Khan vs Collazo - Amir Khan celebrates victory over Luis CollazoBefore Floyd Mayweather entered the ring on May 3rd, 2014, Amir Khan and Luis Collazo provided the night’s chief support in Las Vegas. On paper, Khan seemed to be in relatively deep with the tough, seasoned Collazo in his Welterweight debut. In reality, however, things couldn’t have been more different.

In what was arguably Khan’s finest, all-rounded performance to date, he out-boxed, outsmarted, and dominated Collazo to a Unanimous Decision. After receiving scores of 119-104, 117-106, 119-104, it’s overtly clear Khan has arrived on the Welterweight scene.

Collazo, who never stop coming forward – even after hitting the canvas in the 1st and twice in the 10th – should be commended for his iron will and fortitude. The Brooklyn-born fighter now drops to 35 wins, 6 losses, while Britain’s Khan improves to 29 wins, 3 losses.

Khan vs Collazo Introduces Newly Refined Skills in Brit

Before the first bell, a few questions lingered over the fight. Would Khan be strong enough north of Junior Welterweight? Would his speed carry? And could he cage his bravado and resist getting into a brawl?

At the final bell, the answer to all the above was a resounding Yes. Khan could more than handle himself in the ring; at no point was he manhandled or outmuscled. Khan had prepared diligently for the task, having clearly bulked up in training. (Who was that lean kid who made his professional debut at Lightweight, again?)

The extra weight didn’t compromised Khan’s speed; his combinations dazzled as usual, but were more effective due to the short, disciplined bursts he employed that evening. Khan never overstayed his welcome in the pocket and darted in and out of range beautifully. And never at one moment did his brawling alter ego surface.

So why such a difference in Khan’s performance? Was he more refined due to his tutelage under Virgil Hunter? Was it the prospect of fighting Floyd Mayweather that created greater focus? Or was Collazo simply not good enough?

Who’s to Thank for Brit Star’s Growth in Khan vs Collazo?

First off, it would seem the latter is untrue. There was talk pre-fight that Collazo had experienced trouble with drink for years – needless to say, a career-threatening poison – but the man still fought hard over 12 rounds, and only wilted due to attrition, not because he was washed up. He’d faced adversity outside the ring, but nobody crushes a prime Victor Ortiz in the 2nd round without possessing something special.

Having Floyd Mayweather in sight no doubt contributed to Khan’s improvement. As for Virgil Hunter, it’s hard to say if he has made any significant changes to Khan. He’s a great trainer, no question, and may have ironed out a few issues. But has he taught Khan anything he didn’t already know? Is he better off without Freddie Roach?

That we’ll never know. Khan claimed Roach was somewhat “all offense” and never stressed enough “defense”. But if you ask Roach, he’d disagree entirely. Following Khan’s loss to Danny Garcia, the fight which made him pack his bags, Roach commented that he had never instructed or encouraged Khan to go to war, nor had he told him to stay in the pocket, unload, and neglect defense.

So perhaps Khan had known how to fight as he did against Collazo for some time – but only decided to fully employ it now that a huge incentive had surfaced (of course being Mayweather). Again, we’ll never know.

One thing we do is that Khan made a bold statement and will progress toward a big name at 147, if not Mayweather himself. Going forward, the only thing he does need to work on is his tendency to push and hold a little too much – this seemingly unshakable habit cost him a point. Perhaps every crease can’t be ironed out.

On an interesting side note: could an emphatic victory such as this actually damage his chances of landing a fight with Mayweather? Now there’s one to think about…

And just one other: what of a rumored Khan vs Alexander clash if Mayweather further delays? Problematic encounter or similar one-sided repeat of Khan vs Collazo?

Let us know your thoughts – just fire away in the comments below!

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