"ROYAL BATTLE: AMIR KHAN VS. DEVON ALEXANDER"
MAIN EVENT CONFERENCE CALL TRANSCRIPT
Thank you so much, everybody, for calling in today. This call officially kicks off the "ROYAL BATTLE: Khan vs. Alexander" fight week activities. We have both Khan and Alexander on the call
today; we will start with Devon Alexander and his trainer, Kevin
I turn the call over to Oscar De La Hoya, Golden Boy Promotions'
president and founder, to make the official introductions, I just wanted
to remind everybody that Wednesday we will have our grand arrivals and
workouts at 1:00 p.m. at MGM Grand right next to the sports book. And
on Thursday we will have the final press conference with all of the
televised and non-televised fighters; that will be at 11:30 a.m. in the
media center. And on Friday, of course, we have the final weigh-in.
have a lot of media on the call today, which just shows how big this
fight really is and that we are going to end the year with a bang. To
talk a little bit more about the fight, I am going to now turn it over
to Oscar Da La Hoya, founder and president of Golden Boy Promotions.
Oscar De La Hoya
you, thank you very much, Lisa. Yes, we are here, fight week. "ROYAL
BATTLE'' is going to be an entertaining card from top to bottom,
headlined by Amir Khan versus Devon Alexander. We are just thrilled to
be giving you a such an amazing card from top to bottom with a co-main
event featuring Keith Thurman against Leonard Bundu which will be a WBA
welterweight title fight scheduled for 12 rounds. We also have Abner
Mares, we have Jermall Charlo, and we also have the return of Victor
Ortiz, which, I'm hearing, he's looking better and stronger and faster,
mentally tough. We're really looking forward to this event being a great
this moment, let me take this opportunity to introduce to you our first
participant, he is accompanied by his great trainer, Kevin Cunningham.
And let me introduce to you, to say a few words, before we start the
Q&A, Devon Alexander.
thanks, Oscar. How are you guys doing? To all the media, thanks for
having me. Thanks for being on the call. Like everyone said, this is a
tremendous opportunity for me. I'm excited to actually get my chance
to be in the bright lights at MGM Grand.
is an opportunity I've been waiting for since I was three years old and
I'm going to take full advantage of it. So, again, I want to thank
Golden Boy; I want to thank all the participants who got this fight done
and I'm ready to rock and roll.
O. De La Hoya
thank you very much. And you can't have a great fighter without having
a great trainer. And at this moment, let me introduce to you, to also
say a few words and speak about the preparation and what's been going on
behind the scenes, that is the great Kevin Cunningham.
want to thank everybody on the call; thanks to all the press and the
media for taking time out for this conference call. It's a huge fight;
huge ramifications. And thanks to everybody involved; Golden Boy, Al
Haymon, Great Promotions, Khan Promotions.
the most part, this is the type of fight that every fighter wants; a
very big fight, it's the end of the year so it's the last fight of the
year and it's one of the biggest fights of the year. So we plan on
ending the year with a bang. This fight will catapult the winner into
Mayweather sweepstakes, Pacquiao sweepstakes, so it's huge; it doesn't
get any bigger than this. Devon's up for it; we had a tremendous
training camp, great sparring, and we're ready to go.
O. De La Hoya
we go to Amir and Virgil, let me just give you a few details on the
SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING event that's taking place this Saturday.
The telecast will begin at 6:00 p.m. PT. This event is being promoted
by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Khan Promotions and Great
Promotions. We are also extremely proud and happy to be working
alongside our great sponsors that Golden Boy has. Thanks Corona Extra,
thanks to AT&T, and Mexico-Live It To Believe It! The tickets are
priced at $300, $200, $100, and $50; tickets are going excellent and we
do expect a tremendous turn out. That goes to show you what kind of
fight this is.
is an even fight, this is a fight that, obviously, will put both guys
in line, once again, for that Mayweather sweepstakes. So we are really
looking forward to, once again, showcasing this event live from the MGM
Grand Arena in Las Vegas. So we feel that the winner of this event will
obviously move on to that and hit the lottery with, hopefully, a
Mayweather fight down the line.
have, also, SHOWTIME EXTREME, which I mentioned, which will be
showcasing the highlights of Victor Ortiz. Errol Spence, Jr will be on
the telecast as well. We have Jermell Charlo versus Mario Lozano;
that'll be a 10-round junior middleweight fight. So this card is
really stacked and we are really looking forward to it.
So, now for all the media, we can now go to a couple of questions before we go into Amir Khan.
