Floyd Mayweather Jr. continues to keep the world guessing about whom he will fight when he returns to the ring on May 3 at The MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The pound-for-pound king recently stated on his Twitter account that he will allow his fans to decide whether his next opponent will be England's Amir Khan or Argentina's Marcos Maidana.
There has been wide speculation that Mayweather, who turns 37 on Feb. 24, already has settled on Khan, who stated publicly in December that he has signed his contract to face Mayweather. Maidana could also be in line for a rematch with Adrien Broner, whom Maidana dethroned as WBA 147-pound titleholder by unanimous decision in December.
RingTV.com sought the opinions of 28 boxing observers as to their thoughts on whom Mayweather will choose to face on May 3 — Khan or Maidana. The results are below.
Marcos Maidana: Marcos Maidana might give Floyd Mayweather a slightly better fight than Amir Khan even though Khan beat Maidana. Maidana would be the better fight, but only slightly.
Amir Khan: Unless Showtime has floated him as a red herring, it seems like Amir Khan will be the obvious — albeit very wrong — choice for Floyd Mayweather for May 3. The Brit has made frequent appearances as if he's the new face of Showtime, despite just two nondescript fights on the network and none since last April.
There has been more than enough outcry from the moment Khan's name was floated, and he's even trailing by a considerable margin in a fall poll on Mayweather Promotions' website asking who the public wants between the two.
Given all that, the fact that he is still in consideration says that Floyd had his mind made up all along, and — barring a surprise — that the fight instead airs on Showtime, or, even better, CBS. May 3 will play host to the least desirable pay-per-view matchup of 2014.
Amir Khan: I think it will be Amir Khan. I don't know for sure, but my guess is that it's almost a done deal. So why did Floyd Mayweather Tweet that Marcos Maidana is also in the running and it's up to the fans choose? That's just Floyd being Floyd. Why did he Tweet that Devon Alexander was in the running to be his opponent last May when everyone knew it would be Robert Guerrero? Mayweather doesn't ever want it to look like anyone is dictating terms to him.
Floyd's gotta be the boss, or at least appear so to his fans (who readily believe everything he says and Tweets). As British boxing writer Gareth A. Davies noted in a recent column for The Telegraph, Mayweather is probably pissed that Khan went public with signing his part of the bout agreement. Mayweather does not abide with anyone stealing his thunder. If there's going to be a big fight announcement, he's going to make it, not the opponent.
Apart from all the usual ego s__t, Mayweather is an astute boxing businessman. Although Maidana is a more accepted opponent in the U.S. and among Latino fans, Khan is almost a household name in the UK (where the Pound is stronger than the dollar, boxing fans are rabid and boxing events are often sold on a pay-per-view platform).
When Mayweather fought Ricky Hatton in 2007, the fight was a pay-per-view event in both the U.S. and the UK. Mayweather didn't get a piece of the UK pay-per-view revenue and Hatton wound up making more money than Floyd. This time, I'm sure Mayweather will be in on the UK pay-per-view pie.
Amir Khan: Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s poll is a nice way to generate publicity. It's another testament to Mayweather's promotional skill. He's as clever a promoter as he is a boxer. But a poll won't choose his opponent. Only he will. Think of it this way: If the poll had not been limited to two — Amir Khan or Marcos Maidana — Manny Pacquiao would have been unanimous.
But it's futile fantasy to think that Mayweather then would have said: OK, the fans have spoken. Pacquiao is next. The George Zimmerman-DMX winner has a better chance of fighting Mayweather. Maidana leads Mayweather's poll. But Khan just makes too much sense. Above all, he's got that vulnerable chin, which is a target of opportunity for Mayweather to break the knockout drought.
Then, there's the UK media. Khan, a better boxer than Ricky Hatton, doesn't have Hatton's popularity. But the UK media will follow him to Las Vegas anyway, generating international interest and revenue for a Mayweather brand seeking to go multi-national.
Marcos Maidana: Adrien Broner let fans vote on his last opponent and he was beaten up quite badly by their second choice, Marcos Maidana. Broner, boxing's ultimate Floyd Mayweather wannabe, went so far as to suggest that boxing fans now think of the undefeated Mayweather as having lost a fight since he did. This might be proof that Broner was hit too hard and too often by Maidana.
