By Steve Kim: Throughout the last few weeks and months, I’ve been asked when Floyd Mayweather (scheduled to go on May 3rd) will be making his official announcement regarding just exactly who he’d be facing in his next bout. Well, truth be told, Floyd and I really don’t talk all that much and he really doesn’t confide in such matters to me. So just like everybody else, I’ll find out when you do.
For the past few months, it seemed as if Amir Khan would land the assignment. Not only had he been whispering to associates that he was in line to face Mayweather, he even blurted out to the British press last month that he had signed his portion of the deal. There was a reason he had decided to eschew a December date against then-IBF welterweight beltholder Devon Alexander (who was eventually defeated by Shawn Porter at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn).
But suddenly, the tide shifted (things done changed, as they say) and Khan went on a Twitter pity party on Friday afternoon, stating on his account (@AmirKingKhan):
“No response from Mayweather or his team. Fights not happening. I should of taken the title fight last December against Alexander...”
(Yeah, Amir, you probably should have.)
“Very disrespected by his team. Wasted my time”
(No argument there.)
“Good luck to Maidana, against mayweather.”
(Well, he is being gracious about it.)
“Can I apologies to the thousands of people who are let down. You me and everyone wanted the Mayweather fight. He’s running scared.”
(Uh, Khan might be the only really let down by this and I think the consensus is Floyd probably isn’t avoiding him.)
So what happened?
Well, for one, December 14th happened. When Marcos Maidana gave Adrien Broner his comeuppance in San Antonio, Texas, he immediately became a contender for this prized slot. Unlike Khan, Maidana basically fought his way into what would be a huge payday by doing what fighters should do: fight. Khan has been on the sideline since April 27th when he struggled mightily in the U.K. against Julio Diaz. In the immediate aftermath of this contest, was there anybody saying to himself, “Yeah, I need to see Khan face Mayweather.”?
Yet it seemed through his sheer alliance with Golden Boy Promotions (which basically provides Mayweather with all his opponents) and the British market, he was in line to get “Money.” It’s why his proposed fight against Alexander went from Dubai to Brooklyn and then to “Bolivian.” Perhaps the move was understandable on certain levels. Hey, if you were a construction worker who had just won the lottery, you probably wouldn’t go into work the next day. Only problem is it turns out Khan never had the correct Powerball numbers.
As this is being written, it’s still not clear who will have the honor of being Mayweather’s 46th professional victim. It says here that Khan, as physically talented as he is fatally flawed, would actually give the public a different kind of fight than what we’re used to seeing against Mayweather with his speed and length. We already know how Mayweather deals with slower, plodding fighters. Maidana is a man’s man in every sense of the word and for all his heavy-handed power, he’s also got heavy feet. As to who is the more viable B-side for pay-per-view purposes, there is probably no discernible difference in who would sell better. Stephen Espinoza, the head of Showtime Sports, has gone on the record as stating that Mayweather fights aren’t so much about competition but “performances,” in which you see a virtuoso at work.
Both are heavy underdogs against Mayweather but there is something to be said - and none of it good - about an individual getting such an opportunity based on notfighting. If Khan faces Mayweather on May 3rd, he will have been out of action for over a calendar year. As already mentioned, Maidana just kept his nose to the grindstone by not only battering Broner from pillar to post at the Alamodome but also impressively overpowering the game Josesito Lopez last year.
And perhaps this is the reason why it might be “Chino” who lands this fight - he actually earned it (there is a conspiracy theory brewing that because Khan didn’t sign on with adviser Al Haymon, he was denied this opportunity. Like many other boxers who are promoted by Golden Boy and fight on Showtime, Maidana has a relationship with the highly influential Haymon. But it has to be pointed out that Mayweather’s last two foes, Saul Alvarez and Robert “The Disappearing Ghost” Guerrero had no ties with him). Maidana did what all fight fans want boxers to do: go out there consistently and put on a great show.
Khan has simply waited.
And Khan getting that fight would have set a terrible precedent. Boxers like Maidana should be getting lucrative dates like May 3rd, not ones who sit out. Last I checked, we all watch boxing for the competition and the entertainment value. Quite frankly, Khan has provided none of that recently. In fact, going back to the beginning of 2012, he has performed just three times. To put that into perspective, Bernard Hopkins has fought the same amount of times - except he has the excuse of being nearly 50 years old.
If Khan had done what Shawn Porter ended up doing, beating Alexander, who is seemingly diminishing right in front of us, there would probably be no doubt he would’ve gotten the Mayweather bout. The waiting game may have failed him. Pretty soon, Mayweather will be officially announcing his dance partner and it can’t come soon enough for a roster of Golden Boy fighters whose plans are contingent on who Floyd fights next. Right now, Floyd is clogging up more lanes and holding up more traffic than an overturned 18-wheeler in the middle of rush hour on the 405. But Khan is now coming to the realization that he won’t be facing him in a few months.
But not all hope is lost. The reality is, with the “Cold War” showing no signs of thawing anytime soon, with a victory or two, Khan is actually right back in the running to take on Mayweather. All he has to do is keep fighting.
Something he should’ve been doing all along.
Here’s my latest contribution to SportsOnEarth.com, in which the great Sugar Ray Leonard gives his thoughts on Floyd Mayweather and the current state of the boxing business:
I asked Leonard his thoughts on some of today’s elite prizefighters:
- Gennady Golovkin: “A strong kid. He’s an ox. He’s a beast. I like watching him fight.”
- Tim Bradley: “I’m impressed by Bradley; he showed so much heart [versus Ruslan Provodnikov]. I thought he was out on his feet and that was the heart of a fighter and a champ. I was very impressed.”
- Andre Ward: “I always like Andre. Now, I hear some things from my boys; they say, ‘Well, he’s not too exciting,’ this and that. But he’s fundamentally sound.”
- Guillermo Rigondeaux: “That kid, he’s all-around. He’s very talented. Extremely talented.”
I think Zou Shiming is improving but I also believe there is a limited ceiling there. He’s already 32 years old...I’ll say this for Miguel Vazquez: it’s going to take an awfully good fighter to beat that guy...I thought “Boxcino” got off to a good start this past Friday night on ESPN2...How ‘bout Hank Lundy for Ruslan Provodnikov? Just a thought...So who out there is actually watching a bit of the NFL Combine? If you are, you need help (and welcome to the club)...If you’re the Texans, do you trade down in what is considered a very deep and talented draft?...OK, now that the Olympics are over, can all my TV shows come back now? …I can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org and I tweet at www.twitter.com/stevemaxboxing. We also have a Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/MaxBoxing, where you can discuss our content with Maxboxing readers as well as chime in via our fully interactive ar