This fightwas supposed to have taken place a year ago. How different is it, fighting him a year later?
fighting him now, the only thing different about the fight is the fact
that we're not coming in as the champion. That's the only difference I
see in it.
me personally, I feel the same way, just I'm not champion anymore, but
the stakes are still high and the reward is still there. So, there's no
difference. Not one of us has lost recently, so I don't see any
difference. Both of us are still going to be hungry, both of us know
what's at stake, so it's no different.
did you prepare Devon a little differently, given that Amir might be a
different fighter now that Virgil Hunter's working with him?
we prepared based off the challenge ahead of us and the opponent ahead
of us. Each opponent is different so we prepare based off what we're
dealing with and what style and the type of opponent we dealing with.
There's always different preparations for each fighter because there's
different styles, different techniques, so you got to come with
different strategies for different opponents.
prepared for Amir Khan, the best Amir Khan that could possibly show up
Saturday night; that's who we prepared for. He's with Virgil and he's a
better fight since -- he looks to me to have improved since being
trained by Virgil Hunter and that's the Amir Khan we prepared for.
fact that Virgil is his trainer and Virgil happens to be, also, a good
friend of mine, that just got my juices flowing even more so that could
be trouble for Khan.
you're focused on Devon getting in the ring with Amir Khan, you got to
win the fight. But, is it at all, in your mind, that this is, maybe,
that last step to the big mega fight that you've wanted for some time?
I didn't say the fight wasn't as big because we weren't coming in as
champion because the stakes are still high and the whole purpose of the
first fight was to catapult the winner into a Mayweather mix. The
stakes are still high and the ultimate prize is still there.
just as excited, just as jacked up as we were for the first fight. It
doesn't get any bigger than this and we know what the stakes are, we
know what the type of position that you'll be put in coming off a win in
this fight, so it doesn't get any bigger than this. The fighters, I'm
almost sure both fighters, but I know Devon for sure, is super excited,
focused, and ready to go.
can you speak about that? Do you try not to think about it? Does it
motivate you? What are your thoughts about the prospect of putting on a
performance against Amir on Saturday and then maybe propelling yourself
into that caliber of an event?
like my coach said, this is definitely exciting and it's in the back of
my head. A fighter would be lying if they say, I'm not thinking about
that; I'm thinking about the opponent ahead. But, you know they'll be
lying. So, it's in the back of my head, but my sole focus is Amir
Khan. Everybody knows what can be after the fight, but I'm focused on
Amir Khan and what he brings to the table. After this, then we'll
talk. Other than that, my sole focus is on Amir Khan.
Porter fight was, by your own admission, not even close to your best
performance. What do you think went wrong that night and how have you
changed when you're going in with Khan, who is probably a fighter that's
more on the same level of a Porter than of a Soto Karass?
in that fight I wasn't thinking in that fight. I didn't follow the
game plan. Mentally I wasn't there. Mentally I was just not using my
skill in that fight. Mentally I just wasn't there.
didn't use my legs. I took him a little lightly because I beat him in
amateurs, but that's no excuse. I know that the loss was from what I
didn't do; it's not what Shawn Porter did and he was a magnificent
fighter. He had all these skills. It was just something I didn't do
and it won't happen again, I promise you.
With Khan you then think that he fits into your style of fighting?
he fits -- every fighter fits in my style of fighting. I just got to
know their weaknesses and what I got to do is - out-power them and
outsmart them. Everybody can be beaten. It's about the team coming up
with the game plan to beat the guy that's in front of you. I don't see
anything special with Khan, he's a little fast, but what else?
Everybody's fast. But what else, you've got to have something else in
your arsenal at the top level.
has it taken so long for you to make your way to Vegas? Was it
something that just wasn't on your radar or was it just the right
opportunity never came along until now?
It was all because of opportunity. I wasn't presented with a time to
fight in Vegas. A couple of times, in the beginning of my career, when I
was supposed to, it always fell through. But, like I said, I said to
myself, whenever I do fight in Vegas, it's going to be for something big
and what's bigger than this and at MGM Grand. So, I'm excited to be in
Vegas for this one.
all that's going on in St. Louis and Ferguson, specifically, do you
feel like this is a fight where you're corner of the world really needs a
Yes, of course. I want to bring all the positivity. I know all of St.
Louis is going to be looking at me from the Ferguson situation.
They're looking for something positive to come along with all of the
rioting and everything like that. This win is going to make them feel
like they won, too. So, I definitely want to make it; definitely want
to look good and make a statement doing it and bring this victory back
home to St. Louis.
