By Sean Crose
Sometimes you get thrown off. Big time.
There I was, listening in on a conference call to promote the Devon Alexander-Amir Khan fight this weekend, when promoter Oscar De La Hoya was asked if he was positioning fighters to face Floyd Mayweather because he felt a Mayweather-Pacquiao bout would not happen.
De La Hoya responded that Mayweather-Pacquiao has been bounced around for years. “Why” he asked “should I believe that it’s going to happen now?”
Wow. Just wow.
Let’s step back for a moment and think about this. Perhaps Oscar was simply exasperated by the question. As he himself stated, he was “just speaking as a promoter,” on this conference call.
Oscar’s not running Mayweather’s or Pacquiao’s careers, after all. His job, as the promoter of Khan-Alexander, was to focus Monday’s call on the respective fighters and on their upcoming battle.
Still, his words could pierce through stone. At a time when everyone is back to talking to about the “superfight that never was,” De La Hoya’s words betrayed a degree of impatience that was worth a curl of the brow.
Although he made it clear that he has no real idea what’s going on with supposed negotiations between the Mayweather and Pacquiao camps, Oscar also made it clear that he’s not holding his breath. What’s more, he let the world know that he’s not going to stop doing his job because of a bout that may or may not occur.
Good for him, I say.
Sure, Floyd and Manny would be great, but the world’s not going to end if it doesn’t happen. And boxing isn’t going to cease to exist either. There ARE other fighters out there, after all, two being Devon Alexander and Amir Khan, welterweights who are going to meet this Saturday in Vegas.
“This is a tremendous, tremendous opportunity for me,” Alexander said on the call. Indeed it is. After being beaten in 2013 by Shawn Porter–who went on to get whupped by Briton Kell Brook–Alexander is looking for redemption as he prepares to face a world class opponent on Showtime.
“Mentally,” Alexander said of his loss to Porter, “I just wasn’t there.” He wasn’t making excuses, however.
“It won’t happen again,” Alexander added. “I promise you.”
Khan is also looking for a bit of redemption. He pretty much spent a whole lot of time playing the waiting game in hopes of meeting Floyd Mayweather. It was a game he ended up losing. Yet the Englishman seemed to have learned from the experience. For he wasn’t heard going on about Mayweather on Monday’s call. He was talking about Saturday.
“I’m not looking past this fight,” Khan claimed. “This is a dangerous fight for me.”
Indeed, the man is clearly taking the challenge which is Devon Alexander seriously. “I’ve had a dietician,” Khan said, “I’ve had a chef cooking for me. . .I’m not cheating myself in any way.”
As for the possibility of a Mayweather matchup, Khan spoke with what seemed like newfound wisdom.
“I just don’t want it to happen,” he said. “I want people demanding it.” As for coming across like a bride stranded at the altar over the past year, Khan was equally clear.
“I never want to make that mistake again,” he stated firmly.
I mentioned to Khan that he seemed more at ease now than he did in the past and asked if trainer Virgil Hunter had anything to do with it.
“It has a lot to do with Virgil,” he admitted.
And what about Khan’s infamous chin?
“I’ve run into those shots,” he told me, referring to his famous knockout losses. “When you run into a shot it’s like you’ve been hit twice as hard.”
Yet the talkative Brit went on to inform me such scenarios are now things of the past.
“We’re not the fighter that we were before,” he claimed. “I’m getting older. I’m getting wiser.”
He may have to be wise against his latest opponent. For earlier in the call, Alexander let his confidence be known.
“I’m ready to rock and roll,” the man said.