Boxing: Khan sets his sights on Mayweather after impressing America
Monday 25 July 2011
Amir Khan is prepared to fight anyone as he continues his quest to be recognised as the world's best pound-for-pound fighter. Khan took another step towards claiming boxing's most prestigious accolade when he became unified light-welterweight champion with a fifth-round stoppage of Zab Judah on Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Centre, Las Vegas.
Accusations made by veteran American southpaw Judah that the knockout blow was low – replays suggested it was legitimate — failed to take the shine off a masterful display from the 24-year-old. Judah was viewed as dangerous opponent capable of causing an upset, but he was outboxed and bullied by his younger rival and seemed to be looking for a way out from an early stage.
It was a highly impressive display from Khan, whose stock continues to rise on this side of the Atlantic. "I'll fight anyone and there are some big names out there for me. I'll take a look at the short list," he said. "My aim is to move up the pound-for-pound rankings and to one day be pound-for-pound champion.
"I want to be the best fighter in the world. I'm still a fight or two away from there yet. At 25 I'll fight at 147lbs and see where we go from there. We just keep on collecting titles, that's what we want to do. I'm only 24 and there's a lot of improvement to come."
Adding Judah's IBF title to his own WBA belt proved surprisingly easy as a fighter who had mixed it among the best of his era – including Floyd Mayweather and Kostya Tszyu – was picked apart. Judah was fazed by the hand speed and aggression of his opponent, who marched forward with intent throughout a dominant performance. The straight left, Judah's most dangerous shots, was hardly seen thanks to Khan's movement.
The punch stats showed Kahn landed 61 times to Judah's 20 and by the fifth round he had won each session on all three of the judges' scorecards. When the end came it was shrouded in controversy with Judah, his left eye swollen and nose bleeding, claiming he had been felled by a low blow. Locked in a tangle, Khan spotted an opening and drove a right uppercut through the middle that landed just above the waistline of the shorts.
The American went down and was counted out by referee Vic Drakulich with 13 seconds of the round remaining, resulting in jeers from his disgruntled supporters.
Khan, however, was content he had ended the contest legitimately. "I don't think it was a low blow. It was a clean shot and the referee was there," he said. "In my eyes it was a clean shot, just above the belt. Zab took the shot. It was a very hard shot and we'd been working on the shot throughout our camp. It happened naturally, I fired the uppercut and it worked for me."
The manner of victory has taken Khan closer to his dream showdown with Mayweather – pencilled in for late next year – and the Olympic silver medallist is inspired by the prospect.
"The Mayweather fight is something I'm looking at for the future and it would be huge for me. It would drive me on," Khan claimed. "I've got the speed and the skills and with [trainer] Freddie Roach polishing me up a little more, it's a fight we can win."
Also on Saturday, Tyson Fury deposed British and Commonwealth champion Dereck Chisora over 12 brutal heavyweight rounds at Wembley Arena. Fury was awarded a deserved unanimous verdict by margins of 118-111 and 117-112 (twice) on the judges' scorecards.
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