If Amir Khan completes the task before him Friday, he wants to go after the ultimate test of his life’s work.
Khan will fight New York’s Chris Algieri on Friday night at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, the main event of a Spike TV Premier Boxing Champions card that begins at 6 p.m. Pacific.
“This fight will show I’m the best boxer,” Khan said of a welterweight bout pitting former junior-welterweight world champions. “This is a good test for me against someone who’s also orthodox, has good energy, high speed, moves well.
“It’s a good style for me to work on.”
For guess who?
Khan (30-3, 19 knockouts) is intensifying his campaign to be Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s next opponent.
Mayweather (48-0), coming off his record-making May 2 unanimous-decision victory over Manny Pacquiao, has said he wants to honor his deal with Showtime and fight once more, on Sept. 12, likely at MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Khan shined in his unanimous-decision victory over former welterweight champion Devon Alexander in December in Las Vegas, and believes his speed and boxing ability could allow him to pull an upset.
“Where does Floyd go?” England’s Khan asked. “If he doesn’t fight me once I get past this fight, who else is there for him? If he wants to have an audience from around the world … there’s not a lot of fighters who can bring that drawing power. I know I’m not at the scale of Manny Pacquiao, but it’d still be a big fight.”
Mayweather rebuffed Khan, 28, before the unbeaten fighter chose to fight Marcos Maidana last year, and those close to Mayweather’s camp express skepticism that Khan can fight on Sept. 12 due to his religious commitments, which include fasting, during the Muslim holiday of Ramadan.
Khan, in a telephone interview with The Times, wanted Mayweather and everyone else to know he can honor his religion and still effectively prepare for the bout.
As a conversation about the Algieri fight was ending, in fact, Khan went out of his way to detail how he’d balance Ramadan, which begins on the evening of July 17, with fight preparation.
“It’s possible for me with Ramadan being in July that I can train – I can train in Ramadan for two weeks, too. I’ll have 10 weeks to prepare,” Khan said.
He didn’t know precisely that Showtime has penciled Sept. 12 as the Mayweather fight date, but said, “I’m going to circle it on my calendar now.”
First, he has to beat Algieri (20-1, eight KOs), who was knocked down six times by Pacquiao in November, but previously ouboxed Russian slugger Ruslan Provodnikov to win a 140-pound belt.
Khan said he’s excited to display the defensive strides he’s made under trainer Virgil Hunter, to evade the punches of conditioning dynamo Algieri.
“I’m not taking anything for granted,” Khan said. “I’ve got Algieri in front of me.”
Having the fight on a nationwide cable channel also works with Khan’s ongoing mission to build his audience in the U.S.
“The focus is on the fighter. It’s not just the fight, it’s the promotion,” Khan said of the PBC brand, operated by powerful boxing manager Al Haymon.
“I was on HBO and Showtime, but most everyone has Spike and when you have [casual sports fans] watching boxing, that’s what builds our sport. We get more viewers. We’ll get more people watching the documentaries we do.
“Let them get to know the fighter, you’ll get more fans.”
Part of Khan’s story, of course, is his pursuit of Mayweather. He attended the May 2 fight, and was seen smiling as he exited.
“There is something there. I think the fight between me and Floyd can happen,” Khan said. “When I left the arena, after watching Floyd live, I did see a few things I liked, things I can capitalize upon if I fight him.”