Amir Khan beat Devon Alexander by unanimous points decision to take the WBC Silver welterweight title at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Khan controlled the fight from the start, using his superior speed to stay ahead of Alexander and out-punching his American opponent who could do nothing to change the rhythm as the night went on.
Khan’s performance was reflected in a comfortable win, with the fight scored 119-109, 118-110, 120-108 - the 30th win of his professional career.
Having taken care of business, Khan immediately signalled that he wanted to use the win to earn a shot at Floyd Mayweather - predictable, ofcoure, but bad news for Sheffield’s Kell Brook, who badly wants to fight Khan.
“I really believe that I’ve earned my shot against the best fighter in the world which is Floyd Mayweather,” Khan said in his post-bout interview in the ring, carried on Sky Sports 1.
“I believe Khan v Mayweather will be huge, the UK fans will come to watch and come to support and we’re going to take the belt off him.
“I really believe Floyd will have big problems with speed, movement, accuracy. You know, Floyd’s one of the best fighters in the world, don’t get me wrong, but I want my chance now, let’s see what happens.”
In the build-up to the fight, Mayweather indicated he would rather face Manny Pacquiao, but Khan’s confident performance will help his case.
The match-up had been billed as a 50/50 contest, but Khan had other ideas as he controlled the flow of the fight and knocked Alexander off his game.
Wearing his specially-designed shorts encrusted with 24-carat gold, Khan ruled the ring as he was able to have the final word in almost every round.
Alexander could not make his jabs count, with Khan’s carefully-time flurries making much the bigger impact.
Khan was quick and hard with his punches, and Alexander was put on the defensive with his frustration - and that of his corner - clear as the rounds went by.
It was not until the eighth that Alexander landed anything to bring him encouragement, but Khan immediately responded with a big counter punch.
Alexander, desperate for any momentum, attacked in the 10th but Khan responded with a series of huge blows and Alexander looked resigned to defeat well before the end.
“We worked very hard for this fight,” Khan said. “I knew I had to make a statement at the 147lbs division against a tough guy in Devon. I think it was one of my best performances because I wasn’t rushing, I was on my feet, up against a very good fighter. I knew not to make any mistakes.”
Khan admitted he had to temper his natural instincts in order to retain control, and believes it is a sign of his growing maturity.
“I’m getting better as I’m getting older,” he said. “I’ve just turned 28, I’m getting wiser as a fighter. I know I have great boxing skills. I need to be smart in there not to get carried away. It’s in my blood to fight. When I get hit I want to fight again. At times I did do that but then I’d recompose myself and start to box again.”
Mayweather has suggested he wants to fight Pacquiao next May, but Khan again signalled that he should be the opponent.
“I think I’ve proven myself today,” he added on Sky Sports 1.
“Nobody has outboxed Devon Alexander the way I did today. I showed my skill and my class. I really believe I’m in the same line as Mayweather and Pacquiao and they’re the fights I really want. I think Mayweather maybe has one or two fights left in him and Pacquiao seems like he has a few fights in him. I want those super-mega fights to give Britain the big fights.
“In the future (IBF champion) Kell Brook could happen as well, I’m not saying no to him, but at the moment I have a different path and I want to go with a Mayweather fight.
“Floyd Mayweather is the ideal fight for me. I think he is the best fight out there pound-for-pound. It would be a game of chess, but against Mayweather I would be too skilful. I have the skill and movement to beat him.
“I feel better now at 28 than I did when I was 25. I’m hitting my peak now.”
Khan added on Twitter that he wants to fight Mayweather on May 2.
Brook, however, said that Khan should not jump the queue as the Bolton-boxer bids for a shot at Mayweather.
“It was a very good performance from Amir,” he told Sky Sports.
“He was too quick and too smart for Devon. Devon lost his confidence in the fight and Khan got into a rhythm early on.
“But I don’t think he deserves that fight [with Mayweather]. I’ve had to go the hard way and force a world title by being mandatory.
“He’s had two fights at welterweight and he’s trying to jump the queue.
“I want to hurt Khan and give the British public the fight they want to see.”
*Sheffield Manor top’s Liam Cameron triumphed over 10 rounds in a unanimous decision against Tobias Webb at Hillsborough Leisure Centre, in a British super-middleweight title eliminator.
Dronfield’s Lewis Taylor had a technical decision win over Jonson McClumpha at the same venue in an English middleweight title eliminator.
McClumpha suffered a facial cut in an accidental first round head clash and the bout was halted on doctors advice after the cut worsened late in the fifth.
See more in Monday’s Star.