Ex-junior welterweight champion Amir Khan took in the boxing show at the Madison Square Garden Theater, sitting in press row and watching bout No. 1, heavyweight Thomas Hardwick's four-round unanimous decision win over T.J. Gibson on Saturday night.
Khan (26-2 with 18 KOs) told ESPN New York that he's here for some R&R, specifically to spend some quality time with his fiancee, a Staten Island girl named Faryal Makhdoom. The 20 year-old Pakistani-American, who studies at Rutgers, met Khan about a year ago in New York City, and they hit it off. The pair got engaged in January. He said they will get married in NYC, probably next year, in the summer months.
The Brit-base boxer said he's not looking to relocate to NYC, though he said he loves spending time here. He'll leave the city Sunday, and fly to L.A. to begin training for his May 19 rematch against Lamont Peterson. The fighters clashed in D.C. on Dec. 10, and Peterson won a split nod, snatching Khan's crown. Khan had points deducted for pushing in Rounds 7 and 12, and some called it home cooking from the ref, as the bout took place on Peterson's home turf. Khan is confident he'll take the rematch, telling me that he thinks Peterson fought as well as he could fight, while he was in B-form. Khan said he had to drop weight late in training, and that it sapped him somewhat. He also cited unnamed "distractions" during camp.
"I'm not focused on the way Peterson is going to come out," Khan, 25 said. "I'm coming out as the challenger, and I'll be so hungry, I'll be on my A-game."
Khan will again work with strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza, contrary to some rumors floating about the Twitter-verse.
The Brit boxer said he thinks we could see an upset in Saturday's Sergio Martinez-Matthew Macklin main event, with Macklin being emboldened by the masses of Irish at the Theater, and that he'll likely have some decent luck if he gets Martinez into a rumble.
"Macklin's got the heart of a lion," Khan noted. "He's going to be hungry. But Martinez has had more world-class fights."