LAS VEGAS (AP) — Amir Khan put his name in the mix for a possible fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr., using his speed and accurate right hand Saturday night to win a lopsided 12-round decision over former champion Devon Alexander in a welterweight matchup.
Khan (30-3) won round after round using the same formula, jabbing at Alexander and following it with right hands that found their mark more often than they missed. The British fighter didn’t knock down Alexander (26-3) and never seemed to really hurt him, but was impressive enough to solidify his spot in the lineup for a possible fight next year with Mayweather.
Khan’s quickness was too much from the opening bell as he kept the southpaw Alexander on the outside and was first with his punches in most exchanges.
Khan pitched a shutout on one ringside scorecard, winning 120-108, while the other judges scored it 119-109 and 118-110. The Associated Press scored it 119-109.
“I didn’t call Floyd Mayweather out with total confidence before, but now I feel I proved to everyone I deserve that fight,” Khan said.
Promoter Oscar De La Hoya said it is a fight he would love to make, if Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao can’t come to terms for a bout next year. Mayweather said Friday he wanted to fight Pacquiao, but immediately put conditions on negotiations for what would be the richest fight ever.
“He almost had a perfect fight with a southpaw, which is very complicated,” De La Hoya said. “He has proven himself over and over again. You can see the determination in Khan’s eyes that he wants Mayweather.”
Khan never seemed to hurt Alexander but was in control throughout. His dominance was shown by ringside stats that had him landing 243 of 563 punches to 91 of 461 for former two-time champion.
“I’m getting better with age,” the 28-year-old said. “The Mayweather fight didn’t happen last year, but I now believe I’ve earned it this year.”
Alexander pressed forward through the fight, but never seemed able to solve the speed and accurate punching of Khan.
“I was having a hard time catching him,” Alexander said. “I tried to follow the game plan but something just wasn’t right.”
Late in the fight, Khan started opening up more, throwing flurries of punches to Alexander’s head. Alexander kept advancing, but didn’t throw nearly enough punches and landed even fewer even as he needed a knockout to pull out the fight.
Still, there were scattered boos from the crowd of 7,768 at the MGM Grand in the final round.
The stakes were high for both fighters on a night where top welterweights jockeyed for position on two different cards on the Las Vegas Strip. Timothy Bradley, who lost his last fight to Manny Pacquiao, drew with Diego Chaves in an HBO fight down the street at the Cosmopolitan.
Khan was a 3-1 favorite against Alexander, a former champion who has held titles at 140 and 147 pounds. The British fighter was offered a chance to fight Alexander for a title at this time last year, but declined the fight because he thought he would get a bout with Mayweather instead.
Mayweather, though, picked Marcos Maidana as his opponent, and this time Khan didn’t really have a choice but to fight Alexander.
In another welterweight bout with big fight implications, Keith Thurman won an easy decision over Italy’s Leonard Bundu to remain unbeaten in 24 fights. But the big puncher didn’t win over the crowd at the MGM, which booed him in the ring afterward for not knocking out Bundu.
Thurman also didn’t do much to boost his stock for a main event fight, though he could be in one next against Marcos Maidana, who watched from ringside.
Thurman scored a flash knockdown less than a minute into the fight, but seemed content after that to box against Bundu on his way to a lopsided decision. All three judges scored the fight 120-107.
Thurman threw twice as many punches as Bundu and landed three times as many. Bundu was credited with landing just 62 punches over 12 rounds.
“He was tricky. I’ve never met a fighter like him,” said Thurman, who knocked out 21 of his first 23 opponents. “He came to not be knocked out and he was able to do that.”
Bundu, a 40-year-old fighting for the first time outside of Europe, lost for the first time to fall to 31-1-2.
Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.