Ricky Hatton has warned Amir Khan "he will come unstuck" if he decides to stand and trade shots with Luis Collazo during Saturday's bout at Las Vegas' MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Hatton, who endured a mighty scare against Collazo during his debut welterweight win in 2006, believes his fellow Englishman must consciously fight to his strengths when making the jump from 10 stones to 10st 7 lbs, reported by David Anderson of the Mirror:
"Amir has this wonderful boxing ability, great footwork and hand speed, so I'm a little bit puzzled why he always wants to have a war with everyone," said Hatton. "If he does that against Luis Collazo, he will come unstuck."
Hatton, who believes himself to have been physically stronger than Khan when making the jump, says he was no longer able to "bulldoze" opponents in the higher weight class. Considering Khan isn't the type of fighter to dominate through brute physicality, Collazo is sure to pose a real problem.
The Brooklyn-born southpaw is currently on a four-fight win streak, per Boxrec. His latest triumph came during January's knockout of Victor Ortiz, who went down for the count after receiving a heavy right hook in the final moments of the second round.
Hatton believes Khan "must be disciplined" if he is to avoid a similar fate. The Hitman suggests Khan can make the fight "as hard or as easy as he wants to," but will lose if he "stands there and has it out with Collazo," per Anderson's report.
Khan enters the battle having beaten Carlos Molina and Julio Diaz in his last two fights. This follows the controversial loss to Lamont Peterson and defeat against Danny Garcia, suggesting Khan can't afford any more slip-ups if he is to secure his well-documented dream bout against Floyd Mayweather Jr.
It's been almost a decade since Khan landed his famous silver medal in the 2004 Athens Olympics. One of his smartest performances since turning professional came against Andreas Kotelnik in 2009, a bout which also saw him move up a class to light welterweight. Knowing his physical limits, Khan utilised speed and precision to capture his first world title via unanimous decision.
Hatton suggests Khan needs to rekindle this tactical performance if he is to overcome Collazo, saying he will win "quite comfortably" if this happens.
Khan believes he is in the best shape of his career, as reported by the Irish Examiner:
"You're going to see an improved Amir Khan, the best Amir Khan, there's no doubt in my mind about that," said the confident Englishman.
Fighting on the undercard of Mayweather vs. Marcos Maidana, Khan will never get a better opportunity to land a shot at the former's unbeaten record. Another loss in front of a huge American audience could prove fatal to his chances of every facing Money and will certainly limit his appeal to Vegas promoters in the future.
Khan's ability to fight intelligently will define whether he walks or stumbles away from Collazo. This is a pivotal moment in Khan's career—one that will see him either push on or suffer a telling blow—suggesting he must find his elusive best to topple a challenging opponent.