Alright, I've got a question; it could be for you and Kevin. Does it
kind of bother you that it almost seems like civil rights is being
ignored in boxing. Does bother you that nobody's really speaking up?
just everybody -- you get scrutinized when you come out and say
something or it's like you get punished for saying what you feel
nowadays or just saying the truth. So, a lot of people are scared to
say anything. If the time's right for me to say something, I'm
definitely going to say something. That's just what it is. You have to
be real sometimes and you have to tell the truth at times; you just
can't -- you got to work out the consequences later. If it's the truth
and it's real, then how can anybody argue with it?
just think everybody's wants to stay politically correct because
everybody's image-conscious so they're focused on their image. You got
corporate sponsors and you got to be careful about annoying your
sponsors and whatnot. You don't have a lot of the guys that stood up
like the Muhammad Alis, the Jim Browns and Kareem Abdul-Jabbars, who
were back in the day.
a political situation and everybody wants to be on the right side of
the political issue in terms of their image, and wants to stay
politically correct because of monetary values and to protect their
sponsors and protect their faith; they don't want to screw over their
career. People will turn on you if the wrong thing comes out your mouth
because once it goes out there, you can't take it back. So, you have
to be careful. But if it's the truth and it's from the heart, I don't
see any problem with speaking up for what's right.
how close is Ferguson to where Devon grew up and how much do you think
about, now, what you helped to save Devon from, when you think about
situations that happen like that?
Devon grew up about 20 minutes from Ferguson, but I grew up in
Ferguson; went to Ferguson Junior High and Ferguson -- McCluer High
School, which is in Ferguson. So I actually grew up in Ferguson. Devon
grew up, maybe, 15 minutes away from Ferguson.
a sad situation, but I think it's a situation that's taking place not
only in Ferguson, but it's all over the country. When you've got the
powers that be and the city hall and the police department that doesn't
represent the community that it's serving, you're going to always have
problems. So, until we get to a point to where we can go out and vote
and put people in office that understand the people in the community
that they're representing, there's going to always be problems. I think
that's a nationwide problem, not just a Ferguson problem.
Are you guys going to do anything visually to represent what you're going to do in the ring in terms of representing St. Louis?
we're going to represent St. Louis the way we always represent St.
Louis. We'll have Mike Brown, Sr., he'll be at the fight with us.
That's pretty much what we're doing in a nutshell, in reference to that.
can you talk about the light that's going to be shined on the
welterweight division on Saturday night given that, Tim Bradley's
fighting Diego Chaves, and Khan's fighting Alexander, and Keith Thurman
is also fighting that night, and what emphasis that puts on those
O. De La Hoya
welterweight division will have all eyes on it this Saturday with Amir
and then Devon, you mentioned Tim Bradley, Keith Thurman; winners out of
those fights will be in line and knocking on that door to fight
Mayweather or Pacquiao. This is a very important night and that's why
ticket sales are going extremely well. That's why both fighters know
what's at stake and I think we're going to not only get an entertaining
night of boxing for all the fans, but we're also going to have a clearer
picture on who's going to be fighting Mayweather and Pacquiao next.
are you going to do to be the last man that they're talking about on
Saturday night? Is a win going to be okay or do you really need to look
I got to bring out all the stops in this fight. I got to bring my
skills and it's just got to be me. I need to be Devon Alexander "The
Great" that guys have been knowing me to be; I'm going back to the days
where people knew me as up-and-coming star. That's the performance I'm
looking for and that's what I'm bringing to this fight.
definitely need to win and I want to look good doing it. I think all
of the winners that night is going to be a lot of people looking at them
and saying these are the future of Welterweights. So, I definitely
want to look good doing it.
being your first fight in Las Vegas, are you going to be composed? Is
there going to be nerves or did those previous experiences and longing
to be there, is that going to be enough preparation for you?
of course. I've been on the big stage before and I've definitely been
prepped. Those are the times that were prepping me for the time for MGM
Grand. All the times that I've been coming to the ring and getting
ready and getting those nerves out, that's prepared me for MGM Grand.
actually kind of excited. I'm kind of in the mood of I'm just smiling
and being happy and enjoying the moment. I'm just ready to get in there
and do what I do and show people how good I am. I'm definitely going
to take full advantage of this situation so no nerves at all, just
last question for you, is it almost more appropriate that you're making
your Las Vegas debut as a fighter given what is at stake and given that
this could be the jumping off point, the culmination of all your
frustrations about not getting certain fights, not stepping up when you
should of at the right time? Is it almost more appropriate that this is
It can't get any bigger than this. You're in Vegas at MGM Grand inside
the building where all the top fights go. So, it doesn't get any
bigger than that. A lot of action's coming on December 13h and I plan on being victorious. I plan on just telling people the next day how I did it and how I was able to dismantle Khan.
are you working under the assumption that we're not going to see a
Mayweather, Pacquiao fight next and that's why these guys have a chance
to step in with Floyd?
O. De La Hoya
just speaking as a promoter on what these fighters deserve. I don't
know if a Pacquiao and Mayweather fight's going to happen; I have no
don't have any inside information that you're working off of and you're
not making assumptions either way, you're just setting that up in case
it doesn't happen? The idea?
