Accomplished and widely recognizable former world champions still in the prime of their careers — Amir Khan and Devon Alexander — participated in a Golden Boy Promotions press conference on Tuesday at The Conga Room at L.A. Live to formally announce “ROYAL BATTLE” on Saturday, Dec. 13, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas; live on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). Former world champion Victor Ortiz was also in attendance as he prepares for his undercard bout against an opponent to be named.
An important welterweight battle for both fighters, British superstar and former unified super lightweight world champion “King” Khan (29-3, 19 KOs) of Bolton, England will take on former two-division world champion Alexander “The Great” (26-2, 14 KOs) of St. Louis, Mo., in the 12-round main event on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®.
Four more talented boxers, all unbeaten, will compete in two world title fights on the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast: undefeated interim WBA Welterweight World Champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (23-0, 21 KOs) of Clearwater, Fla., will defend against a consensus top-five ranked welterweight Leonard “The Lion” Bundu (31-0-2, 11 KOs) of Lazio, Italy, and WBO Junior Middleweight World Champion and 2008 U.S. Olympian Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade (21-0, 14 KOs) of Providence, R.I., will risk his 154-pound belt against tough undefeated up-and-coming star Jermell “Iron Man” Charlo (24-0, 11 KOs) of Houston, Texas, who’ll be getting his first crack at a world title.
Ortiz (29-5, 22 KOs), of Ventura, Calif., and former three-time, three-division world champion Abner Mares (27-1-1, 14 KOs) of Downey, Calif., by way of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, will fight on the undercard in separate bouts against opponents to be announced.
Tickets for the event are on sale and are priced at $300, $200, $100, and $50, not including applicable service charges and taxes. Tickets are limited to eight (8) per person with a limit of four (4) at the $50 price range. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets also are available at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.
Here’s what the boxers as well as trainers Virgil Hunter (Khan) and Kevin Cunningham (Alexander), and Senior Vice President of Golden Boy Promotions, Eric Gomez, had to say on Tuesday:
AMIR KHAN, Former Unified Super Lightweight World Champion
“This fight means a lot to me. At the end of the day it’s going to be a tough fight against an A-class opponent who I really believe I can shine against. This is a big fight for me. I’m one of those fighters that loves a battle and that’s exactly what this fight will be. I really want people to tune in and enjoy the show.
“I look at this as a make or break fight for me. I am focused 100 percent on this fight. [Floyd] Mayweather is motivation for me, makes me work harder, but my main goal is to get past this fight. If I win this fight it will take me onto bigger and better things. This is a statement fight for me and if I beat [Devon] Alexander, then I believe I have secured my position in a super fight, but it’s all about winning this fight and looking good.
“My last fight [against Luis Collazo] helped me because he was a southpaw and Devon Alexander is also a southpaw. I can take the experience I had in the last fight into this fight and hopefully we will get the job done. Devon [Alexander] is a very good and skilled fighter like myself. It’s going to be a game of chess to find out who is the bigger and more skillful fighter.
“This fight’s been brewing for a long time, a lot of people want to see this fight. We’ve had this fight in the works for a couple years now, but now it’s time. It’s a fight that the fans are going to love. You’ve got two fighting styles, two young fighters that are hungry and also two fighters that are at the peak of their career.
“Virgil [Hunter, trainer] has taught me to spend more time in the gym, which I’ve been doing the last two the last two years to become a better fighter. Going into this fight I’m going to be a different fighter.
“I feel like my style, with speed, power, hand and foot movement, would give someone like Floyd Mayweather problems. Floyd’s a great fighter, but first we have to look good and shine against Alexander and then I think the fight with Floyd will be secured.
“I’ve noticed with Alexander that when he wants to fight he can fight and when he wants to box he can box. The thing about Alexander is he’s quick and has good movement, but he needs to develop his power and sit down on his shots a little more. He is getting better as a fighter and I know that he’s going to be ready for this fight.
“Alexander is fighting a big name and is also fighting in Las Vegas for the first time, so it’s only going to motivate him to train harder. When it comes down to the fight he knows that if he wins there will be a bigger prize at the end of this.
“I like fighting in Las Vegas in front of an entire crowd. We are looking at having a lot of Brits turn up from the UK to Las Vegas. It’s going to be one hell of a show and I want the fans to know that. It’s going to be an exciting and explosive fight.”
DEVON ALEXANDER, Former Two-Division World Champion
“It’s going to be a huge fight, everyone’s talking about it and everyone knows what it means. This fight can catapult me to the top level. I’m ready to fight; it’s going to be awesome. Two guys with speed that are both determined not to lose. We have both tasted defeat and don’t want to taste it any longer, so that makes for a great fight.
“We’ve been working exclusively on speed and movement during this training camp. I’m making sure my reflexes are there so I can come off how I want to. It’s all going to come together and it’s going to be an awesome night for me.
