WBA junior welterweight champion Amir Khan of Bolton, England is dreaming of a showdown with American boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather.
But that’s likely as far as it’ll get.
Khan, who is in the Philippines helping his trainer Freddie Roach prepare Manny Pacquiao for his Nov. 13 fight against Antonio Margarito, said he’d love to take on Mayweather by the end of 2011.
The 23-year-old Khan (23-1, 17 KOS) has a lot on his plate right now considering he’s using the sessions with Roach and Pacquiao to get himself in shape for his title defense against hard-hitting 27-year-old Marcos Maidana (29-1, 27 KOs) of Argentina Dec. 11 in Las Vegas.
If he manages to get by Maidana, the boxing public might become more interested in seeing the Brit talk up a fight with the unbeaten Mayweather. Until then, it’s unlikely anybody’s going to pay much attention to what Khan has to say about it.
Khan isn’t exactly a household name in America at the moment. In fact, he’s not really a big name back in England either considering many fans regard him as nothing much more than a flash in the pan. He’s a decent enough fighter, but hasn’t done enough yet to convince British fans he’s a force to be reckoned with, even though he’s already the WBA world champion.
Khan’s problems with British fans stem from the fact he was knocked out just a couple of years ago by unknown lightweight Brendis Prescott in just 54 seconds in Manchester, England. While Khan may have recovered physically and mentally, he’s never really recovered the fans he lost after that alarmingly fast beat down.
He’s looked impressive enough in the ring since then, but he wasn’t totally convincing a couple of fights later when he stopped Mexican ring legend Marco Antonio Barrera in the fifth round on a technical decision. Barrera was cut badly from a head butt and the fight went to the scorecards with Khan in front on all three of them.
Khan then won his title with a solid, but unexciting 12-round decision against Andriy Kotelnik of Ukraine, and defended it with a first-round TKO over previously unbeaten Dmitriy Salita, also of Ukraine. He gained some much-needed exposure on U.S. shores when he scored an 11th-round TKO over American Paul Malignaggi in May at Madison square Garden.
Admittedly, Khan has looked better each time out, but he hasn’t faced anybody with much power since the loss to Prescott. Maidana will be his first real test when it comes to facing one-punch KO power and it’ll be interesting to see how he fares. Maidana can be out boxed and that’s probably Khan’s best strategy with him, no going toe-to-toe.
The weeks of training with Roach and Pacquiao will no doubt help him gain some confidence, but even if he beats Maidana, it’s doubtful there’ll be much of a demand for a Khan vs Mayweather fight. Khan said he’d like to hold it in London’s Wembley Stadium, which holds about 80,000 people, and I admit it could sell out because of the Britons’ love of boxing. However, I think half of them may show up to cheer on Mayweather, who has said he’d like to fight in the UK.
Khan said he’s confident he could upset Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) because styles make fights and he has the style, speed, and trainer in Roach to give the American trouble. But he’s going to have to get by Maidana first and gain some popularity in America. Talking about fighting Mayweather is a bit premature at the moment and it would have served Khan better to not bring it up until after the Maidana bout.
If Khan wins that fight and looks impressive he’s earned the right to call Mayweather out, but it’s likely it’ll still be nothing much more than a dream.
Bodog.com has the odds of Khan beating Maidana posted at -300 and a Maidana win at +240