Former World champion Billy Dib says he is aiming to ‘ice’ Amir Khan when the pair meet in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on Friday evening. Dib – a late replacement for the injured Neeraj Goyat – experienced his best days in the paid ranks down at featherweight, but insists that the time is right to step up several divisions to test the ‘declining’ Khan in their Saudi showpiece.
“This is a one-off fight at welterweight for me and Amir Khan is absolutely the right guy for me to fight,” he said. “Put it this way, you’d have to offer me a ridiculous amount, well into eight figures, to step into a ring with Manny Pacquiao. Your health is everything. But Amir Khan certainly isn’t Manny Pacquiao.
“Look, Amir definitely WAS a great champion, a proven warrior who’s made his mark on the game. He could be a future Hall of Famer. In time, I hope the boxing world will fully appreciate his skillset. But, in the past few years, there’s been a major decline. A lot of chinks have emerged. He’s no longer the fighter who schooled the likes of Devon Alexander and Marcos Maidana. Today, he’s fighting for different reasons – money!
“When I landed in Saudi at the end of June, I was already in great shape. For the first time in my boxing career, I’ve not needed to worry about my weight. I’ll be far stronger, more thickset and hopefully I’ll carry my speed up cos I’m quick, too. Everybody knows I’m a quality body puncher and I’ll be bringing even more strength and power. I’ll definitely test Khan. I really fancy my chances.”
A triple national amateur champion, Dib represented Australia at the World Juniors and Seniors (Cuba 2002 and Thailand 2003 respectively) and has previously appeared as a pro in Britain, the US (ten times), Macau, Japan and Thailand. However, this will be his debut in the Middle East. ‘The Kid’ says he expects a ‘stylish’ fight on Friday in Jeddah, with the end result being a stunning upset.
“Amir’s a super-fast starter and brings amazing hand speed but once my eye is gauged to that speed, I’ll sort out the game plan. Sometimes that speed works against Amir. The times he’s been KO’d, have been when he gets carried away and becomes reckless. I may not be a one punch ‘lights out’ fighter but I’ve certainly got the power to inflict damage.
“I expect it to be a stylish fight rather than a war. Amir’s the naturally bigger man so I’ll need to box out of my skin, like I did in the amateurs. I win because I’m the more intelligent fighter. In past fights, I’ve proved I can be a mover, a boxer, a puncher. I can diversify.
“The only way I win is to lay him out. I’m gonna ice him!”