Amir Khan (30-3, 19KO’s) made a huge statement at welterweight this evening with an almost shut-out of former two weight world champion Devon Alexander (26-3, 14KO’s) at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
From the opening bell the speed disparity between the two fighters in hand and foot quickly became very apparent as Khan boxed smoothly off the back foot peppering Alexander with fast combinations whilst he tried to set his feet himself to throw some counter shots.
Both fighters feinted often during the initial stages as Khan almost systematically drew the St Louis’ boxer on to take lead, Alexander willingly obliged which unfortunately only worked to his detriment.
Circling effectively to his left right throughout the contest, Khan took any sting away from his opponent’s back hand, whilst also drawing gasps from the crowd for stinging the onrushing Alexander with fast precise shots.
Each round seemed to play out to the tune of the same script, with Khan landing eye-catching combinations whilst Alexander was limited to very small patches of success to the fury of his trainer Kevin Cunningham.
Khan to his credit, vigilantly listened to the instructions of trainer Virgil Hunter in between rounds and appeared to execute a rehearsed game plan almost to a tee. Seven rounds to none and those 50/50 odds by Bookmakers were looking a little strange to the eye now.
Alexander “The Great” managed to save the embarrassment of a complete shut out on most audience score cards with a semi-effective eighth round; the 27 year old needed to build on his success going into the ninth after encouraging words from his corner, but he failed to do so and Khan simply tore away up the score card.
Cunningham implored his fighter to go in search of the knock out during the final stanza, but Khan was just too fleet of foot, too ring savvy and too effective at smothering on the inside to avoid danger – those inactive months last year with trainer Virgil Hunter really look to be paying off right about now.
Credit where credit is due, at 28, Khan seems to not only have grown in stature, but also seemingly improved his concentration and implemented an effective defensive technique that without dampening his all action crowd pleasing style – seems to work.
The back-to-back losses to Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson seem a million miles away now and so does the version of Amir Khan that participated in them.
Speaking in a post fight interview he said, “I’ve proved I belong at the elite level with this victory, with Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao and they’re the fights I want next. I’m 28 and feel like I’m just reaching my peak now. I feel better than I did as a 25-26 year old when I was a world champion.”
In the co-feature, Keith “One Time” Thurman (24-0, 21KO’s) scored a unanimous shutout victory over former European welterweight champion Leonard Bundu (31-1-2, 11KO’s). The technique, speed and ring generalship of Thurman meant he could control the action and box at a pace in which he felt comfortable.
While Bundu did apply pressure, an early knock down courtesy of a sweet counter shot on the inside by Thurman, seemed to generate a certain reluctance to engage from the Italian.
The crowd booed a little, but with a staggering KO percentage throughout his fledgling career, people need to accept that you can’t knock everybody out, that doesn’t mean Thurman won’t continue to try.
Former three weight world champion Abner Mares (28-1-1, 15KO’s) gained the fifth round retirement of a very game Jose Ramirez (25-5, 15KO’s). Ramirez came to fight from the opening bell but Mares was too smart, too sharp and too skilled for the 27 year old and after several knock downs and a hat-full of heavy shots, the referee and corner had seen enough.
Jermall Charlo (20-0, 16KO’s) won his official IBF 154 pound eliminator against Lenny Bottai (22-3, 9KO’s) in just three rounds. Charlo punched too hard and Bottai always looked out of his depth. A show down with champion Cornelius Bundrage now awaits.
Victor Ortiz TKO3 Manuel Perez
Jermell Charlo UD10 Mario Alberto Lozano
Beibut Shumenov RTD5 Bobby Thomas Jr
Errol Spence Jr TKO5 Javier Castro
Yoshihiro Kamegai TKO4 Oscar Godoy