant fight since December 2012, will be fighting Collazo, a fighter with good fundamental skills, a lot of experience, and a former world champion. Collazo, who fought Sugar Shane Mosley, Ricky Hatton, and Andre Berto, is coming off a great performance last October.

Collazo knocked out Victor Ortiz with a clean left-hook to the jaw in the second round. Ortiz, instead of returning to his feet to resume fighting, crawled away into retreat. Khan, who doesn’t have the best chin, must be at the top of his game the way he was against Maidana, Judah, and Malignaggi. 

“We all know Collazo’s a strong fighter, he’s a big fighter,” Khan said. “He hits hard and when he hit Victor with that hook, I mean it was a great hook, and I know he was going to give up. I mean Victor you know, really gets caught with a good shot. He doesn’t really want to sometimes exchange or get involved. He normally just takes a knee and stays down, and that’s what Collazo did. I mean Collazo caught him with a good clean shot, and Victor couldn’t continue.”

Is Khan overlooking Collazo? Collazo believes that he is being underestimated and that perhaps he is a step-down from the level of opposition Khan is accustomed to fighting. Collazo will be fighting to prove that he belongs amongst the top of the welterweight-division’s elite.

“Yes, he is {underestimating me],” Collazo said. “At least that’s what I’m hearing. On May 3, I’m going across the ring once that bell rings, you know, and he’s just got to get ready. I know I’m getting ready, and I hope he’s getting ready the same way, because we’ve got to give the boxing fans what they want, some excitement.”

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