Amir “King” Khan says he’ll fight anyone they put in front of him.
Of course, they all say that.
Still, you get the feeling you can believe Khan, that reputations and big names don’t mean much to him. Zab Judah, Marcos Maidana, Paulie Malignaggi, Marco Antonio Barrera. Big names and tough guys, he beat them all.
“One thing about me I think the boxing world knows is, I never shy away from any fight,” Khan said. “And this fight will take me from being a good fighter to a superstar.”
He means in popularity, not talent. He already has that.
Now the unified super-lightweight champ, Khan (26-1, 18 KOs) fights No. 1 IBF contender Lamont “Havoc” Peterson (29-1, 15 KOs) on Dec. 10 on HBO at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C., which is just down the road from where Peterson was born. But it’s a long way from Khan’s home in the United Kingdom.
Home-field advantage goes to Peterson, right? Well, not necessarily. According to Khan he’ll fill a few seats in the Convention Center.
“I think going into this fight, even though it’s in Lamont Peterson’s backyard, I really think we will have more support than him,” Khan said on a conference call Monday promoting their fight. “There’s a lot of fans coming from New York and close states near Washington DC. I really think we have a bigger fan base.”
Not that the crowd noise will be throwing any punches, but it‘s nice to hear the gang yelling for you in the background.
Trained by Freddie Roach, Khan says they have an actual fight plan to beat Peterson, a change from when he was younger and he just went out and started throwing punches.
“I used to go into fights with no game plan,” he said. “But now we go into a fight with a game plan and instructions, which makes it a lot easier. Whatever you throw, it makes sense why you‘ve thrown it.”
Asked what kind of game plan they had if Peterson started going inside and working the body, Roach shut the door.
“Do you want us to give you our whole game plan or just half of it?” he said. “He’s a tough guy inside. We’re ready for whatever he brings.”
One thing Khan always brings into the ring with him is the self-confidence that comes from believing he’s out-worked the guy he’s fighting. He says few fighters could keep up to the pace he sets for himself in training camp.
“I train very hard. I really push myself.” he said. “Not many fighters could keep up with me. When we go into camp, I know I will train a lot harder than my opponent. That’s just the way I am. I’ve been doing it since I was an amateur. If I keep training hard the way I do, I don‘t think there‘s anyone who can beat me. We made mistakes in the early days and we won’t do them again”
Khan said he’s been getting some good sparring from some tough sparring partners.
“They‘re not taking a step back,” he said, “Sparring with them is probably tougher than fighting Peterson.“
Though his focus remains on Peterson, Khan was asked about some possible big fights in his future. Two of the names thrown out were Tim Bradley and Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Roach wasn’t ready to talk about fights down the road.
“You know, my opinion is, who cares about Bradley at this time,” he said.
In the case of Mayweather, Khan was asked if he would be willing to undergo the kind of Olympic drug testing Mayweather was insisting on to fight Manny Pacquiao.
“I got tested by the British Board,” he said. “The testing was random. They could come to my house any time. They could pop into the gym any time unexpectedly. If the fight did come off, I‘m happy to give them a test because I’m a clean fighter. I went to the Olympic Games (he was a silver medalist at the 2004 Olympics)and experienced it myself. If they put Floyd Mayweather in front of me, I’ll be more than ready. But first I have Lamont Peterson to take care of. Then we’ll know exactly where I am.”
Would you pay to see Manny Pacquiao vs Saul Alvarez?