By Keith Idec
Billy Dib wouldn’t have agreed to move up two weight classes to fight an elite welterweight.
The former IBF featherweight champion just doesn’t consider Amir Khan to be that type of fighter anymore. That’s why the Australian veteran quickly agreed to replace Neeraj Goyat on short notice late last month.
The 33-year-old Dib (45-5, 26 KOs) and the 32-year-old Khan (33-5, 20 KOs) are set to meet Friday night in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
“Put it this way – you’d have to offer me a ridiculous amount, well into eight figures, to step in the ring with Manny Pacquiao,” Dib stated. “But Amir Khan certainly isn’t Manny Pacquiao. Amir definitely was a great champion, a proven warrior who’s made his mark on the game. He could be a future Hall-of-Famer and in time, I hope the boxing world will fully appreciate his skill set.
“But in the past few years, there’s been a major decline. A lot of chinks have emerged. He’s no longer the fighter who schooled the likes of Devon Alexander and Marcos Maidana. Today he’s fighting for different reasons … money!”
Khan made a $5 million guarantee to face Terence Crawford on April 20 at Madison Square Garden. The WBO welterweight champion was beating Khan easily before Khan claimed he couldn’t continue in the sixth round after Crawford landed what was ruled an accidental low blow.
England’s Khan quickly accepted another seven-figure purse to battle India’s Goyat in a fight Khan would’ve been heavily favored to win. Goyat suffered head, face and arm injuries in a car accident June 25, however, and was forced to withdraw from the Khan fight June 26.
Dib retired following his one-sided, unanimous-decision defeat to IBF 130-pound champion Tevin Farmer 11 months ago. He changed his mind and resumed his career as a lightweight early this year.
In his last fight, Dib defeated Thailand’s Surachet Tongmala (7-12, 4 KOs) by first-round knockout April 26 in Hurstville, Australia.
Dib will make his welterweight debut against Khan, who has fought at 147 pounds or higher for the past five years.
“For the first time in my boxing career, I’ve not needed to worry about my weight,” Dib said. “I’ll be far stronger, more thickset and hopefully carry my speed up, cuz I’m quick, too.
“Everybody knows I’m a quality body puncher and I’ll be bringing even more strength and power. I’ll definitely test Khan. I really fancy my chances.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.