Amir Khan, the former 140 pound champion from Bolton, England, will face the toughest challenge of his career when he steps into the ring against Luis Collazo on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather-Marcos Maidana show in Las Vegas on May 3.
That’s because Khan will be auditioning to be the next man up against Mayweather. An impressive victory over Collazo, who knocked out Victor Ortiz, will put Khan at the top of a short list of opponents for Mayweather’s next match in September.
Golden Boy Promotions officially announced Khan-Collazo as the co-feature of the Mayweather-Maidana card on Monday afternoon. Two weeks ago Collazo and his manager, Nirmal Lorrick, said negotiations were underway for the fight.
"I'm looking forward to fighting in Las Vegas once again and my intention on May 3 is to make a statement that I belong on this big stage," said Khan. "Luis Collazo might be coming off of a big win but I am in incredible shape and am ready for this challenge. A win on May 3 is what I need to prove that I truly am one of the best welterweights in the sport."
Khan had been on Mayweather’s radar as his opponent for the May 3 fight. But he dropped off the screen after Maidana beat Adrien Broner for the WBA welterweight championship last December. After months of negotiations with Mayweather’s people and Khan passing up a title fight against Devon Alexander, Khan thought he had nailed down a mega match against Mayweather. He signed his half of the deal, but Mayweather never signed his part of the contract. Instead Mayweather left Khan at the altar and decided to hook up with Maidana.
Khan was bitterly disappointed with the decision. But he has since cooled down and agreed to be the co-feature on Mayweather-Maidana.
Typically the undercards of major shows like Mayweather-Maidana don’t have interesting matches. But a Khan-Collazo co-feature will raise the level of intrigue for the entire card, because the stakes will be very high for the winner.
Khan (28-3, 19 KOs) will be returning to Las Vegas for the first time since he was stopped by Danny Garcia on a fourth round TKO for the WBC and WBA junior welterweight titles on July 14, 2012. He has since changed trainer, ditching Freddie Roach for Virgil Hunter, who works with Andre Ward, the super middleweight champion. With Hunter in his corner, Khan has been able to put together two solid victories since the loss to Garcia.
Khan will have his hands full against Collazo, a 32-year-old wily southpaw, whose stock rocketed after he stopped Ortiz on a second round KO at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn in January. Collazo’s career has been a series of ups and downs since he defeated Jose Rivera for the WBO welterweight title in 2005. Collazo (35-5, 18 KOs) lost controversial decisions in title matches to Ricky Hatton and Andre Berto. Collazo said he has been looking forward to meeting Khan.
"This moment is still marinating with me," said Collazo, "but I know what it takes to get here because I've been here before. I've been waiting for this fight with Amir Khan and to finally get it against a young fighter is exciting. This is like the opportunity that I had to fight for the world title for the first time.
"I'm just really excited because it's been a long time coming. It's just amazing how things are working out and I'm thanking God for it. Amir Khan has never fought at 147 pounds but, hey, I'm going to welcome him into the division."