Amir Khan has called time on his dream of regaining his light-welterweight world titles and will instead step up to the 147lb limit in the autumn, with current IBF boss Devon Alexander likely to provide his first opposition at welterweight.
Alexander stopped the limited Lee Purdy in seven rounds last time out, despite suffering a hand injury in the opening stanza, but whilst the St Louis native is a gifted pugilist he remains an ideal introduction to the welterweight division for Khan.
“Alexander The Great” is just three fights into life at 147lbs himself, having made the same step the Briton is now contemplating in February 2012, but with the exception of the Purdy stoppage the KO power that was conspicuous at the top level at junior welterweight has remained absent in points wins over Marcos Maidana and Randall Bailey.
The lapses in defensive concentration that have pockmarked Khan’s career at the top level mean he’s always liable to being stopped by a big-hitting foe, so facing Alexander will give him a better chance of making a winning start in his new division.
Khan was knocked down in the fifth round of his recent catch-weight bout against Julio Diaz, but it’s believed that he will be more resilient at 147lbs, a weight closer to his natural size.
Khan’s reasons for making the step up to welter are three-fold, the lack of a guaranteed fight against junior welter stars Danny Garcia or Lucas Matthysse in the near future, a lack of desire to waste his natural 153lb frame down to 140lbs any longer and above all the dream of a mega-fight with Floyd Mayweather.
With added resilience may well come added power, as the Lancashire boy has to indulge in less draining pre-fight wasting and Khan will relish the challenge of pursuing a bout with Mayweather.
First he may have to get past fellow Briton Kell Brook, who is currently ranked fourth – behind only Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez and “Money” himself – in Ring magazine’s welterweight world rankings.
The likeable Bolton pugilist can currently be backed at 100/1 for the 2013 BBC Sports Personality of the year.