In any case, boxing fans are not choosing Amir Khan for Mayweather as his next opponent, and they do not believe the Brit stands a chance or even that he's earned one. Maidana, on the other hand, is reborn under Robert Garcia, and he is now in possession of a signature, defining win.
For the popular and appreciated Maidana, this should parlay into a fight against Mayweather, and it's "El Chino" that fans will select when given such limited choices. As for the fight — if it happens — Mayweather wins 10 of 12 rounds, no problem, to clear up any confusion between himself and Broner. Whether or not Broner gets "Money's" message remains to be seen.
Marcos Maidana: No question, Floyd Mayweather should fight Marcos Maidana. He's coming off an impressive victory over Adrien Broner, and fans love him. Amir Khan is a very popular fighter, but he hasn't fought very well in a long time.
In fact, Khan hasn't fought for a long time. In Khan's last fight, he got beaten up by Julio Diaz before coming out with the victory. Not enough momentum to go into a Mayweather fight.
Amir Khan: I think that because of England, with Amir Khan, that's a good opportunity for both he and Floyd Mayweather to make a chunk of money. Marcos Maidana? Everybody knows that he beat up Adrien Broner.
But definitely, what I think is that he's going to lean toward Khan. The reason is that I think that he is going to make more money with Khan than he would with Maidana, who is more of a brawler while Khan has boxing and some speed.
Amir Khan: Boxing is about styles, and I’m convinced that Amir Khan causes more problems for Floyd Mayweather than Marcos Maidana does. The main attributes one must possess in order to trouble Mayweather are speed, athleticism and a busy jab. Khan has all of the above and he still has youth on his side.
Granted the British star has three losses on his record, but the only men to beat him decisively were big punchers — Breidis Prescott and Danny Garcia. Many observers felt Khan was very unlucky not be given the decision against Lamont Peterson in December 2012, and there are critics who say that Khan is chinny.
But Mayweather is hardly knocking opponents cold these days. In the last 10 years, his record is 14-0 with four knockouts, so Amir's inability to hold a great shot may not be exploited. Maidana was brilliant against Adrien Broner, but this would be like going from counting on an abacus to nuclear physics.
Few believed "About Billions" Broner was the next Mayweather, and he made countless mistakes against the Argentine Maidana. Since when was it good practice to drop your right hand in order to catch a harmless left jab to the body? If you happen to catch monster hooks as a result of that oversight, then you deserve all you get.
There were times when Broner was literally responsible for kicking his own ass. Broner wasn't busy enough against Maidana, and he didn't box a smart fight. Where was the movement? Where were the angles? Where was the jab? Where was the hunger? He was lazy, and Maidana's victory was a workman's compensation.
As I said, boxing is about styles, but Khan does have a victory over Maidana, and he also won his first world title from Andriy Kotelnik, who had outpointed the Argentine in a prior title defense. I would like Amir to get the Floyd Mayweather fight, and I don’t need to think very hard to reach that conclusion.
Amir Khan: I think that it's going to wind up being that he picks Amir Khan. It looks like the public polling is beginning to move in that direction.
Althought Marcos Maidana would be a big fight for Floyd Mayweather, I think that he wants to allow his little brother, Adrien Broner, get the rematch with Maidana that he wants.
That would potentially save the fight with Maidana against Mayweather should Maidana beat Broner again.
Amir Khan: Amir Khan wins Floyd Mayweather. Should Marcos Maidana be able to get around the rematch clause Adrien Broner intends to exercise, I still think Floyd Mayweather will choose Khan because, 1) Khan has a link to Manny Pacquiao because of his sparring sessions with the "Pac Man" when both trained with Freddie Roach. A win over Khan would give Mayweather further ammo to attack Pacquiao.
No. 2) A Mayweather fight is about salesmanship, and any Mayweather opponent will be expected to hold up his end of the bargain in terms of promoting the fight. Khan is better able to do this than Maidana, who would be hurt by his stoic personality and limited English skills.
Finally, No. 3) Khan is perceived to be the easier target, mostly because of his shaky chin and his willingness to attack despite having that shaky chin. From this outsider's vantage point, Mayweather assesses weaknesses as much as strengths in choosing opponents, a practice that has hurt his legacy but has enhanced his staying power atop the sport and extended his opportunities to make record amounts of cash. After all, boxing is also known as "prize fighting," is it not?
