As a small child, Devon Alexander dreamed of winning a world title. He finally fulfilled that dream on Aug. 1 by easily beating former titleholder Junior Witter. He made the awkward Brit quit in his corner after the eighth round of their junior welterweight title bout in Rancho Mirage, Calif.
So happy after accomplishing his lifelong dream, Alexander slept with his new belt.
It was right there on the pillow next to him.
"I propped it up on one of the pillows on my bed in the hotel room and I woke up with a big, ol' smile on my face," Alexander said. "That's when it really sunk in that I was a champion, when I saw that belt on the pillow next to me. It was great. I realized everything I have worked for had paid off."
Alexander (19-0, 12 KOs) is young (22), exciting to watch and has a big smile to go with an appealing personality. He's ready to conquer the boxing world.
Across the pond, England's Amir Khan (21-1, 15 KOs) also accomplished his goal of winning a world title when he claimed a version of the junior welterweight title by dominating Andreas Kotelnik en route to a lopsided decision victory July 18.
Khan (21-1, 15 KOs) is also just 22, exciting to watch and has a big smile to go with an appealing personality. He, too, is ready to conquer the boxing world.
So when Kevin Cunningham, Alexander's ridiculously underrated trainer and manager, read some quotes from Khan on the Internet saying how much he wanted to come to the United States to make his name, it got Cunningham thinking about how great a showdown between Alexander and Khan would be.
Speaking to Sky Sports in England, Khan said he wasn't interested in fighting countryman and former 140-pound king Ricky Hatton or long-faded Mexican star Erik Morales, two opponents that have been suggested. Instead, Khan said his preference is to fight in America.
"I'd like to fight in the States -- next fight or the one after," Khan told Sky Sports. "Now I'm the world champion, I think it would be great to fight on American TV to let the Americans find out who Amir Khan is. That's the next step for me, exposing myself in America, and that's what we are working towards now."
That was music to Cunningham and Alexander's ears.
"We would welcome the challenge," Cunningham said. "If Amir Khan wants to come to the United States we would fight him in our next fight. He says he wants to fight in America and fight other champions. Well, Devon is American and one of the other champions. It would be a great fight to watch, two young champions, both good kids, both stepping up to the plate and unifying titles instead of picking old guys to fight. We'd love to unify with Amir Khan."
Indeed, it would match two of boxing's emerging stars, both fast and flashy fighters with strong amateur pedigrees.
Cunningham said Don King, Alexander's promoter, told him he was talking to Khan promoter Frank Warren to see if there was any interest in setting up the fight -- or at least a plan to get to it.
Khan, of course, probably will be saddled with a mandatory in his next fight against Dmitriy Salita.
"So give Salita his mandatory shot and let Devon do a fight on the same card and then they can fight each other next," Cunningham said. "HBO or Showtime should be interested in doing something like that. Wouldn't they want to set up a unification between these two young and exciting stars?"
It sure sounds like a great idea to me. I think Alexander has star potential and have since the first time I saw him fight -- when I was ringside for his fourth pro bout in Chicago in 2005. Although Khan suffered an upset first-round knockout loss to Breidis Prescott in 2008, I have also been high on Khan, who I named ESPN.com prospect of the year in 2007.
An Alexander-Khan fight also sounds good to Alexander.
"I would definitely love that. I love competition, plus [fighting Khan] would be for another belt," said Alexander, who received a key to his hometown of St. Louis last week from Mayor Francis Slay in honor of his accomplishment and for "setting a tremendous example for young people in his hometown by stressing the importance of education, citizenship and physical fitness."
"I haven't seen Khan fight, but I have heard good things about him," Alexander continued. "I'll fight whoever, but we can fight. I feel so comfortable that I have a good team and that we had the perfect game plan against Witter. I just want to fight again as soon as possible. I'm young, I didn't suffer anything drastic [against Witter] and I have a lot of energy. I'm ready to go. I'd fight Khan, of course. We've had a lot of names pop up -- Nate Campbell, Juan Diaz, Zab Judah, Marco Antonio Barrera. Those type of names. For me the sky is the limit. I will just train hard. This belt motivates me to train even harder for whoever I fight."