O. De La Hoya
the world has been waiting for it for several years. What makes me
think now is the time? Why should I believe that it's going to happen
I do wonder do you believe that Khan is past the problems that he's had
with his chin or do you think that's tightened up under Virgil Hunter?
my very best opinion, if you've got a shaky chin, this is boxing and if
you're just not born with a chin or if you're not born able to take a
punch, you're always going to have troubles. You're always going to
have troubles with a good shot. It's about being able to be in good
position not to get hit with good shots and I think Virgil's working on
him with that and he's trying to correct that. But, it's his fight so
you've got to be able to take a shot because you're going to get hit.
you and I have talked about this before, wondering if Floyd would fight
the sort of athlete that Devon is? Do you assume that he would take
the fight, especially if Devon won and looked good?
don't see why he wouldn't. Floyd's fought everybody. I haven't seen
Floyd ducking anybody. This is a huge fight, it's a huge promotion.
These are two of the bigger names in the welterweight division and the
winner of this fight deserves a shot at Floyd. I think Floyd will step
up and give the winner of this fight a shot, for sure, and it's been a
while since Floyd has fought a athletic, quick, African-American fighter
anyway, so I think he would step up to the challenge. I think he'd step
up and give the winner of this fight a shot, regardless if it's Devon
or Amir Khan.
Oscar, what's the key to Amir Khan winning and what's the key to Devon Alexander winning?
O. De La Hoya
I actually have no idea; I'm the guy outside looking in. I didn't train both guys, I didn't get in there.
from a fighter's perspective, from a promoter's perspective, I think
Amir Khan, we all know he has speed, he's developed a lot of power now
at 147-pounds, and there's a lot of great things that Amir Khan does
and, likewise, so does Devon Alexander. He's a great fighter and that's
why they call him "The Great". He's a guy who can adjust. He's a guy
who is fast and strong. And the great thing about this fight is that
both guys, not that they have something to prove, but they want to prove
something in this fight Saturday night. So, it's going to be
for all the media, thanks to Oscar, again, who's done a tremendous job
on my career since I've been with him, and thank you to MGM Grand,
everybody that had something to do with the fight in May. See you guys
this week. I'm going to be excited and it's going to be an awesome
O. De La Hoya
thank you very much. Today is Amir Khan's birthday, so we want to wish
Amir Khan a very happy birthday. Happy Birthday, Amir Khan.
the former Unified Super Lightweight World Champion and he's won
numerous World Titles. He keeps on proving over and over and over again
what type of fighter he is on the world-class stage. He had a
tremendous win against a young, hungry, at his peak at the moment,
Marcos Maidana where he just proved and showed to the world what a
warrior he is.
let me introduce to you, facing Devon Alexander, with a record of 29-3,
with 19 KOs, out of Bolton, England, that is Amir "King" Khan. Amir.
Hi, Oscar, thanks for the introduction. I just wanted to thank all the media for taking part in this conference call.
I'm feeling really good. I'm feeling in great shape, not far off the
weight. The weight's been good, as well. I'm really focused on this
fight; not looking past this fight, just looking at Devon Alexander.
I've been working with Virgil Hunter, my trainer. I'm here to beat him,
sticking to that game plan in the fight, and then also been doing all
kinds of conditioning work so we're going to be in full condition and in
great condition for this fight. If it goes the full distance, it goes
the full distance.
going to be ready, we're going to be in front of Devon, and we're going
to have the engine to go all the way through with good work and a good
volume of punches. We didn't get time off for 12 weeks, 13 weeks, I've
been in training camp. I've got a dietician, I've got a chef cooking
for me getting me the right food, which I think has made a marked
improvement for how I feel when I go into the gym and train. I'm not
cheating myself in anyway, I'm getting in my calories at the right
feeling fresh, I have great sparring partners; I've flown guys over
from all over America to come spar with me. Heavy guys and light guys
and guys that move, guys that come forward, guys that come in front of
me, from every different angle. We don't know what we going to be
expecting. As I've been watching videos of Devon, Devon's a good
fighter. He's a descent fighter going forward. We've worked on
everything possible, really. We did not leave anything out.
When we come to fight night on December 13h,
we're going to be ready for whatever he brings to the table and we're
going to have all the answers. So, thanks, again, for joining the
conference call and that's everything from me. Thanks.
fight was one that almost came off a year ago. Do you regret not
taking it then and rolling the dice on trying to get Floyd back then?
think things happen for a reason and I think it was my first fight at
the 147-pound division. It didn't happened last December because,
obviously, we changed a few things and I was hoping for the big fight
against Floyd and that fell through. But you need time to build into
this weight division even though I got to work on what I needed to work
on like my boxing skills and defense and taking my time. When you're in
training camps, you're focusing on you're fighter and how to beat an
opponent. That's all, you never really work on your mistakes.
this time when I didn't really have an opponent, I was just working on
improving myself, keeping in the gym. I had back-to-back training camps,
so then when I did have that fight in May against Collazo, it was a
great performance so it showed me a lot of things and it proved to me a
lot of things that spending time in training camp in between camps, in
between fights, does make you a better fighter. I think Devon's got me
at my best time, I'm much better at 147. I feel stronger at this weight
and I'm going to be more than ready; I'm going to be more ready than I
was last year.
