NEW YORK CITY: Britain’s Amir Khan snubbed world welterweight champion Devon Alexander for a title fight next month as speculation continues that Khan will be the next opponent for unbeaten Floyd Mayweather in May.
Now International Boxing Federation champion Alexander, a 26-year-old US southpaw, has fired back at Khan ahead of his December 7 title defense at Brooklyn against unbeaten compatriot Shawn Porter.
“They felt I was a big risk, that I was too much for him right now,” Alexander said Tuesday of Khan’s camp.
“I was ready to fight him. He pulled out so it didn’t happen that way.
“You have to be a true champion and true fighter. I’m an old school fighter. I will fight anybody. I know that fight would have given me the notoriety I need that I’m one of the best in the welterweight division.”
It was the second major bout this year against a British fighter that fell through for Alexander, who was to have fought Kell Brook until the British fighter suffered a broken leg.
Britain’s Lee Purdy was a late replacement challenger but failed to make the weight and was stopped after seven rounds last May, but Alexander said he would have beaten Brook, and Khan as well.
“Of course I want the big names, the big wins, so I can get the notoriety,” Alexander said. “Those fights fell through. They would have been great wins for me. If they don’t want to get in the ring with me, what can I do?
“When I’m focused and mentally prepared, can’t nobody beat me.”
While the chance of a big payday against Mayweather could spark such a snub, both Khan and Mayweather camps have said no such deal is in place, although it remains the subject of much talk in boxing circles.
Alexander, 25-1 with 14 knockouts, won the IBF crown in October of last year at Brooklyn with a unanimous 12-round decision over compatriot Randall Bailey.
“I’m going into this fight like I’m fighting Floyd Mayweather,” Alexander said. “He’s going to be ready, but it’s not going to be enough.”
Should he dispatch Porter, 22-0 with one draw and 14 knockouts, then Alexander is more likely to fight the winner of the Zab Judah-Paulie Malinaggi bout on the same card than Mayweather, at least for now.
Porter suffered the only blemish on his record in a 10-round draw last December with Mexico’s Julio Diaz, whom Porter defeated in September by unanimous decision in a rematch.
“When Amir stepped down, a lot of excitement built up in my body and I can’t wait to let it out,” Porter said. “I have way more to bring to the ring than Devon thinks.”
Alexander dismissed Porter, saying his skills are limited and citing an amateur victory in Ohio when both were children.
“I remember going three one-minute rounds throwing pillows at each other. We’re grown men now. I’m hungry and I’m up for the challenge,” Porter said. “That gives me confidence he doesn’t know what he’s up against. He won’t be 100 percent ready for this fight.
“I can match his speed. I’m more powerful than he is. You’ll see me rough him up.”
Porter touted his experience as a sparring partner for Filipino icon Manny Pacquiao ahead of the Asian star’s 2009 win over Miguel Cotto and a 2011 victory over Shane Mosley.
“I’ve got a lot of rounds under my belt with Manny Pacquaio and a lot of experience. That makes me comfortable fighting a southpaw with quick hands and quick feet,” Porter said.
“Manny is one of the best of our time and I’ve gone toe to toe with him, backed him
up and made him fight me.”
Alexander responded, “I’m not a sparring partner. I don’t have that mentality to let myself get beat up. I’m a champion. This fight is going to be one of my signature fights.”
Alexander hurt his left hand against Purdy six months ago but says it is fine now and “I’m going to throw that left hand like a rocket.”