Amir Khan lands a left en route to outpointing Julio Diaz on April 27 in Sheffield, England. Khan was dropped in the fourth round and rocked late in the fight but he still believes he has the talent and style to trouble Floyd Mayweather.
With Floyd Mayweather, Jr. saying that he will name his next opponent next week speculation is again centering on Amir Khan. And the British welterweight contender wasn’t doing anything to deflect that speculation on Thursday afternoon.
Khan made his case for the Mayweather Sweepstakes during an exclusive interview following the Paulie Malignaggi-Zab Judah press conference at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday afternoon. Khan will work the Showtime broadcast, taking Malignaggi’s place as the expert commentator for the show on Saturday night.
A London-based tabloid, the Daily Star, quoting an unnamed source reported on Tuesday that Mayweather and Khan have worked out all but a few minor details in a contract for a fight in Las Vegas on May 3. Khan said there was no deal as far as he knew and he hadn’t seen a contract. But he said a fight between him and Mayweather makes more sense than any other match available to boxing’s No. 1 attraction.
“If Floyd wants to be a superstar in the world of boxing he has to fight superstars of the world. I have the second most active followers on Twitter after Floyd Mayweather. I have 1.5 million. Floyd has 2.2 million,” Khan said.
“I’m a big name in Dubai, probably a bigger name than Floyd. I’m a huge name in England. I’m a bigger name than Floyd in Pakistan and India. India and Pakistan have a population of 1.2 billion people. If Floyd wants to be a global star he has to fight people like me. No one else brings that to the table than me.”
Mayweather built his last big Pay-Per-View promotion around fighting a rising Mexican superstar, Saul Alvarez. Khan, a 26-year-old former junior welterweight champion, has a much more extensive resume than Alvarez had before he fought Mayweather. He lost his WBA and RING magazine junior welterweight titles to WBC beltholder Danny Garcia on July 14, 2012. He has beaten Carlos Molina and Julia Diaz since that loss.
“In the Garcia fight I was schooling him until I got hit with a big shot. That’s boxing. One punch can change a fight,” Khan said. “With the Floyd fight we know he’s not the biggest puncher, we know he’s not as quick as me. I have a lot of advantages in this fight. Going up to 147 is going to help me hold that power.”
Mayweather has turned back all 44 opponents that he’s faced as a pro and has blitzed three of the last four – Victor Ortiz, Robert Guerrero and Alvarez.
“They’ve been well picked for Floyd. They’ve been made for Floyd. They’re big punchers. They’re flat-footed, slow feet,” Khan said. “Floyd needs a breath of fresh air, a fresh fighter, whose going to come and fight and whose going to push him and be explosive, make them old legs move, make him work. Everyone in the world of boxing knows if he fights me, he’s going to have to work. It’s going to be hard work for him. It’s going to be an explosive fight. I’m excited if I get it.”
Khan said his style is similar to Ortiz’s style, but with a twist.
“Victor Ortiz is not as quick as me. He caused Floyd a lot of problems. He was catching him with shots until he decided to head butt him. He lost his head. I’ll never do that,” Khan said. “I have the speed and the movement and the footwork and the explosiveness to cause him problems like Victor did in the fight, but I’ll fight even better. I respect what Floyd’s done in the sport of boxing, but if he decides to fight me I’ll have no respect for him. I’ll go in there looking to win.’’
KHAN ANALYZES JUDAH-MALIGNAGGI
Khan will have a unique prospective when he sits ringside to do commentary for the Showtime broadcast of the Malignaggi-Judah fight. He has beaten both men, stopping Judah on a fifth round TKO and Malignaggi on an 11th round TKO. He broke down the strengths and weaknesses of both boxers following the final press conference at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday.
Here is his take on Malignaggi:
“Paulie is a real good boxer. In the recent fights that I’ve seen I think he’s improved his jab a lot. His jab is the key punch in this fight for him. If he keeps that jab long and tries to break down Zab, he has a very good chance of winning this fight.
“We know he’s not the biggest puncher, so he might not be able to hurt Zab. If he starts peppering Zab, he can dishearten him. He’s got the skill to dishearten Zab. He takes a good shot, so I don’t think that Zab can hurt him much. But this is boxing anything can happen. Paulie has taken a lot of time off. Zab has been active so he might be the fresher boxer. Paulie had a close fight against Broner. A lot of people think he won the fight, so he’ll come in with a lot of confidence.”
Here is what Khan thinks of Judah:
“Zab is a good fighter for the first few rounds. He’s quick and throws good quick combinations. He’s a southpaw, which makes him awkward to fight. If you start putting pressure on Zab and start leading the early rounds and get him to chasing, that’s when he falls behind, tries too hard and makes mistakes.
“He said he’s the new Zab, but the old Zab that I fought he gave up after a couple of rounds against me. His game plan didn’t really work for him and he kind of let me walk through him. He has the knockout power to win this fight. He’s been in with some good opponents. He’s come off a big high, a close fight with Danny Garcia. He’s very confident and he thinks he can do this.”
Khan said there’s a lot of pressure on both boxers because they will be trying to impress their hometown crowd.
“When you fight in Vegas or wherever it’s all right. You’re not as nervous,” Khan said. “When you fight in Brooklyn, your hometown you’ve got something to prove in front of your fans. You have to put on a great fight. It’s a fight that’s very late in their career. This might be the last big fight of their career. This is a fight that people will always remember so they both have to put on a good performance. People will talk about this fight for years to come, so they have to put on a good performance.”
Photos / Scott Heavey-Getty Images, Paul Ellis-AFP