By Keith Idec
Devon Alexander is trying not to dwell on his fight against Amir Khan falling through.
Alexander and Khan were tentatively scheduled to square off Dec. 7, but the fight didn’t materialize and Alexander (25-1, 14 KOs) instead will defend his IBF welterweight title against Shawn Porter (22-0-1, 14 KOs) that night at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The St. Louis native declined to speculate on Khan’s decision to go in a different direction on a conference call Tuesday, though he indicated Khan’s handlers might’ve considered a fight against him too risky because England’s Khan (28-3, 19 KOs) is a potential opponent for Floyd Mayweather Jr. (45-0, 26 KOs).
“You have to be a true champion and a true fighter,” Alexander said. “I’m an old-school fighter and I’ll fight anybody. … There’s a lot of rumors out there about why Khan pulled out, why this, what that. But I can’t speak on that. I wanted the fight because I know that fight would’ve given me the notoriety that I need, that I’m one of the best welterweights in the division. And, you know, it didn’t happen.
“Who knows what he’s thinking and what his team’s doing? I don’t know. I think that they thought I was a big risk, that I was too much right now for him or whatever. I don’t know. But I was ready to fight him in December, but he pulled out, so it didn’t happen that way.”
The 26-year-old Alexander also was supposed to encounter another British boxer earlier this year, yet that fight was postponed three times, first due to undefeated Kell Brook’s ankle injury, a second time due to Alexander’s biceps injury and third time because Brook suffered a foot injury. Brook (31-0, 21 KOs) has won twice since his shot at Alexander was postponed a third time. The second of those wins, a fourth-round stoppage of Ukraine’s Vyacheslav Senchenko (34-2, 23 KOs) on Oct. 26 in Sheffield, England, came in another IBF elimination match that enabled Brook to maintain his No. 1 spot in the IBF’s 147-pound rankings.
If Alexander tops Porter, who’s rated No. 6 by the IBF, an Alexander-Brook bout probably would be scheduled for the fourth time at some point within the first half of 2014.
“Kell Brook fell through and the Amir Khan fight fell through, which both would’ve been great wins for me,” Alexander said. “But everything happens for a reason. If the fighters don’t want it, if they don’t want to get in the ring with me, what can I do? The only thing I can do is trust in my team to give me the best opponents, the best things that I need at the time.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.