LAS VEGAS – Amir Khan dominated Devon Alexander on Saturday night before a crowd of 7,768 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena to retain something called the WBC Silver welterweight title.
But the real question is: Could a fight with Floyd Mayweather be next?
Khan was in the running for a bout with Floyd Mayweather in February, but the pound-for-pound champ instead elected to fight Marcos Maidana on May 3. An excellent performance against Luis Collazo on that Mayweather-Maidana undercard boosted Khan's stock, and now with his excellent performance against Alexander, the native of Lancashire, England, could be primed for his shot against the pound-for-pound king.
"Now I know why Mayweather doesn't want to fight him: Brilliance. Brilliance," Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya said. "I wouldn't want to fight him. Mayweather will think twice about fighting Amir Khan."
Perhaps Mayweather already has.
He mentioned the possibility of fighting Manny Pacquiao in a Showtime interview Friday night, and that’s the bout everyone wants to see. But it remains a long shot, leaving a potential opportunity for Khan (30-3, 19 KOs).
"I just fought a three-time world champion and I proved to be a force at 147 pounds," Khan said. "I feel I have proved to everyone I deserve that fight [with Mayweather].
"I really believe Khan vs. Mayweather would be huge."
Here's how much he believes:
What Khan proved Saturday night was that he was bigger, stronger, quicker and more technically sound than Alexander (26-3, 14 KOs), winning the bout 119-109, 118-110 and 120-108 on the judges' scorecards. Khan countered effectively, landing flurries and combos that thundered with authority. He also deftly moved away from harm and commanded the ring like a fighter entering his prime.
At 28, that's probably a safe bet. It's tough to imagine him performing any better.
"He was near perfect tonight," De La Hoya said.
Here are the other notable fights Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena:
• Keith Thurman showed a different set of skills against Leonard Bundu, boxing his way to a 12-round unanimous decision to retain his interim WBA welterweight title.
Thurman (24-0, 21 KOs) used footwork, movement and counterpunching to stay way from Bundu (31-1-2, 11 KOs) and pile up points instead of displaying the thunderous punching power that's made him one of the sport's rising stars.
"Bundu was a smart fighter who switched [to Southpaw] a lot," Thurman said. "I never faced a fighter like that. We were patient and we boxed along. He was a smart veteran and I definitely learned a lot."
Thurman, coming off an eight-month layoff after rehabbing a left shoulder injury, did knock down Bundu in the first, but the challenger quickly shook off the effects.
Fans booed periodically throughout the bout, unsatisfied with Thurman's strategy and clamoring for a knockout. The boos after the bout ended were the loudest of the fight.
In the post-fight interview, Thurman called for a fight with former champion Marcos Maidana, who was in attendance.
All three judges had the bout 120-107.
• Abner Mares (28-1-1, 15 KOs) was impressive in a fifth-round technical knockout of Jose Ramirez (25-5, 15 KOs) in an entertaining super featherweight fight.
Mares, a former world champion at bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight, knocked Ramirez down in the first, third and fifth rounds, forcing the stoppage after the fifth round at the suggestion of referee Jack Reiss. Ramirez also appeared to squat and touch his knee to the canvas in the fourth after absorbing some punishment, but it was not ruled a knockdown by Reiss.
Yet the bout was not as one-sided as the result made it seem. There was plenty of back-and-forth action early before Mares started using some distance and boxing more.
"Ramirez was a tough guy," Mares said. "He took a lot of shots and gave me some, too."
A point was deducted from Ramirez in the fifth for spitting out his mouthpiece after the last knockdown.
• Jermall Charlo (20-0, 16 KOs) of Houston knocked out Lenny Bottai (22-3, 9 KOs) in the third round with a short, crisp left hook to win an IBF junior middleweight title eliminator. After the bout, Charlo said he was ready for IBF champion Cornelius Bundrage.
"I want the IBF title shot," Charlo said. "I knew all week it was going to be easy work. Bottai wanted to get rough, but I shot the hook and he ate it. The title shot is a long time coming."
Bottai wore regular sneakers instead of boxing shoes for the bout.
• Jermell Charlo (25-0, 11 KOs), Jermall's twin brother, easily outboxed Mario Lozano (28-6, 22 KOs) to win a dull, methodical 10-round unanimous decision. The junior middleweight played it safe, effectively utilizing his jab, and simply had too much hand speed and quickness for Lozano.