The night of December 7 will likely dictate the magnitude of Amir Khan’s future after it was confirmed by promoter Richard Schaefer that the Brit will fight Devon Alexander at the end of this year.
Golden Boy CEO Schaefer is targeting Dubai as the venue for the world title collision but has New York’s Barclays Centre as a backup option, according to Martin Domin of the Daily Mail. Either way, Schaefer says the pair will fight.
“Both of them want to fight this year,” he was quoted as saying in Domin's article.
For Khan, the bout resembles his first dip into the welterweight ocean, and victory would add the IBF welterweight crown to the multiple world titles previously won at light welterweight.
More importantly, a win over a name like Alexander would instantly hand Khan the necessary leverage to chase several mega-money fights in the lucrative 147-pound division, including a potential showdown with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
However, the risk is just as great as the reward for the 26-year-old, who is 2-2 from his last four fights. Wins over Carlos Molina and Julio Diaz have gone some way to reestablishing Khan’s reputation, but still fears remain over his chin after the shattering July 2012 loss to Danny Garcia.
A step up to welterweight could hand Khan the speed advantage but will also carry the threat of opponents with greater punch power.
Alexander, though, has been to a decision in five of his last six contests and represents a suitable first dance partner against whom Khan can test himself at the elevated weight.
Khan could also have a major home advantage should the fight take place in Dubai, having developed a formidable following in the Middle East. Not that Khan will rely on such factors influencing the fight, according to Domin’s article:
I do have a lot of fans in the Middle East and especially in the UAE. Maybe he does feel that everyone will be against him if we fight in Dubai. But I can assure it will be a fair fight, obviously. If it happens, it will be a global event.
The major risk for Khan is that he could wreck his dream of operating in welterweight terrain before it has even materialised. He predicts 147 pounds will prove to be his more natural weight class in years to come, but a debut defeat to Alexander would leave him to fall back into the light welterweight ocean.
Moreover, Alexander is a man in form after winning his last four bouts and has only been beaten once, by Timothy Bradley—conqueror of Manny Pacquiao.
Nevertheless, Khan has always been a risk-taker and likes to fight when the stakes are high, which is part of his attraction to a U.S. audience. December 7 will see him roll the dice again, and rarely will the stakes have been bigger for the former Olympian.