LOS ANGELES – The list of potential opponents for WBA 140-pound titleholder Amir Khan seems to be growing every day, perhaps topped by a mandatory challenge against the winner of Friday’s Lamont Peterson-Victor Cayo fight.
And while Timothy Bradley remains in the mix, he no longer seems to have advantage over other top contenders.
Bradley had agreed to fight Khan on July 23 but pulled out, which opened the door for Zab Judah to take the fight instead. Khan stopped Judah in five rounds.
“I don’t think fans want to see Khan-Bradley,” said Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer, which handles Khan. “Let me ask you: If you were a fan and could chose Khan against (Robert) Guerrero, Khan against (Marcos) Maidana, Khan against (Erik) Morales or Khan against Bradley, which one do you think would be the most-entertaining fight?
“Let’s put it this way: Which is the least entertaining fight?”
Schaefer, who promotes Guerrero, Maidana and Morales, was referring to Bradley when he posed that last question.
But don’t fans want to see the Nos. 1 and 2 junior welterweights in the world fight one another to determine the best 140-pounder?
“Bradley had his chance,” Schaefer said. “Now is he one of the names being considered? Absolutely. Is he THE name? No. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of the other options. Fight fans would be thrilled to see any of them, including the Bradley fight.”
Bradley has said or implied that he didn’t fight Khan for a number of reasons. The fact he no longer wanted to fight for co-promoters Gary Shaw and Thompson Boxing, who have sued him for not fighting Khan. The fact his wife was pregnant. And because, he implied, the money wasn’t right.
Schaefer still can’t figure it all out.
“I was surprised when they told us,” said Schaefer, referring to the news that Bradley pulled out. “The fighters agreed to fight. I remember we did a Canelo (Alvarez) fight at the Honda Center. Khan was there. Bradley was right behind him. They were talking. They both agreed to fight each other.
“Suddenly, in a matter of a couple of weeks, something happened. It cannot be money. The money got better (for Bradley) because Khan was willing to throw in UK money. It cannot be his wife being pregnant; she was already pregnant.
“I don’t know; I just don’t know,” he continued. “… Now he has no (fight) date, no opponent and he lost his No. 1 ranking in the division. I don’t know who advised him but I don’t think it was a wise decision.
“If he feels today that he wasn’t impressed with Khan’s performance (against Judah), that Khan is very beatable, it makes it even harder to understand why he didn’t take the fight. If he thinks it’s a walk in the park, then take the walk in the park.
“He could’ve been beating Khan last Saturday night. Instead, he’s sitting on the sidelines, he finds himself in a lawsuit and he doesn’t have a fight lined up.”
Haye’s future: Schaefer, David Haye’s U.S. promoter, said he doesn’t know whether the heavyweight contender will continue fighting or retire after his one-sided loss to Wladimir Klitschko on July 2.
He called Adam Booth, Haye’s manager and trainer, and made a suggestion, though.
“I told Adam that David is a very talented fighter, a very charismatic fighter, a multiple world champion,” he said. “That is not the way for David Haye to end his career. I think it was just an off night for him. For whatever reason, it wasn’t the David Haye we usually see. …
“The same thing with Wladimir Klitschko. He wasn’t all that impressive, either. Both guys were there but they weren’t there.”
Schaefer continued: “What I said is he should come to the U.S. for one, possibly two fights at Staples Center against the likes of Chris Arreola or others. Then, after that, position yourself to maybe go in and fight Vitali Klitschko.”
Schaefer said Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy matchmaker Eric Gomez believe Haye matches up better with Vitali Klitschko.
“Vitali is big and strong, like a machine,” he said. “He’s very mechanical. The biggest asset David has is his athleticism, the way he moves. We think because Vitali is so robotic, David would have an advantage. His athleticism would be the difference.
“He would have a much better change against Vitali than he does against Wladimir.”
Russell watch: Schaefer was among the many who were impressed by Gary Russell Jr.’s performance against Eric Estrada on the Khan-Judah card.
Russell displayed exceptional all-around skills in winning a shutout decision, adding fuel to the notion that the former Olympian is destined to become a star.
So is Schaefer eager to sign the free-agent to a long-term contract? Not necessarily.
Russell, whose manager is Al Haymon, works with Golden Boy on a fight-by-fight basis.
“We have a working relationship with Al and him,” Schaefer said. “Sometimes you sign somebody and then they (screw) you. Then sometimes you don’t sign somebody and you have the best relationship.
“Look at our relationship with Floyd Mayweather. Floyd isn’t signed with us. But you know what? We believe we’re doing a great job for Floyd. Every time we see him, he tells us that.
“The same with Gary Russell. He couldn’t be happier the way we’ve kept him busy, the way we’ve brought him along. At the end of the day it’s a matter of trust. I trust Gary. Whether he’s signed or not doesn’t matter. We’re his promoters.”
Hopkins-Dawson in L.A.? Schaefer said the Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson fight on Oct. 15 could land at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
“It’s not done yet,” he said. “But there’s a strong likelihood that the fight could take place at Staples Center.