|On Monday morning, beginning the press tour for his May 3 Showtime pay-per-view bout with Marcos “Chino” Maidana early, Floyd Mayweather Jr. tweeted, “I don't have an easy fight on May 3, 2014, so I can't over look @ChinoMaidana
but @AmirKingKhan, if you and @AdrienBroner
end up fighting... each other on my show and you win (which you won’t)... I'll fight you.”
Last December, following some contractual back and forth, Amir Khan signed to fight Mayweather as part of a good faith agreement Khan apparently made at the behest of parties he won't name within the Golden Boy Promotions, Showtime, Khan and/or Mayweather’s camps to not fight Devon Alexander last December 7 for his IBF welterweight title.
“Yeah, you know, looking at the fight now, Floyd didn't pick me, so it's a big setback for me,” Khan said on a recent episode of www.LeaveitintheRingradio.com.
Newly-crowned champ Shawn Porter, an
Al Haymon-managed fighter along with Maidana, Alexander and Mayweather, got the
assignment. Khan, the non-Haymon, odd man out, sat in waiting, training for
Mayweather in the U.K. and in the Bay Area. It's a decision that may haunt Amir
Khan forever should a chance to fight Mayweather never come again.
“Even though even though I was kinda
told, I was advised kind of, to take time out to prepare for Floyd Mayweather,
I can focus all my attention on that one style. I was told to pull out of the
Devon Alexander fight; that way I could focus on Floyd Mayweather. So I thought
I had that fight in the bag. So that's the reason I pulled out. I do regret it
now. I should've taken the fight on. Now I would be IBF welterweight champion.
I would have had one fight at the 147 [pound] division. Alexander is a perfect
style for me. It was a winnable fight.”
Rumors swirled that the Mayweather fight was all
but a done deal. Khan split time between the U.K. and the Bay Area training and
building his body up to prepare for a 147-pound campaign in general and
Mayweather specifically. Having covered him in several camps in two cities, I
can confidently say he was as in as good of shape as I have seen him if not
better. His first day back at the sprint training track with Remi Korchemny,
Khan was barely off a record time in his previous camp.
But no official announcement from Mayweather was
made as the Super Bowl came and went.
there, we went back and forth,” explained Khan. “I signed sent contracts back,
assignments and contracts from the U.K. back in December, so I kept it quiet. I
didn't really tell anyone. And I thought we'd be talking about Floyd
Mayweather-Amir Khan. Then Floyd started playing games.”
Instead of an opponent announcement, Mayweather
tweeted he would do a fan poll on his website with Maidana, the recently
crowned WBA welterweight champ and Khan, a former 135 and 140-pound titleholder
who had yet to fight at 147 pounds as the choices. Khan won on a poll on
Mayweather's site. Maidana won on various media polls. In the end, Maidana
“won” the poll.
“[Mayweather] wanted to give the
fans a chance to determine who his opponent would be. Then I won the poll. I
think it was the ‘official’ poll. He is the one who tweeted it would be on his
website. I won the poll by 57% and the fans wanted to see me fight Mayweather,”
Khan lamented. But he learned that like in politics, polls don't mean much, especially
in the dictatorship that is Mayweather Land. “I was getting no feedback from
Golden Boy and Mayweather or his team. It was all just quiet.”
At that stage, Khan knew he did not
have the fight and accepted that all the build-up, all the hoping and the hard
work getting into shape was ultimately for naught. Khan, perhaps taking out the
last of his frustration, tweeted that he would not get the fight but rather
Maidana would. The move preempted the inevitable Mayweather tweet about the
fight and essentially told the fans what they were getting for this year's
“I said \’Look, guys; it's not going
to be me. It’s going to be Maidana. I wish them both the best. They are both
great fighters.’ And I will now sit down with my team and see what my next move
is,” said Khan.
Khan feels the poll was a way to
justify not facing him. In recent
years, no matter how he sells it, Mayweather picks his own opponents and none
of them are worthy challenges in terms of style. Saul Alvarez was
inexperienced, weight-drained and too slow and passive to be a true threat.
Robert Guerrero is much the same with the exception of experience. Victor Ortiz
was a head case with a questionable chin and ring I.Q. Shane Mosley was old. At
the time, Juan Manuel Marquez was too small and slow at welterweight.
