Saying that a Floyd Mayweather Jr.–Amir Khan fight would “have a huge crowd of Brits showing up wherever the fight would take place,” Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer said that he would “have to see if that fight can be done.”
“With Amir, there is no secret that he and his team are pursuing a Mayweather fight, and Floyd Mayweather, right now, is enjoying his time off. We’re working on it to see if, in fact, it can be done. Amir Khan is one of the big names in the U.K. The U.K. fans are some of the most rabid fans, and when some stories broke a few weeks ago or a couple of months ago in the U.K., prematurely, that the fight was done — which, obviously, it’s not and wasn’t then or now — I was told by people in the U.K. that [Britain’s] Sky [Television Network] covered it and had talked about the fight every 15 minutes,” said Schaefer.
“All of the newspapers were full of stories and that it basically just could be the biggest fights of all time in the U.K. That’s a sign of Amir’s popularity in the U.K. But, Floyd has a tremendous following in the U.K. as well. We saw it at the last fight in Las Vegas, and we see it at all of his fights. There’s always a bunch of Brits who come and support Floyd, so I think that ever since he fought Ricky Hatton, he made a lot of Brits believers and I think that they like his personality and his style, as well. So I think that when you add those two factors together — the popularity of Floyd and the popularity of Amir — that you’re definitely going to have a huge crowd of Brits showing up wherever the fight would take place.”
“One thing that we know is that it seems like size and power is not really going to help to solve the Floyd Mayweather puzzle. So maybe the one thing that can solve it is speed and skill. I’m not going to say that Amir Khan’s skills are better than Floyd Mayweather’s skills, because I believe that Floyd is, maybe, the most skilled fighter of any generation and of all time. He’s just the smartest guy in the ring. I think that his ring generalship and his skills are unmatched,” said Schaefer.
“But what I am going to say is that from a speed point of view, Mayweather is very, very fast and has very fast hands, but I am going to say that Amir Khan’s hands and hand-speed is faster than Floyd Mayweather’s, and that his footwork is exceptional as well. So Amir has skills and he has speed, and in the speed category, he is faster than Floyd Mayweather. So we’ll have to see if that fight can be done. But it’s not done, and it’s far from being done. But if it can be done, I think that it would be a fascinating matchup by two of the most skilled fighters in the sport.”
A former junior welterweight titleholder who turns 27 in December, Khan (28-3, 19 KOs) would be looking for his third straight victory in as many fights under new trainer Virgil Hunter if he were to challenge Mayweather, who is also THE RING and WBC welterweight champion.
Khan was stopped in 54 seconds by Breidis Prescott in September of 2008 before reeling off eight consecutive victories, four of them by stoppage.
Although he has yet to compete as a true 147-pounder, Khan’s resume includes unanimous decisions over Marcos Maidana and former world titleholder Andrey Kotelnik, a technical decision victory over Mexican great Marco Antonio Barrera, and knockouts of former titleholders Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah.
Khan suffered consecutive losses to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia by split-decision and fourth-round knockout, respectively, prior to his past two bouts, which he won by 10th-round knockout of Carlos Molina (not to be confused with the IBF junior middleweight titleholder of the same name) and by unanimous decision over former titleholder Julio Diaz.
“”Obviously, Ricky Hatton’s popularity back when he fought Floyd Mayweather was unmatched. I don’t think that there was any other British fighter, then or now, who can eclipse the popularity that Ricky Hatton had. But having said that, I believe that there would be a very large U.K. crowd there,” said Schaefer.
“Some would be cheering on Amir, and some would be cheering on Floyd … Amir is a big-event person. He’s an Olympian as well, and Floyd is an Olympian. So I think that it would be a fascinating matchup. But I don’t want to get overly excited right now, because it’s not done. But that’s where Amir’s focus is. He really wants that fight.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda; Scott Heavey, Getty Images
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com