There is something telling about the specific wording used by Team Amir Khan in denying a Daily Mail report that the British boxer would be Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather’s next opponent on Cinco de Mayo 2014 weekend.
"Team Khan would like to dispel recent reports that Amir Khan has pulled out of a potential match-up against Devon Alexander on December 7th,” the statement read, “taking up a fight against Floyd Mayweather in May of next year instead."
Did you spot that? They’re not denying the Mayweather bout – they’re merely denying that Khan has aborted the forever-dragging-on negotiations to fight Devon Alexander in December. Yet.
They do go on to say: "Contrary to this story, Amir Khan is currently in training camp in San Francisco with the aim of fighting again in December against Alexander once an agreement can be reached."
But, once again, is there absolutely anything there that cannot just be sidestepped by a future announcement that the Alexander bout is off and Mayweather is next for Khan come May?
Very clever indeed.
And not just the way Khan’s people are staying ambivalent until the seemingly-inevitable news is confirmed, either. The sheer fact that Amir seems to be aiming for a lucrative showdown with the best boxer in the world today is nothing short of genius.
After a quick browse of general reaction to the Mail’s story, it’s fair to say that few others would agree with that.
Yes. The British public, famed for their heartwarmingly-rousing disdain for any sports stars on these fair isles who have the audacity to either a) display one iota of happiness in their big-money lifestyles or b) fail to win absolutely everything, everywhere, all of the time, are unanimous in preparing ‘last rites’ for Khan should he indeed fight Mayweather next year.
A few extra pieces of information to consider, however. First, Khan gets that sort of loving feedback no matter who he fights. Second, Mayweather just made the ninth best pound for pound boxer in the world look second rate.
Lastly, and most importantly, there probably isn’t a fight on the planet that would earn Khan the respect of the British public if he won decisively.
He has won world titles in response to claims that he was just an overhyped, mollycoddled brat and he has beaten hard-hitting fighters such as Marcos Maidana in response to claims that he is too weak defensively.
I’m not going to try and portray Khan as being better than he actually is, but then I refuse to cave to the bitter majority feeling that he is a lot worse than he really is.
Unfortunately for him, that majority is never going to go away. And while there will always be world title-holders he can roll over for a quick extra reign in the farcical current championship oversaturation it’s safe to say he is not a Floyd Mayweather or even a Danny Garcia.
So be honest: can anyone blame Khan for chasing the money scenario at this stage? Who wouldn’t, in his no-win situation in the eyes of the British public?
With a reported possible £7million payday from a £100m-plus megafight, Khan may well be doomed to lose. But he will certainly win in defeat.
Mayweather, meanwhile, will score yet another huge success in yet another victory.
Regardless of who he takes on in his final four contracted bouts before retiring, it’s pretty much a lock that Mayweather – by far the best boxer around – will win. His real challenge comes in trying to convince the public that he has a chance of losing.
That’s what made the Saul Alvarez fight so much more successful than his dull wins over Miguel Cotto and Robert Guerrero. Unlike those two bouts, Floyd couldn’t sleepwalk through 12 rounds. ‘Canelo’ forced Mayweather to out-perform him. And out-perform him he did.
Not only that, but Alvarez has both the star power and the intrigue to convince the world he had a chance.
They will try to recreate that with Khan built around the Brit’s blistering hand speed – can even Mayweather’s cat-like reflexes keep Khan at bay? And even if the shots are not at all killer blows, how will Floyd react to finally being caught flush on the cheeks by a few raw gloves?
We all know the answer already. And yet, we just have to watch… y’know, just in case.
So yes, Mayweather is going to retire unbeaten no matter who he faces, or whether each bout is a hit or a disappointment. And whether Khan loses to a top fighter or beats a stiff, nobody is going to accept him.
But who cares? Neither of them will, when they’re skipping hand-in-hand all the way to the bank.
And be honest, you won’t care either, as long as the bout gets you as giddy with excitement as Mayweather-Canelo did.
Mayweather haters, Khan haters, and that tiny minority of us who just enjoy a good, action-packed Las Vegas boxing card: we will all be in the same edge-of-seat position if these two did indeed get it on.
For all the criticism Khan and Mayweather both receive, they remain the two most-read names on the website’s boxing section. You don’t hate Khan. You don’t hate Mayweather. You love to hate them! You cannot get enough of either of them, and we have the stats to prove it.
If we do get our wish (and don’t deny it, it’s what we all want, even those of you who were quick to mock Khan’s chances), two of the sport’s biggest names will be on collision course.
We may all already know how it will end, and we may despise how much money both men will make from it all, but that won’t stop us from contributing to the fund just to watch the build-up, witness the fight and talk about it for weeks on end.
Because of that, everyone wins – even Amir Khan, the inevitable loser of the actual fight.
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