But despite losses, Khan represents
a fighter unlike any Mayweather has faced in years. He's tall and fast,
experienced and skilled. And unlike Guerrero, Alvarez or Ortiz, Khan is
well-rested, not coming off a fight and in tremendous shape.
“The poll, I definitely think
[Mayweather was hoping] Maidana was going to win that. The poll makes it more
convincing, so he can say, ‘Look, the fans want to see it. That's the reason.
I'm giving the fans what they want,” opined Khan.
Khan said he was fine with losing
out on the fight if the poll had been fair if Mayweather had been true to his
“I probably would have put my hand
up and said, ‘You know what? That's fine,’” said Khan. “‘End of the day, we are
people's champions and if you want to be a people's champion, you have to
listen to the fans.’ Well, Floyd didn't do that this time. He misled the fans
in a way by saying, ‘I'll pick who you say.’ They picked me and he didn't go
with that pick, so it’s something Floyd has never done before.”
Khan was also surprised that the
best boxer in the world would pick Maidana, who has been beaten by Khan at 140
pounds and by Devon Alexander at 147 pounds not too long ago.
“Or what was his excuse?” wondered
Khan, “that he is fighting on Cinco de Mayo [weekend] and he needed…Maidana is not Mexican, so I can't see it being
The fact is fans and media find it
easier to buy and sell a fight with Marcos Maidana, a fighter who has lost but did
so on his feet and with his senses on point. In Maidana, they can root for the
underdog with one-shot knockout power and none of the speed or craft to deliver
it against a defensive master like Mayweather. They can root for the man who
beat Adrien Broner, a fighter who had done nothing at all at 140 or 147 pounds.
Khan was more political in his
“Or maybe it was the win over
Broner. Maidana had a great win. I take nothing away from him. Who knows? Maybe
in the future, I will get my chance to fight and show the world what I can't [show]
Floyd Mayweather [right now] and show the world what I can do,” he said.
Khan feels he is ready for his
close-up under the bright lights of a pay-per-view fight. At this level, it’s
almost not about the fight anymore. It’s about the characters and the supporting
casts they bring.
“It's what people would want to see,
really. What sells the fight is what they see on the documentary. Like on the ‘All
Access,’” said Khan, referring to Showtime's pay-per-view infomercial reality
show. “When they see how hard Amir Khan works, how good he is looking in
training and what my personality is like, I mean, I am a people's champion.
People take a liking to me and they'd want me to win. Then they see the styles
and they will see the different styles, what I have and what I bring to the
table against Floyd Mayweather. Other guys, who have slow footwork, slow hands,
so Floyd is able to hit them and be quicker than them. This time, Amir Khan is
quicker than them in foot and hand speed.”
While Khan has been stopped before,
he has never been stopped at 147, a weight his naturally larger frame might be
better suited to. Dehydration to an unnatural weight class can cause all sorts
of havoc on the brain and body. At 147, Khan looks healthier, stronger and just
as fast. He's been giving a lot of solid work to Alfredo Angulo, who is
preparing for Saul Alvarez this weekend. You don't hang in there with “El Perro”
with just speed.
“So I think with Floyd, he doesn't have the power to knock me out,”
assessed Khan, “then it becomes a technical fight. And when it becomes
technical, we know what we can do. That is one of the reasons I took so much
time off so I can work on myself as a fighter. My own style, improving the
defensive side, [my footwork].”
For now, Khan meets with Showtime
and Golden Boy Promotions this week to see about his future. Having his own TV
contract with the network, Khan has his own dates to worry about now that he is
out of the Mayweather sweepstakes this year. Mayweather tends to fight in May
and September. Khan will be barely recovering from Ramadan by late August/Early
September, so he would not be ready for that date. If Golden Boy decides to
move Saul Alvarez to September, a Mayweather-Khan outing in late-2014 is possible.
And as for the offer to face Broner
on the undercard May 3rd?
is full of shit. Just like ' my next opponent ' Poll,” tweeted Khan in
response. However, later, he added, “If @AdrienBroner wants it
let's do it. Maidana knocked him down twice. Il (sic) knock him out!”
The focus in the immediate future is
staking a claim at welterweight: Broner, Porter, whomever.
“I want to cement my place in the
147 [pound] division. I will have to take on any guy out there. That's the type
of fighter that I am,” said Khan. “I have never ducked away from any fight, even
if it’s in their hometown. I've left a lot of money in the U.K. to come over because
I want a legacy. I want to capture a title at 147.”
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