Do you feel, in hindsight, that you were deceived by the Mayweather camp, at all?
life. It's just one of those things. Everything happens for a reason,
and it wasn't meant to be my time and I'm not going to let it get to me,
but I used it in a way as an advantage, to help me and to make me work
on the things I needed to and spend a lot of time in the gym. Having to
do that so when I did have my first fight at 147, I was very strong and
I was on top of my game.
that you've had more time to work with Virgil, would you say that
you're focusing on getting in less exchanges and looking to be a more
defensive boxer, or would you say that's not true?
still going to be the fighter that I am. It's just in me; it's in the
blood. We're just smarter. Whenever we put an attack together, there's
a reason why we're putting that attack together. There has to be a way
out or there has to be a way to stay out of trouble during that
you can still be exciting, you can still be come forward, you can still
throw a lot of punches, but being careful at the same time. That's
what Virgil's brought to the table; making me a better fighter. He's
making me a fighter that understands everything of what I have to do in
the ring and stick to that game plan.
does Devon differ from Paul McCloskey and Zab Judah, if at all, in
terms of his southpaw stance and the skills he brings to the table?
Amir, can you address that, because I know you had a little bit of
problems with Paul McCloskey before that fight was ended?
I think the Paul McCloskey fight, I think we were winning that fight
comfortably. I think we got to the fight, got five rounds and the head
clash happened and he was cut and he didn't want to continue, but I was
beating him every round before then. It was a clean win for me,
really, because the head bop. Against Collazo, here again, he's another
southpaw which I won every round, and I won that fight by a very wide
margin. I box really well against southpaw guys. Devon is going to bring
something else to the table, but I have the confidence behind me that
so far every southpaw I've fought I've beaten.
What does Devon bring that is new?
brings hand speed to the table. He brings movement, likes to be
aggressive, so we're going to be ready for whatever he brings to the
table, and whatever he does we're going to have answers for. He's going
to come fight, it's a massive opportunity for him. He's going to
Vegas, and obviously he wants to put on a performance. Being in Vegas,
I've headlined there a few times, so I know exactly what to expect, so
I'm going to be nice and calm. But, it's a good time for him, and he
should make the most of it.
can you address what he said about Devon and how the fight maybe with
Collazo helped to prepare him for this one, or is that a completely
are two different fights, but as long as you have the proper mindset,
you should be able to make the adjustments. Without a doubt, as Amir
said, Devon brings a lot of attributes to the fight, and you have to be
able to adjust to those attributes at any given time. That was the
purpose of our camp, in order to try to negate whatever he brings, but
there's no doubt that he brings a lot to the table.
you had said when you first got him that it's going to take a while for
him to break some old habits. Did he, in fact, do all of those things
against Collazo, and why do you think it took that fight? What all
culminated in that fight?
think one of the main things that happened that leading up to the
Collazo fight is that we had a lot of time to work together. He was
anticipating another fight, so he was coming here and I was going to
England, so we spent a considerable amount of time together. During
those times we worked on things that we felt would enhance his ability
and also make him more aware of what's going on in the ring.
would like to think that he has graduated tremendously to another
level, but there are other levels to obtain. He has a high bar set. I
don't think he's reached that bar yet, but you can't continue to get
better until you can continue to set the bar high. So, I'm very happy
and pleased where he is at this point in his career and at this point in
course you've been going after that Mayweather fight for a few years.
How important is it for you to make an emphatic statement in beating
Devon Alexander Saturday night?
know what? Why do you go to the Mayweather fight? I think every
fighter in the welterweight division wants that big fight against
Mayweather to see how they'd do against the best fighter. Us young
fighters, and us hungry fighters, we want to fight the best and you want
to beat the best and you want to see how you do against the best. You
never want to leave boxing one day thinking, well, what would have
happened if I fought someone like Floyd?
make fights and some styles cause problems to Floyd. Some styles I
believe could beat him and some styles probably could be made for him.
