Lem Satterfield

Will Khan beat Pacquiao to the punch in the race to fight Mayweather?

In the race to fight unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr., don’t be surprised if Amir Khan reaches the “Money” man before Manny Pacquiao does.

“There are those dream matches, you know, and sometimes they happen, and sometimes they don’t,” said Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer. “Maybe it will happen, and, maybe not, meaning, the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight.”

Factors tilting in favor of Mayweather-Khan happening first are the following:

  • Negotiations for a bout between Mayweather and Pacquiao have twice failed over the issue of drug testing.
  • Pacquiao still has an ongoing lawsuit in play against Mayweather seeking damages for defamation of character.
  • Mayweather and Khan each have ties to Golden Boy Promotions, making potential negotiations for their fight a lot simpler.

In addition, “They’re [Khan and Pacquiao] both trained by Freddie Roach and Alex Ariza, and they’re both good friends, so that pretty much kills a possibility of a Khan-Pacquiao fight,” said Schaefer. “Amir made it clear to us that a fight against Floyd Mayweather is a fight that he would like to have.

“So, you know, a fight with Floyd Mayweather, that’s definitely something that Amir Khan has discussed with us.”

Roach agrees that Khan might face Mayweather before Pacquiao.

“I guess that that’s a possibility, because Amir and Floyd are with the same [promotional] company, and it seems like nobody is getting along nowadays, unfortunately,” said Roach. “I think that I have the two guys that can beat Floyd, but I guess that it could happen that Amir gets him first.

“I would still prefer to see it be Manny against Floyd because that’s the bigger fight.”

Mayweather (41-0, 25 knockouts) is challenging WBC welterweight beltholder Victor Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs) on Sept. 17. on HBO pay per view. Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KOs), promoted by Top Rank Inc., will defend his WBO welterweight title against Juan Manuel Marquez (53-5-1, 39 KOs) on Nov. 12.

Meanwhile, Khan (26-1, 18 KOs) is coming off of his eighth consecutive win and his  fourth knockout during that run, that being last month’s fifth-round stoppage that dethroned IBF beltholder Zab Judah. Khan also owns the WBA belt.

“You know, it is apparent that Amir Khan is very quickly moving up … the pound-for-pound rankings, and certainly now Amir Khan is recognized as the best fighter in all of the United Kingdom. As such, he’s going to bring a substantial pool of money with him,” said Schaefer.

“Amir Khan is young, he’s fast, he’s very skilled, and he has a great team behind him. So Amir Khan is obviously  an attractive proposition for Floyd Mayweather. He’s the kind of fighter who likes to have a big challenge, so, in fact, that’s [Mayweather] certainly a possibility as well. Absolutely.”

Targeted for a return to the ring on Dec. 10, Khan has his pick of opponents.

Among the possibilities are the winners of two fights: Robert Guerrero and Marcos Maidana for what the WBA calls its “regular” title on Aug. 27 and Erik Morales and Lucas Matthysse for the WBC’s vacant belt on the Mayweather-Ortiz card.

Another option for Khan is Lamont Peterson, the No. 1 challenger to Khan’s IBF belt.

But Peterson is likely to be the odd man out for at least two reasons: He turned down an opportunity to fight Khan over money, and Golden Boy promotes Morales, Matthysse, Guerrero and Maidana.

That would make negotiations involving one of those four opponents easier. Counting Ortiz, Golden Boy Promotions has handled Mayweather’s past five fights.

Schaefer’s not giving up on Mayweather-Pacquiao, but he’s not making any promises either.

“If time will allow us, and I certainly hope that time does allow us, then we can sit back down and see if a fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao can be made. But now, that’s obviously the furthest thing from the mind of Mayweather or Ortiz,” said Schaefer.

“You know, it’s first things first, and the last time I checked, Manny Pacquiao is going to have his hands full with a stiff challenge from Juan Manuel Marquez. So these guys are busy, and I really don’t think that the time is right to discuss or answer questions as it relates to a potential showdown between Mayweather and Pacquiao.”

 

Lem Satterfield can be reached at lem.satterfield@gmail.com

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