Amir Khan: Who wins the Floyd Mayweather Sweepstakes between Marcos Maidana and Amir Khan? At first glance, it looks like Maidana has earned the right to punch his lotto ticket thanks to the beating he gave the self-proclaimed little brother of Mayweather, Adrien Broner. A fight between Maidana and Mayweather has a built in narrative ("Mayweather out to avenge the loss of Broner!") and many believe it could be the more competitive fight given Maidana's brawling style.
But upon closer inspection, Amir Khan will likely get his number called. In a "what have you done for me lately" universe, Khan shouldn't even be involved in this conversation. Beating Carlos Molina and Julio Diaz after back to back losses against Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson doesn't really suggest that King Khan deserves a fight of this magnitude. However, when you look deeper into what Khan has to offer that Maidana does not, the choice will likely end up in the Brit's favor.
Most people forget that Khan holds a victory over Maidana, which just might be the reasoning Mayweather uses to select him. And even though Khan has been stopped twice in his career by Garcia and Breidis Prescott, that won't deter Mayweather from picking the UK star. Furthermore, Mayweather could use a spectacular knockout on his resume and Khan is more likely to give him that opportunity than Maidana thanks to his fragile jaw and a knack for touching the canvas.
Honestly, a Mayweather fight with Maidana won't be very competitive. Maidana performs well against fighters who will stand in the pocket and trade. But if you give him a little movement, he's in trouble. Both Devon Alexander and Khan exploited Maidana's difficulty with slick boxers, and Mayweather is a far slicker boxer than both. At least with Khan it will look a little more competitive for the first few rounds. And given Khan's notoriety, it will likely yield some extra pay per view buys.
Whether you like it or not, the choice will be Amir Khan.
Amir Khan: I think that Floyd Mayweather's going to fight Amir Khan. When you look at the opponents that are out there to fight Floyd, you have to think of two things: Which one is going to make the bigger show, and which one might have the style to beat him.
Marcos Maidana just doesn't have the style to beat Floyd, I mean, Floyd would just pick him apart all day, and I still don't think that Maidana has the name recognition that other guys have. Khan will have a lot of name recognition, and while he hasn't performed up to his talent level, he does have a lot of talent.
Amir Khan: I think that Floyd Mayweather will choose to fight Amer Khan because they are thinking there might be a chance of a larger pay per view audience outside the USA, British and possibly in areas such as the India-Pakistan regions. Or that they are just able to market to a wider audience in general with Khan.
Marcos Maidana is being tossed around, but I seriously doubt that will happen. Mayweather versus Maidana may seem like a good fight to some because of his Maidana's victory over Adrien Broner, but let's face it: Maidana gets shut out by Mayweather, with the only chance being he just bum-rushes Mayweather and catches him cold.
Khan may be chinny, but Mayweather is not a big puncher. I know people to whom I really listen, and they have said that Khan could give Mayweather problems. I doubt that, but I've been wrong before.
Amir Khan: I think that it will be Amir Khan. Khan generates more viewers due to the international audience. Although I think that Marcos Maidana has been the hotter fighter, recently, Khan has a head-to-head win over him.
I think that in the end, Khan generates more buys than Maidana, although hard core fans will want to see Floyd Mayweather in against Maidana. It's interesting because Maidana just beat Adrien Broner, but in reality, Maidana plays a lot right into Mayweather's hands and his strength.
It's interesting. Khan has some strengths that can make Mayweather think. Both have a legitimate gripe for who should get it, but I think that he picks Khan.
Marcos Maidana: I think Floyd Mayweather will go with Marcos Maidana. Floyd is sensitive to pay per view numbers, and fans aren't buying Amir Khan.
Given the cold war in boxing between Showtime and HBO, a war that ices prospects for Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao or Mayweather-Danny Garcia, the Maidana fight might be the best we can do.
Marcos has shown that he knows how to deal with the Mayweather-type style. Rip rights to the body, down the middle with the left, keep the cushion. And Maidana has whiskers and a lot of heart. Still, I think that Floyd will be too elusive for him.
Marcos Maidana: I suppose the choice is who the fans will select as opposed to who I would select. I believe had Manny Pacquaio been a third choice, this would've been about 95 percent Manny. I don't sense a huge push for either of our two candidates that we do have available.