So, you have to just go with the flow, but going in to this fight,
winning this fight could lead to a massive fight bill. To be honest
with you, I'm not looking past this fight because I know it's a
dangerous fight for me, and I made that mistake before in the past. I
used to look past the fights, and fights I should have gone in and won,
so I'm not that doing that anymore. And my team's taught me not to do
I'm so young, I'm 27, well, 28 today, and I'm still learning and as a
young fighter I'm hungry and I just have to sometimes pace myself and
just stay calm, and be patient. That's the main thing, being patient,
taking my time and whoever they put in front of me, deal with that
person and take a step back. So, I'm not looking past this fight
against Devon, because it's going to be a tough fight for me and we have
to stay focused and not really make any mistakes and look good against
it been like working with Virgil, and with that one year that you took
off following the Julio Diaz fight, what's the most you've improved on?
with Virgil is great, coming to the gym. It's not like it was in the
Wild Card, or anywhere else, like training in a gym that's full and
you've got people watching you and stuff. When we go to the gym it's
very isolated, it's very quiet. It's a good thing because you can focus
on what you need to do, and you only have people in the gym who are
your gym mates and staff and the gym manager. Only having five or six
people, and that's the most, that's when it's busy.
I think that's what a fighter needs to focus. You don't need a big gym
in front of people, because sometimes that can distract you being the
young man you need to be. I'm such a nice person and if someone tries
to speak to me I'll speak back to them, and I'll stand there while I
should be training, so really we have a gym which is closed doors and I
Virgil brought to the table, he made me a better fighter, he made me an
understanding fighter, who understands what boxing's all about and not
to make any mistakes. I'm not going back to my old self again. It's
going to be in the blood where I love to fight and everyone knows that.
with Virgil, he's made me much smarter. For this fight I must have
done over 160 rounds of sparring, which helps, because the only way of
putting it together and seeing where you are, seeing what you're up to
is when you put it to work. I put it to work against good sparring
partners and working against them and I kept my focus, kept my
composure, and I know it's going to definitively help me when it comes
down to Saturday, because I'm going to be more focused and I'm hungry; I
really want to win this fight because this fight is a big fight for me.
what's it been like working with Amir and what has helped you the most
in the two years that you've been training together?
I think any coach would enjoy working with a fighter such as Amir who
has such immense talent. At the same time you're merging together after
years of him boxing. So, you want to be careful about how you make
changes and you want to be careful how you implement things, so it is an
entire process. The entire process is continuous. It hasn't stopped,
it should never stop until the day that he retires.
always room for improvement, room for growth, and there's also
adjustments that you have to make in your style and transitions and
recreations as you get a little older. So you have to prepare for 30
when you're 28. It's just something that we have committed to, and we
just take it one fight at a time. We have a goal of being better in
each fight, and that's how we've gone about it and so far it's worked
Amir, how has this training camp gone so far?
has been great. I've been in training camp for 13 weeks and been
working very hard and we've mixed it up with lots of conditioning, with
lots of technique work, lots of sparring, lots of trying new things out,
and working on them and it's improving my old style; improving things I
need to improve on. It's been so much fun, I've had a great camp and
been very focused and I've been watching the diet and eating clean,
which I understand that better now because when you eat clean you train
better. It's like putting good fuel in a car, you know it's going to
put good fuel in your body you're going to work harder. Little things
that I've learned and I'm only becoming the full package. I've got a
lot of room for improvement yet, but I'm slowly learning. I'm improving,
that's the main thing. You can compare the Amir Khan 12 months ago to
the Amir Khan now, I'm way ahead, I'm much better and much smarter.
Hopefully on Saturday you'll see a massive difference. Every fight I'm
different. Every fight I'm different, so you'll see a better Amir Khan
going into the fight Saturday and a clever boxer.
Do you feel any pressure, Amir, to try and out block Devon to make your punches count and to earn those points on the scorecard?
just going to stick what we've got on the game plan and I know exactly
what we're going to do in the fight. It's going to work for us and
whatever that other fighter did, Shawn, or Bradley, I'm going to beat
him and get up there. That was their technique, and that was their game
plan. Now we have some things and we're going to have our own game
plan and we're going to stick to that. It's going to work for us.
Whatever they did, it worked and it shows that some things may work
against Devon, but we have our own style. My style is different to
Bradley's and different to Shawn Porter's and I'm always different
depending on my opponent, how I fight.
hard it is to not look towards the future knowing that a Floyd
Mayweather fight is probably a lot closer than it was a year ago when
you were promised a fight, but ultimately didn't get it?
look, it's going to be tough not looking past this fight, but obviously
I made that mistake before, so that's what helps me to stay focused and
I never want to make that mistake again. I'm a lucky guy because I have
a tough task in front of me. I'm not taking this fight lightly. It's
going to be a tough fight and I want to win this fight. And not only
win it, but win it with style, with fashion.
want the boxing fans and the world to demand a fight between me and
Floyd. I want people to demand it when they see Amir Khan is such a
good fight. They're going to be like, wow, he should fight Mayweather. I
don't just want it to happen, I want people demanding it.
