Washington - Amir Khan is staking his claim alongside Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather as a pound-for-pound king, but the British boxer knows his lofty dreams could be dashed by US challenger Lamont Peterson.
Khan made it clear on Thursday that while he is proud to be mentioned as a potential future foe for boxing's superstars, his priority is defending two super-lightweight world titles on December 10 at Washington Convention Center.
"All my dreams can be taken away. He's a dangerous fighter," Khan said.
"That fight is in the future. It would be a little bit stupid to look past this fight. It's not going to be easy. It's going to be an explosive fight."
Khan is in the mix as a potential next foe for unbeaten Floyd Mayweather if the US star is unable to reach terms with Filipino icon Pacquiao next year for a long-awaited showdown. But Khan is patient about such talk.
"It's a bit too soon for Mayweather," Khan said.
"Next year I'm looking at Mayweather. These fights are taking me to that level. If I beat Lamont, it will take me closer to being ready for that fight."
Khan, 26-1 with 18 knockouts, knows the damage a loss can do. He was stopped in the first round by Breidis Prescott in 2008 in a stunning setback before fighting back to become a world champion a year later.
"If I get beat that's going to be over and I want it to last for a long time.
"I can't afford to lose. I made that mistake before and I learned from it. I have to win this fight and I have to take him out. It will bring out the best in me."
Khan also will have a front-row view of Pacquiao preparing for his November 12 bout against Mexico's Juan Manuel Marquez because the Englishman will train in Los Angeles starting Monday under Pacquiao's trainer, Freddie Roach.
"I love watching Manny train. It's an inspiration to me," said Khan, who said he might have helped "Pac-Man" with some timing and quickness in camps.
"I think I'm faster than Manny Pacquiao but I'm not as strong," Khan said.
"I'm one of the quickest fighters in the world. I think that's what he might have picked up, some quickness."
Khan said he will move to welterweight (147 pounds) unless he can reach terms with unbeaten US rival champion Tim Bradley.
"The reason I'm moving to 147 isn't that it's too hard to make fights. I can't get opponents," Khan said. "I'll have a lot of people (at welterweight). I'll get fights because they will say, 'He's moving up. He's learning.'"
Peterson, 29-1-1 with 15 knockouts, hopes to claim the International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association titles by winning in his hometown.
"It's a dream come true for me," Peterson said. "Khan will train hard to defend the titles but I will train harder to protect my home turf and keep those titles here."
Peterson says he feels Khan's praise of him is heartfelt and not a mere con job for a champion looking ahead.
"I believe him. But I couldn't blame him for looking ahead," Peterson said.
"We all have the same goals, the same dreams. I would be looking at fights with Mayweather and Pacquiao too. People can say what they want.
"What we do on December 10 will determine what our future is."