Amir Khan will have been out of the ring for more than a year for the first time in his career when he makes his welterweight debut opposite ex-beltholder Luis Collazo on the May 3 Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana undercard.
Mayweather (45-0, 26 knockouts) will defend his RING and WBC 147-pound championships against WBA counterpart Maidana on Showtime Pay-Per-View from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
"This my first time that I'm fighting on an undercard. My whole career, really. Even in the U.K., when I was the chief support on a card, I was still sort of the main event. Being on this Mayweather card, it takes a lot of pressure off of me. Plus, it gives me a chance to put on a great performance in front of the entire world of boxing," said Khan.
"Everyone will be tuned in to watch the Floyd Mayweather card and they'll get to see me fight and to see me showcased. I can impress them. I can definitely steal the show with this fight because Collazo comes to fight and I come to fight and all of my fights are exciting, so I think that we can definitely steal that show that night."
Last month, the 27-year-old former titleholder from England lashed out at Mayweather for snubbing him in favor of Maidana (35-3, 31 KOs), this after Khan eschewed a bout with then-IBF welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander. Mayweather announced on February 24, his 37th birthday, that he would face the power-punching Argentine.
Khan owns a unanimous-decision victory over Maidana, who scored knockdowns in the fourth and eighth rounds of a unanimous decision that dethroned Adrien Broner as WBA welterweight titleholder in December.
But during a Tuesday interview with RingTV.com, Khan admits he could have handled things differently while also placing a positive spin on his ring absence.
"I think, yeah, we should have probably taken that fight against Alexander. We should have taken that fight but we didn't. We waited for the Mayweather fight to happen and it didn't happen," said Khan, who will be in his third fight under trainer Virgil Hunter when he faces Collazo. "Maybe I needed that break because I've never had such a long break. It had always been nonstop training and nonstop fighting. So this time off allowed me to spend more time with Virgil and learning to become a better boxer. It was a nice break."
Since way back in July 2011, when he stopped ex-beltholder Zab Judah in the fifth round of their IBF/WBA junior welterweight title unification bout, Khan said he has been physically draining himself to make 140 pounds.
After defeating Judah, Khan lost his next fight by disputed split decision to current IBF 140-pound beltholder Lamont Peterson in December 2011 and was stopped in the fourth round in the following bout by RING, WBC and WBA junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia in July 2012.
Khan left trainer Freddie Roach in favor of Hunter for his next two fights, resulting in a 10th-round knockout over Carlos Molina, a California-based lightweight prospect, in December of 2012. That was followed by a unanimous decision over former titleholder Julio Diaz, who dropped him in the fourth round in his last fight on April 27.
Molina will fight Broner on the Mayweather-Maidana card.
"I didn't have as much time to spend with Virgil Hunter in my last two previous fights as I have for this one against Collazo. We've had about three mini-camps in between with no pressure on to face a certain opponent," said Khan.
"The things that we've been doing is that we've been working my style, so I can only say that I've learned so much more than at any other time. There was no pressure where you're looking at this opponent or that opponent. We were able to just work in my style and to improve my boxing."
Khan's resume boasts a technical-decision victory over Mexican great Marcos Antonio Barrera as well as a TKO over two-division titlewinner Paulie Malignaggi and a decision over ex-beltholder Andriy Kotelnik. Khan earned major 140-pound belts by beating Kotelnik and Judah.
In addition to his loss to Garcia and the fact that he was dropped and badly hurt by Julio Diaz, Khan has endured lingering questions about his chin as a result of a 54-second KO loss to Breidis Prescott in September 2008.
In Collazo (35-5, 18 KOs), who turned 33 on April 22, Khan faces a career welterweight who has gone 6-1 with four knockout victories in his past seven fights. Collazo is 4-0 with two stoppage wins since falling by 10-round unanimous decision to Freddy Hernandez, who dropped him in the eighth round in October 2011. Collazo was last in the ring for a second-round knockout of ex-beltholder Victor Ortiz, a fellow left-hander.
"I think that [Collazo]'s a little bit like Judah. He's slippery and he boxes well…I've fought a lot of southpaws in my career and I think that I've done well against them. I also think that he's like the Kotenlik-type of guy or the Malignaggi-type of guy," said Khan.
"Because he's technical with a come-forward, discplined style of fighting. I've just got to break him down and to be smart and stick to the game plan and not make mistakes. We've already heard about all of the ways that he thinks he can beat me. We've got to prove him wrong on that night and to put on a great performance and hopefully get the win."
Collazo split decisioned Jose Antonio Rivera for the WBA's 147-pound belt in April of 2005 and stopped Miguel Angel Gonzalez in the seventh round of his first defense in August of that year. He lost the title to Ricky Hatton in a disputed unanimous decision after being floored in their first round in May 2006.
From there, Collazo went 3-2 with two knockout wins over his next five fights, falling by unanimous decision to Shane Mosley and Andre Berto in February 2007 and January 2009, respectively.
"Collazo's always a dangerous fighter but to be on a Floyd Mayweather card, a good performance could get me into a big fight with Floyd Mayweather. But to be honest with you, I'm not looking past this fight," said Khan.
"I'm taking it one step at a time and I'm focused on this fight 100 percent. Then we'll sit down and see where we are after this fight. I've made that mistake before where I was looking too far ahead. That's when you can make mistakes. So I'm just focused on this one opponent."
Earlier this month, Khan also signed with powerful advisor Al Haymon, becoming part of an impressive stable of fighters including Mayweather, Maidana, Broner, Collazo, Garcia, Alexander, Berto and Malignaggi among many others.
"First of all, it's great to be signed with someone like Al Haymon," said Khan. "I think that I can make it big and he'll be a big help in my boxing career. I've seen him do a lot of good work with a lot of fighters in the past and I like the way that he's handled a lot of the other big names."