It’s no secret that both Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Showtime are in something of a bind right now. Two fights into their massive, very expensive deal with each other, they know that in order to do the sort of pay-per-view (PPV) numbers that they were expecting see when they came to their agreement, Mayweather needs to face legitimate challengers.
The Robert Guerrero bout proved that people won’t pay to watch the world’s best fighter beat up on some nobody for 12 rounds, no matter how many promos you air on CBS. The Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez bout proved that they’ll pay extra for what is perceived to be a battle of near equals.
Now comes the hard part: Finding Mayweather a near equal.
The problem, obviously, is that boxing is lacking in the superstars department right now. Aside from Mayweather, there’s pretty much just Manny Pacquiao – and that isn’t happening at the moment.
On Wednesday, ‘The Daily Mail’ reported that Amir Khan was backing out of a proposed match-up versus Devon Alexander because he had gotten assurances he was next in line for a shot at Mayweather. Naturally, this caused a bit of a stir. According that ‘Mail’ report, Khan will pocket $6 million for his participation – plus an additional amount based on PPV sales.
One day later, Khan’s people released this statement: "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, taking up a fight against Floyd Mayweather in May of next year instead.
"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."
So, what exactly is going on here? It’s tough to say. Assuming they’re not near an agreement for a prospective 2014 showdown, then either Khan is trying to use Mayweather as leverage in negotiations with Alexander, or Mayweather is trying to use Khan as leverage in negotiations with someone.
Given how far away we are from May 2014, though, the idea of an announcement coming this early is a bit bizarre.
There will be plenty of time to analyze Mayweather-Khan on the merits if this thing materializes, but in light of the statement that the latter's team rushed to put out, it seems like we’re still pretty far away from that point.