British boxer Amir Khan will be in the arena when Devon Alexander defends his world welterweight title Saturday, just not in the ring as the US champion had originally intended.
Khan will serve as a ringside commentator for Showtime for the telecast of the card at Brooklyn's Barclays Center, replacing Paulie Malignaggi, the regular commentator who will instead be in the ring against Zab Judah in a main-event showdown of hometown heroes.
With a deal almost set, Khan decided against fighting US southpaw Alexander for the International Boxing Federation welterweight crown amid speculation that the Briton will be the next opponent for unbeaten Floyd Mayweather next May.
While the Khan and Mayweather camps have said no such deal is in place, neither fighter has announced his next opponent.
"They felt I was a big risk, that I was too much for him right now," Alexander, who faces unbeaten American Shawn Porter instead, says of Khan's backers. "I was ready to fight him. He pulled out so it didn't happen that way."
In the meantime, former world light-welterweight champion Khan will handle guest analyst duties in the fight, as well as for Judah-Malignaggi, a subject he knows well having beaten Malignaggi in 2010 and Judah in 2011.
"The main event between Paulie and Zab will be a Brooklyn blockbuster with two of boxing's most skilled fighters. Having shared the ring with both men I know together they will bring speed, power, ring craft and heart to the table," said Khan.
Khan, who won a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics at age 17, turns 27 on Sunday. He is 28-3 with 19 knockouts.