It all started with the Daily Mail.
Briefly the twitter, blog and forum ‘osphere (or whatever it is we call this strange online world our words inhabit) burst into life about the bout. But they tended to forget the story came from the Daily Mail and as such, stood a good chance of being wrong.
And just as quickly as they started, Team Khan moved to quash them.
Team Khan would like to dispel recent reports that Amir Khan has pulled out of a potential match-up against IBF welterweight champion Devon Alexander on December 7th, taking up a fight against Floyd Mayweather in May of next year instead.
So where does that leave us?
Where we were this morning. We know the Khan/Mayweather bout is one that the powers-that-be would like to make and we know there are some difficulties in making Khan vs Devon Alexander.
And that’s about it.
From those who follow my (very rare) tweets you might have seen that I was somewhat suspicious about this story from the moment it “broke”. Partly that’s because of the source (and while the Daily Mail is many things, accurate is rarely one of them) and partly because Mayweather and his team have a history of naming possible opponents publicly and seeing how the world reacts… a version of sticking a finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. It could be that they leaked this out (although it would be strange for it to be to the Daily Mail of all places), sat back and waited to see what people thought.
And frankly, people thought it was awful.
As soon as a story broke it was met with a combination of disbelief and disdain. This wasn’t even close to Floyd’s bouts with Ortiz and Guerrero where no-one sensible thought the pair had a chance but could understand how they were in contention and had done enough to deserve it. There was genuine anger that Khan was getting the bout. Not just anger that he was getting it at the expense of others (notably previous Khan conqueror Danny Garcia) but that he was getting it at all. Not only did no-one think Khan stood a chance, they also didn’t think he even deserved to be discussed as an opponent at this stage.
And they were right.
Khan’s last two appearances at world level are two loses, first a narrow and admittedly somewhat controversial decision loss to Lamont Peterson and then a brutal stoppage to Danny Garcia. As much as Khan likes to try to downplay these (and his recent efforts are to mention Peterson’s later failed drug test and claim that Garcia “got lucky”) those images are burnt onto boxing fans minds. Since then Khan has changed trainers (from Freddy Roach to Virgil Hunter), won a routine and one-sided bout with untested prospect Carlos Molina (not the more famous 154lbs title holder but his namesake) and just about escaped with a victory over gatekeeper Julio Diaz in a bout where he was hurt repeatedly and dropped. Frankly Khan hasn’t been impressive in any of his recent bouts and boxing fans know and remember that. We’re often treated like fools but we’re not fools. Not in today’s world. Many people criticise Mayweather’s choice of opponents but as a general rule he picks someone coming off an impressive performance. Alvarez had just beaten the best opponent he’d then faced while unifying against Trout, Ortiz and Guerrero had both beaten Berto and even Mosley was coming off his demolition of Margarito.
Khan had none of that. He was coming off just about beating Julio Diaz.
The fact is right now Khan isn’t a deserving opponent for Mayweather. Even if he does face Devon Alexander and even if he wins and even if he wins impressively (and I’m certainly not confident in any of those things happening) then I’m not sure I’d be entirely sold on him being the most worthy contender; Danny Garcia will likely have won a bout at 147lbs, the winner of Maidana/Broner will have to be in the conversation (although Broner has said he would never face Mayweather), Marquez may have followed up his demolition of Pacquiao by beating Bradley, Matthysse may have another impressive KO win or two, if the iron curtain separating Mayweather/Golden Boy and Top Rank can be broken then Tim Bradley and the mega-fight with Pacquaio are options and there are a couple of 160lbs boxers who could drop top 154lbs for a bout.
In terms of what he brings to a bout outside money, Khan’s a long way down the pecking list. And I’m not convinced that money would even be that great; Khan isn’t a particularly loved figure in the UK boxing scene (and not even in the “love to hate him” way Mayweather operates) and certainly brings nothing like the attention Hatton does.
In some ways it has to be said that I feel a little sorry for Khan and his team. They see his name mentioned as an opponent for his dream bout… and are met with at best apathy and at worst outright hostility. People hated the matchup. And that’s got to hurt Khan.
Just a little.
But that’s still a little more than I care about watching Mayweather and Khan right now…