I just have one question for you. Do you ever look at a fight as
training more for the fighter and actually trying to fight who's in his
corner as well? Do you get that same kind of vibe training for a
fighter that's being trained by Kevin Cunningham?
no, because it's a business and Kevin I knew years ago when we were
developing fighters from scratch that these days would come as well as a
lot of other colleagues that came out of that 2004 class; Barry
[Hunter], Mike [Stafford] and even Naazim [Richardson]. We knew these
days were coming. So, you have to block them out.
always a measuring stick in this sport, and Devon Alexander is a
tremendous measuring stick. You're here to excel and both sides, and
it's a time test, but it certainly will never, ever effect the
friendship that we've built up over the years. But on Saturday night we
have to block it out and we have to tend to the business at hand. So,
that's how you pretty much have to look at it.
question with you has been your chin over the years. What have you
done to improve that? Is there anything you can do; is it legwork or
whatnot, to keep you from actually being hurt again if you're hit with a
shots I've been hit with in the past, I've run in to those shots and
I've been off balance and so when you get hit with a shot you go down. I
make it look worse because I'm not in the right balance and my
footwork's all over the place. I run into to a shot, and when you run
into a shot it's like you're getting hit twice as hard, so these are
things we've kind of cleaned up a little bit and been more smart about
when we attack and not jumping in with our chin in the air and stuff
like that, really.
shots I've been hit with, I think whichever fighter gets hit with those
shots they are going to go down. It's just the way I made those
mistakes going in when someone is shot and not having any defense and
when you rush in to a shot and you don't see the punch coming, it hurts
you twice as much. I don't think people probably understand. Boxers
we cleaned it up, we're not the fighter that we were before. We fought
Collazo, we're much smarter. I think in the whole fight he got
probably one good shot and I think everything else we were smarter
because we didn't rush in and be silly about fighting him or hurting
him. So, I'm slowly, as I'm getting older I'm getting wiser and I'm
getting more experience behind me and come fight night, hopefully we'll
know exactly what to do against Devon and we know not to make mistakes
and we know he's quick, so that makes you a little bit more on the
edge. It makes you think more and it makes you much more smarter
because you've got a guy in front of you who's going to be quick and
explosive and he wants to win.
seems to be a difference in you, you seem a lot more at ease now. And
I'm just curious; how much of that has to do with Mr. Hunter?
has a lot to do with Virgil because early in the day, Virgil is
teaching me to stay calm in the gym and not rush and not get anxious.
It's a 12-round fight, you don't go in there and try to knock the
opponent out early on. That's one thing that worked for me in the
earlier fights was I just hit my opponent so early in the fight that
they never expected it and that kind of grew with me and stayed with me
and stuck with me and I started doing that all the time and I started
quick because I think I'll get my opponents cold, but no, it's a
12-round fight. I'll have a good pace, I'll be smart in the fight and
as long as I stick to the way I fight, I don't think anyone can beat
have the fastest hands in boxing and I have one of the best boxing
skill sets in the world, so if I just be smart and stick to those
skills, I don't think I'll have any problem with anyone. It's all about
when I lose that focus and I don't stick to that game plan. That's
when I make mistakes. Under Virgil I'm much smarter and I don't make
any mistakes. We all make mistakes as young fighters but I don't make
the same mistakes I used to make.
It's your first fight since your daughter has been born. How does being a family man change your approach to training?
helps. I think it helps you because at the end of the day, don't get
me wrong; I miss my daughter, I miss my family and everyone. I haven't
seen my mom, my wife, for a long time, so you miss them, but I think
this only makes you a stronger fighter. It makes you a focused fighter,
and you know all the sacrifices it take to become a champion. So yeah,
you miss them, but straight after the fight I'll get to see my family.
I'm going to see my mom probably tomorrow, I'll see her, she's in
Vegas, I fly to Vegas late tonight, so probably late tonight I'll see my
mom. I'll see my wife and my baby girl in New York a day after the
fight, like on a Monday or something. I'm looking forward to spending
time with family, but at the moment they understand about work. I'm a
fighter, and they know that. I need focus and I can't make any mistakes
and I can't be distracted in any way. I got to spend some time with
them while I was in training camp, but you can't really spend much time
with them because you are focusing on your job and it's quite hard, but
now when I go home I can spend some real family time with them.
