Boxing News At Five

Boxing News at Five: Khan has summer fights in the UK, US and Saudi Arabia on the table, Smith says Canelo never really wanted to fight him

Amir Khan
Amir Khan has a number of potential fights in the pipeline for this summer, and Callum Smith has accepted defeat in the race for Canelo Alvarez

THOUGH he admits his career is winding down, Amir Khan maintains he has a number of appealing and lucrative options for his next fight, which he hopes will take place this summer.

The former WBA super-lightweight champion hasn’t been seen in a boxing ring since swatting featherweight Billy Dib aside in Saudi Arabia last July but is now apparently gearing up for a return.

“Hopefully, I’ll announce a date around Ramadan time. I want to fight around summertime,” Khan told IFL TV. “I’ve got deals on the table for America, I’ve got a UK fight, and I’ve got a fight in Saudi Arabia. I’m going to look at all the options and see what the best deal is. Let’s see what deals are out there.

“I don’t mind working with Matchroom. Hopefully I’ll find out in the next couple of weeks what direction I want to go. I still feel like I’ve got a lot left in me. I’ve made some money in the sport. I’m thinking one or two more fights, and then let’s see where it goes from there.”

At this point Khan isn’t so much looking to prove himself as prove others wrong. As a former world champion and Olympic silver medallist, the Bolton fighter has achieved more than most could dream of achieving and earned more money, in the process, than most could ever hope to earn. Yet now, at 33, Khan feels there is still a bit more to be squeezed, both from his talents and from the teat of boxing.

Amir Khan
Khan drops Dib in Saudi Arabia (Dave Pinegar/Maynard Comms)

It appears increasingly likely that Callum Smith, the WBA super-middleweight champion, has been beaten to the punch by fellow Brit Billy Joe Saunders, the WBO super-middleweight champion, in the race to land a life-changing payday against boxing superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.

The two have been chasing Alvarez for some time, with both switching positions of power throughout the past few weeks, yet it is Saunders who, according to reports, is set to be announced as the Mexican’s opponent for a fight on May 2.

Smith, the one who misses out, has taken a philosophical approach to the disappointment.

“He made me an original offer, which I believe was too low,” Smith said to Sky Sports. “I said no. I believe Billy Joe said no to the same offer, and then I kind of thought we’d start negotiating, have a back and forth, but that was it. They made one offer and then went to social media saying I didn’t want the fight. But they went back and forth with Billy Joe and he got the fight and good luck to him, I hope he goes over there and does it.

“I don’t think they ever really wanted me in the first place. They just covered their own back by saying they’d offered me the fight and I turned it down, which wasn’t the case.

“Obviously I’m disappointed. I’ve said in the past it’s a fight I never believed I’d ever get. I still don’t. But to get an official offer, you do start thinking, ‘Will I get the fight?’ and start thinking of ways to beat him.

“But it is what it is. I’m in a good position. I’m world champion, I’m undefeated, and I’m sure there are big fights out there for me without Canelo Alvarez. It is a fight I wanted, but good luck to Billy Joe.”

Ever the gentleman, no doubt Callum Smith will in the end be torn between rooting for his countryman and hoping all that planning and research, with regards to fighting Canelo Alvarez himself, doesn’t go to waste on May 2. In some ways, it will, for Smith, be a no-lose situation. Or, rather, is it a no-win situation? Only time will tell.

Callum Smith v John Ryder
Callum Smith was disappointed with his performance (Dave Thompson/Matchroom)

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  • Canelo is only interested in being a “genuine” 4 division world champion and it’s obviously easier to beat a middleweight pretending to be a super middleweight like Billy Joe Saunders rather than the number one super middleweight and Ring champ Callum Smith. Canelo is only interested in achieving his goals while keeping everything low risk/high reward – he learned that from Mayweather.

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