WITH his recent win over Chris Algieri, Amir Khan feels he has finally done enough to land a lucrative fight with pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather. Despite Kell Brook successfully defending his IBF welterweight title against Frankie Gavin, Khan has ruled out a fight with the Sheffield man for the foreseeable future. We take a look at five opponents Khan is likely to face in the next year.
1. FLOYD MAYWEATHER
Khan’s No 1 choice and a fight he has been doggedly pursuing for some time. Mayweather is fresh off of his dominant points victory over Manny Pacquiao in May and has one more fight left on his contract with broadcaster Showtime. That fight is scheduled for September and Khan is one of the favourites to be in the opposite corner after wins over the aforementioned Algieri, Luis Collazo and Devon Alexander since moving up to 147lbs. One issue could be Khan’s religious commitment to Ramadan, which ends in July. With a September 12 date mooted for Mayweather’s next fight, it could complicate Amir’s preparations.
The two weight world champion’s 2014 was his worst year to date as a professional, losing his rematch with Manny Pacquiao before drawing with Diego Chaves in December. The American takes on former light-welter world champion Jessie Vargas at the end of the month and should he come through that, a fight towards the end of the year would suit him and Khan. Much like Khan, Bradley has moved up from light-welterweight and has taken the scalp of Devon Alexander, albeit in less convincing fashion. He has also beaten Khan-conqueror Lamont Peterson. Predominantly a sound boxer, Bradley has shown a tendency, also one that Khan shares, to be drawn into fights, most noticeably by Ruslan Provodnikov in 2013. Despite their high skill-sets, Khan and Bradley could end up producing a dramatic clash if they were to fight.
Another boxer to have moved to welterweight from lower divisions, however Broner originally made the leap straight from lightweight, only to unconvincingly outpoint Paulie Malignaggi then be dropped and beaten by Marcos Maidana over 12 rounds in 2013. The polarising American boasts an impressive boxing ability and showed spiteful punching power at lightweight, but does not seem to have carried that power with him through the divisions. The two exchanged tweets prior to Khan’s fight with Algieri, with both men expressing an interest in fighting each other. Two inches smaller at 5ft 6.5ins and naturally lighter, Broner would enter the fight at a slight disadvantage. He also has a fight scheduled this month, against former welterweight world champion and Brook victim Shawn Porter.
4. DANNY GARCIA
The only man on this list to have already fought Khan as a professional, Garcia famously knocked the Brit out inside four rounds in 2012. The undefeated American then went on to successfully defend his WBC light-welterweight title against Zab Judah and Lucas Matthysse before recently beating Peterson in a non-title fight. While he has looked limited in some of his fights, for example against Mauricio Herrera, Garcia has proven himself as the top man in his division but is yet to make the move to 147lbs. With no fight scheduled and no obvious names left to face at 140lbs, Garcia has spoken about moving to welterweight soon and a rematch with the rebuilt Khan may well tempt him to do so.
The future Hall of Famer has not fought since his points victory over American slugger Mike Alvarado in May last year, but the 41-year-old has not hung up his gloves despite the rumours and is apparently seeking a big fight. The Mexican revitalised his career with a stunning knockout of long-time rival Manny Pacquiao in 2012 but followed that win with a split decision defeat to Bradley the next year. His win over Alvarado is his only fight since then, which casts doubts over Marquez’s desire to match himself against someone with Khan’s speed and youth. While Khan has namedropped Marquez, the Brit’s risk-laden style may play into the hands of the veteran counter-puncher. Marquez has also thrown a spanner into the works for Khan, by trying to drum up support for a rematch against Mayweather, who handily outpointed him in 2009.