Amir, how's it been working with Virgil Hunter and what have you guys been working on?
work on a lot of things with Virgil. We've been working on the
defensive side of boxing, the offensive side of boxing. Not making
mistakes and not getting carried away; sticking to that game plan for
fights. Since we've been doing that and in sparring we put it to
practice and rehearsed it sparring it's been working for me. Plus the
strength conditioning, which is Tony Brady, who's been working me very
hard, as well, and putting me in the right condition. So, with Tony
Brady and also Virgil putting work together, I got everything I needed
in this training camp and I feel so strong. I feel mentally prepared
because I know I'm not cheating myself; I've done everything right on
top of all the hard training I've been watching my diet, eating clean
food, having the right nutrition.
that helps a lot. One thing new is I'm actually doing very hard work
with a nutritionist playing a part. I never really focused on that, but
as I'm getting older I'm getting wiser and I'm understanding this sport
a little bit more and every little bit helps you and makes you a better
fighter. So, I'm happy with the way the camp's gone, it has gone
great and I've got to work very hard and eat good and stay healthy.
You're fighting at the home of boxing, the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. What's the buildup been like? Has it been any different?
I've been on Twitter and I've gone on to my Facebook and stuff, people
have been posting pictures of when they're in Vegas. These are normal
holiday-makers from the UK who have been tagging me in saying we're so
happy to see Amir Khan, picture of Amir Khan, a guy who's from Britain.
It makes me happy because these people are on holiday and they see this
big, huge picture of me. It just shows that the promotion is massive.
And I want to thank my team, Golden Boy. I want to thank all of them
for doing all that because they promoted this fight really well and
everywhere you go in Vegas you'll see posters of Amir Khan on billboards
on the hotels and people are talking about the Amir Khan fight.
at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, which is a mecca of boxing, it's the
best arena in the world, the biggest arena in the world when it comes to
having a fight. You have the likes of Mike Tyson, who fought there,
made it his home, so to have a huge fight there is great. I fought in
Vegas a few times, but MGM Grand is going to be my second time. The
first time was when I fought an undercard, but this time is going to be
the Amir Khan show, so I'm looking forward to it. This is only going to
drive me and motivate me to go out and do more in my career because
already at 28 I've done so much and there's still a lot left in me.
Amir, you're fighting a second southpaw in a row now. Is this a sign that perhaps Manny Pacquiao is on the cards next?
could be three in a row then, if it was Manny Pacquiao. I fight
whoever they put in front of me and with Golden Boy we looked at the
Collazo fight, which I think made sense. Now I'm against Devon
Alexander. Hopefully we beat Devon Alexander, then we see what the
future holds for us.
really belong on the big stage, belong in the lights of Mayweather,
Pacquiao, facing those guys. So, it's all about just being smart and
picking the right fight at the right time and not making mistakes.
Devon, he's a very dangerous opponent for me at this stage, and I can't
really look past it. Being a week away I've changed just for him, I'm
focused on just Devon Alexander, but I belong in the top, elite, cream
of boxing and I really believe that Amir Khan needs to fight. I do
belong in the same ring as the likes of Mayweather, Pacquiao and those
guys because I've worked very hard at my whole career and hard work pays
off. Definitely, as long as I keep winning, stay focused in this
fight, we'll get the win and we'll move on from there.
Okay, that was our last question. Amir, can you make a closing statement?
just want to say thanks to all the media. You've been great. The
promotion for this fight has been amazing, having all you guys support
and writing great articles. I've been reading them. It's been very
moving reading this stuff and you've been saying a lot, you have a lot
of confidence in me to go out there and get through this fight and look
good and be the future of boxing.
also want to thank Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions, him and
the team and Khan Promotions. Also Devon's team for taking this fight.
It's going to be an exciting fight. This is what boxing needs coming
towards the end of the year, we need an explosive fight; a fight people
are going to be on the edge of their seats, and this is what this
fight's going to bring.
I hope you all tune in. It's going to be on SHOWTIME, and I want to
thank the SHOWTIME team for their great promotion, as well, and also
they're going to be showing the fight. So, I'm looking forward to it on
SHOWTIME. I hope you guys are tuned in if you can't make it to the
fight, tune SHOWTIME. And in the UK, SHOWTIME, Sky, hopefully we can
win the fight and move on from this.
# # #
"Royal Battle: Khan vs. Alexander," a 12-round welterweight bout for the WBC
Silver Welterweight Title, is promoted by Golden Boy Promotions in
association with Khan Promotions and The Great Promotions and is
sponsored by Corona Extra, AT&T and Mexico - Live It To Believe It!
The event will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas,
Nev. and will air on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6
p.m. PT). In the co-main event, Keith Thurman defends his interim WBA
Welterweight World Title against Leonard Bundu. Additionally, Abner
Mares will face Jose Ramirez in a 10-round featherweight bout and
opening the telecast, Jermall Charlo will meet Lenny Bottai in a
12-round IBF Junior Middleweight Title eliminator. The SHOWTIME
CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast will also be available in Spanish via
secondary audio programming (SAP). Preliminary bouts will be televised
on SHOWTIME EXTREME (7 p.m. ET/PT).