Khan: I'll earn shot at Mayweather

Andover Advertiser: Amir Khan, pictured, wants to make a statement against Luis Collazo Amir Khan, pictured, wants to make a statement against Luis Collazo

Amir Khan has vowed to "earn" a bout with boxing's pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather by comprehensively beating Luis Collazo in Las Vegas.

Khan appeared set for a showdown with the undefeated Mayweather this Saturday, but the American instead chose to fight Marcos Maidana in a world title unification bout.

But rather than sulk, the 27-year-old from Bolton agreed to star on the undercard and will make his welterweight debut against Collazo, a rugged southpaw from New York who has won his last four fights, which includes a shock second-round knockout victory over former 147lb world champion Victor Ortiz.

While Khan is refusing to look past the 33-year-old (35-5, 18Kos), he hopes a dazzling display will put him in the shop window for a lucrative showdown with Mayweather later this year.

"As long as I put on a great performance I'll earn that shot [at fighting Mayweather]," he said at the final pre-fight press conference.

"But, to be honest, I'm not looking past Collazo. I need to win this fight and take it from there. I need to put on a good performance and we'll see what happens.

"It's going to be a hard fight. It will be tough and exciting, but I think I have all the tools to beat him.

"He's coming off a big win so I know it won't be an easy fight. I'm looking to make a big statement on the Mayweather undercard."

Many observers were surprised Khan chose to make his bow at welterweight against an experienced campaigner in Collazo, having not fought in nearly a year and struggling badly last time out against Julio Diaz before earning a razor-thin points win.

Questions marks over his ability to take a punch continue to dog Khan (28-3, 19Kos), but he insists he has been honing his technique with trainer Virgil Hunter and that his time away from the ring may prove to be a blessing in disguise.

"I'm excited to put on a great show. I've trained my way up to this weight. The hand speed and movement is always going to be here but there are a lot of new things you will see," he said.

"I'm going to put on a great performance and I hope we give the fans what they want.

"Spending this time with Virgil Hunter has only made me a better boxer.

"I've been working hard and improving myself. It's not like I've been taking time off. I've been sparring and working on my style."

For his part, Collazo is determined not to be another stepping stone on Khan's path to a potential shot at Mayweather, and is keen to upset the odds in a bout that will be contested for the lightly regarded WBC Silver welterweight title.

The former WBA champion gave Khan's compatriot Ricky Hatton all sorts of problems before losing a tight - and controversial - decision eight years ago, but claims he is now at his peak as he attempts to pull off his second shock win in a row.

"This is the highest of the high for a boxer and I'm humbled by the opportunity," he said.

"It's been a tremendous ride. I'm blessed to be here and soak this moment in.

"Khan, welcome to the welterweight division. Once the bell rings you're going to see the best Collazo you've ever seen."

Both Khan and Collazo tipped the scales at 147lbs at Friday night's weigh-in.

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