“As far as me being underrated, I do believe that I am. I’ve been in with top-notch guys and people are quiet about those things. But it’s OK because I’m going to continue to prove myself and earn my respect.
“I don’t believe his hand speed is going to give me problems. I’ve fought them all, I’ve been fighting since I was seven-years-old, so I’ve seen it all. I am going to utilize whatever he does to my advantage and that’s how I’m going to get the victory.
“It’s a dream come true for me to fight in Las Vegas. Every time that I was supposed to fight there during my professional career it always fell off. I said to myself that whenever I do fight in Las Vegas it’s going to be the right time, and there’s no better time for me then on Dec. 13.
“All Khan does is hit, hit, hit and move out in every fight. I’m a versatile boxer who can stand in the pocket but also be a smart fighter. I fight differently in each fight.
“I’ve come from some very rough times. When I was seven I never thought that I would become champion, but here I am under the big lights of MGM Grand. You just have to stay true and believe in yourself.
“Ever since I was seven I believed that I could be a champion and Kevin [Cunningham, trainer] instilled that in me. He stuck with me and I needed that. He started the gym and I never looked back because that was the opportunity for me to get out.
“This is definitely the biggest fight of my career because this fight determines who goes to the elite level and who has to start back over again. This fight determines who the cream of the crop is and I plan on showing people that I belong at the top.”
VICTOR ORTIZ, Former Welterweight World Champion
“I’ve fallen a few times in my career, it happens. I don’t care what career you choose to do, you’re going to fall. You get up and shake it off and move forward.
“Two years ago I broke my jaw in a fight, but I didn’t sit around feeling sorry for myself. I immediately took on Dancing with the Stars and six weeks in I was eliminated. From there I get a call from Sylvester Stallone to do Expendables 3. Why not? I can’t fight and my jaw is still shattered, so I went to Eastern Europe for three months.
“I had the opportunity to fight on the Mayweather-Maidana undercard in May but I didn’t want to risk my boxing career because I was still injured.
“No one is forcing me to keep boxing, but I’m only 27 and I have a lot left in me. I’m in my prime and at the end of the day I’m back in the ring. It’s in me to fight and I have a lot of unfinished business in the ring. I will, mark my words, be one of the greatest.
“This is a fight that I’m taking very seriously. I can’t afford to fall. I’m fortunate to have options, but right now my option is to be world champion.
“I’ve put two films aside to fight on Dec. 13. I could’ve trained and acted at the same time but I knew that I had to focus completely on this fight.
“Not having an opponent doesn’t affect my current training. I’m finally with a team that I feel confident with and at home with.”
VIRGIL HUNTER, Khan’s Trainer
“The training is going quite well. Where we are six weeks out, we feel real good about that. The stakes in this fight are enormous. A lot of people are talking about this fight being an elimination fight to fighting Mayweather. I’m not sure how true that is, but we’re not paying attention to it because we’ve been down that road before.
“The focus is on fighting Devon [Alexander]. It’s mixed emotions for me because I’ve known Devon since he was 10-years-old. But I knew inevitably that a day like this would probably come so I’ve put that aside to go about the business.
“Amir [Khan] is going to have to be completely focused to beat a two-time world champion. Both of these guys have been to the top of the mountain and have proved that they know how to get back there.
“Whoever has the most focus and implements their game plan consistently is the one who will emerge victorious.”
KEVIN CUNNINGHAM, Alexander’s Trainer
“Training is going well so far, everything is going as planned. It’s a great fight for both fighters, both fighters need this fight. It’s a huge opportunity for both guys, two of the best welterweights in the division. Both have good accomplishments and have fought all the top guys.
“As far as my guy, I think that this is the perfect fight for him. Devon has the skill set, ability and timing that you need when you fight a guy like Amir Khan with his style.
“Timing is the key. Amir is fast, but he’s not quick. Devon’s going to expose a lot of the mistakes that Amir makes, like coming in and pulling out with his chin up.
“Devon has had opportunities to prove to people that he was everything they thought he was, but he has come up short in the past. We accept that, but this opportunity here will propel him right back into that situation and the scenario he was once in going into the Tim Bradley fight.
“Right now, this is the biggest fight of Devon’s career. If he gets past [Amir] Khan, he puts himself right back in the mix with Mayweather. Anything else than a Mayweather fight for us after beating Amir Khan would be a major disappointment.”
ERIC GOMEZ, Senior Vice President of Golden Boy Promotions
“We’re excited about this fight card. The main event really is a toss-up. It is two guys going at it in their prime. It’s a 50-50 fight where the winner is going to be in a great place. This is the type of fight that fans want to see, where they see that guys are risking something. You can’t clearly see who is going to win this fight, and that’s exactly how this entire card is.
“The winner of this fight is going to earn a shot at fighting Floyd [Mayweather]. They aren’t necessarily going to get Floyd because he decides who he wants to fight, but they would have earned it.
“You’ve got four fighters who are undefeated fighting in the two world title fights so it’s going to be a great night of boxing.”