However, that said, I think the fans would rather see Marcos Maidana and will vote for him. First reason is he has a big punch and is relentless.
Second, fans feel that Amir Khan does not take a punch well, and while he might be competitive until Floyd lands a decent shot, that he would then be taken quickly. So, I'll say Maidana for the fans, and I'll go along with them.
Amir Khan: Being on the UK side of the pond, I, needless to say, would love to see Amir Khan be afforded this biggest of boxing dates with destiny, and the opportunity to face the indisputable RING pound-for-pound champ, Floyd Mayweather. And, I think that is the way Mayweather may also be leaning.
Well, he ain't called "‘Money" for nothing and I'd expect the mass interest from the intensely passionate British sporting public may just make up any loss within the American audience, which is probably more likely to want Marcos Maidana in the ring with Floyd. Make no mistake, Mayweather-Khan would be back page and frontage news in Britain, which is something that has not happened since the days of Frank Bruno.
I don't fancy Khan to stop or defeat the man who has never been beaten, but I do think his speed and love for a punch up will trouble Mayweather enough to make this a genuinely interesting, competitive contest. I think Maidana would also pose issues for Mayweather, but not in the same fascinating manner as Khan.
Who deserves to be a part of the Mayweather show more is a pretty tight call and highly debatable. There is no right or wrong. But, as I mentioned at the start, as a partisan English sports writer and fan, my vote is going to Amir "King" Khan.
Mike “Little Rock” Ricasa, guest/fan, boxing trainer, retired fighter, Ellicott City, Md.
Marcos Maidana: Without a doubt Marcos Maidana deserves the fight Floyd Mayweather. Maidana has bigger name, which would produce higher attendance on pay per view.
Maidana has fought better opposition then Amir Khan. Besides, I wouldn't buy pay per view if he fights Khan. I know Khan beat Maidana on paper but that was in 2010. Truthfully, Mayweather should fight Manny Pacquiao.
Amir Khan: I hate to sound so cynical–but who cares? What we are really talking about here is a choice between a guy who will probably lose every round out of 12 in Marcos Maidana, or someone who will win two out of six before getting stopped in Amir Khan. Both guys would be heavy, heavy underdogs and that's why Floyd has put a marketing spin on it by letting the fans "choose" his opponent.
If he really wanted to listen to the fans, he'd fight Manny Pacquiao. Frankly, I think this is just a scam to make fans think Maidana was actually in the running. I still think, unfortunately, that it has been and will remain Khan. Khan has the UK money behind him and that'll help the bottom line.
This whole "choose my opponent" thing was just a promotional effort to make it seem like Mayweather cared what people like us even think. Hint: He doesn't. Expect Mayweather-Khan on May 3.
Marcos Maidana: If I had to choose between Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana as to whom Floyd Mayweather is going to pick, I would side with Maidana.
Amir Khan: Marcos Maidana getting the big payday is probably the better story, but he's also the easier fight on paper.
Amir Khan's chin might stink, but he has more speed and movement than anyone Floyd Mayweather has seen since, who, Zab Judah? The real answer is Erislandy Lara. Neither of these choices is exciting.
Amir Khan: I believe that Floyd Mayweather will choose Amir Khan, because that's an easier fight for Floyd than Marcos Maidana. As a fan, I would like to see Floyd versus Maidana. With Khan, it will take him two or three rounds to figure Khan out, and then, Floyd's going to start spanking him and then it's going to be an easy fight for Floyd, even with his hand speed.
Floyd's too smart for the hand speed of Khan to affect him. With Maidana, he doesn't have the fastest hands in the world, but he's going to be on you like white on rice. He's going to make Floyd work for the duration of the 12 rounds and for every minute of every round. Although Floyd wins, it will be a little more difficult for him than a Khan fight. So he's going to pick Khan because it's the easier fight.
Marcos Maidana: I'm going to go with Marcos Maidana. It think that there is more marketing value in Maidana and that his name still is out there. Maidana's a hot commodity.
I believe that Mayweather would beat both Amir Khan and Maidana, but I believe that Maidana has the better shot at possibly beating Mayweather than Khan does.
Marcos Maidana: I think Marcos Maidana clearly deserves to get the fight, and in a just world, he would get it no questions asked. Regardless of whether it is him or Amir Khan who gets the call, I see a decisive Floyd Mayweather win.
Floyd has shown me no signs of slipping at all. He's still not taking punishment, he's still in great sharp, he's still sharp. I see him boxing as he always does and winning a clear unanimous decision over Maidana. Again.
Amir Khan: From a business standpoint, Floyd Mayweather should take Amir Khan. Mayweather is popular in Britain, and it would be an opportunity for the British fans to see Mayweather fight one of their countrymen.
Charles Villa, guest/fan, Portland, Oregon
Marcos Maidana: While Floyd Mayweather has left it up to the fans to pick between Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana, it's become something of a Sophie's Choice. Khan has fast hands, good movement and throws combinations for days, but as we all know, also has a painfully vulnerable chin. Not to mention that Khan has zero credentials to challenge for any belt at 147, let alone the top of the division.
Maidana is a lumbering, come-forward fighter who throws clubbing shots from awkward angles at times. Maidana is the sort of fighter that Mayweather has picked apart in the past. At the end of the day, Floyd needs an opponent who will bring the pay-per-view buys necessary to keep his events with Showtime profitable.
As we saw with the Robert Guerrero fight, Mayweather can't do it all on his own. While Khan enjoys some popularity in the UK, it's not on the level of a Ricky Hatton, or even Carl Froch. Maidana has never been the B-side of a pay-per-view event, but he's endeared and familiarized himself to fight fans with numerous thrilling performances.
The latest of those performances by Maidana was a domination of Adrien Broner that was viewed by 1.3 million Showtime subscribers. With Floyd needing to make a choice that makes business sense and having the tendency to choose opponents who are coming off impressive wins, Maidana should be the one who is getting the call.
Amir Khan: I believe that both Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana each bring something different to the table for the shot at Floyd Mayweather. Khan has been highly-touted since turning pro. He speaks English and brings the UK selling point to this fight, something Mayweather will appreciate. As for Maidana, he's completely different from Khan in nearly every way.
Maidana wont bring as much name value to the promotion, but what he does bring is a solid resume at 147. Plus his style of fighting is always exciting. Though Khan holds a 2010 win over Maidana, for me, Maidana has evolved into a very good 147-pounder with wins over Jose Soto Karass, Josesito Lopez — although, admittedly, neither is a world beater, each is solid — plus most recently an impressive display against Mayweather's young protégé Adrien Broner.
Meanwhile, Khan has fought the smaller Carlos Molina and a past-his-prime Julio Diaz, who dropped Khan in his last fight April last year. Plus, Khan has no resume at all as a welterweight. I would like to see a fighter earn his shot at Mayweather, and, in that respect, I feel that Maidana has done that with his greater activity at welterweight over the past year or so. Although I believe Maidana is more deserving, I think ultimately Khan will get the nod.
Abe Wiggington, guest/fan, Houston, Texas
Amir Khan: When you look at the choices for opponents that Floyd Mayweather has selected it is not the greatest options for the paying fan that wants to see a good fight a competitive fight. Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana are a mixed bag with a little good and bad. It is too bad that you cannot combine both talents than that would be an interesting opponent for Mayweather. But the most deserving opponent for this fight is Maidana.
The reason I guess the main reason is that he has between the two in terms of recent wins has the more prominent win against Mayweather wannabe Adrian Broner. Going into that fight people suspected that Broner would win that fight and win it convincingly. Obviously that was not the case.
Maidana took chances from the jump and attacked Broner with vicious blows. Broner it seemed did not have many answers and lost the fight by a big margin. If Maidana gets this fight his strategy will have to be aggressive but smart. Canelo Alvarez in my view was too tentative and was fighting scared. Maidana cannot go in the ring with that mindset and I expect him to be aggressive, but he has to be judicious.
It is too bad though that Maidana to go along with his power does not have the same ring generalship skills that Pacquiao has. But it is what it is. I hope if Marcos is the guy, that the boxing world will see a more competitive fight, than the Alvarez fight. Though when it comes down to make a decison between who Mayweather should fight, do not be surprised if Floyd picks Khan.
By a majority of 18-10, the insiders believe that Floyd Mayweather Jr. will select Amir Khan over Marcos Maidana for his next fight on May 3.