In the latest Yahoo! Sports P4P rankings, Juan Manuel Marquez is listed as fighting Amir Khan on May 15. Later in the day, Yahoo! analyst Kevin Iole said on Facebook, "Richard Schaefer told me this afternoon he's trying to finalize Marquez-Khan for May 15."
Marquez was tentatively scheduled to fight on May 1, the last Saturday before Cinco de Mayo. Now, that date will go to the massive Shane Mosley-Floyd Mayweather Jr. fight, and Marquez will be pushed back a couple of weeks.
This will be Khan's first fight on American soil, and he'll have some advantages. We saw Marquez struggle badly over 135 pounds when he went up to welterweight to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. last September, barely landing a punch on the bigger, faster and younger man.
With those being qualities that hurt Marquez in his last fight, Khan seems an imposing challenge for the Mexican warrior. At 5'10", Khan is taller than Mayweather, and has about the same reach advantage that Floyd enjoyed. Khan has some of the quickest hands in the sport and Marquez has gotten notably slower as he's aged, though it has also made him a terrific action fighter rather than a pure counter-puncher.
Khan's chin is always going to be a question, and I have no doubt that even an aged and blown-up Marquez has the power to hurt Khan and even stop him. At 140 and closing in on 37 years of age, Marquez is still a much stronger puncher than guys like Willie Limond, who had Khan hurt. That fight was a while ago, though, and Khan has become a much better fighter since then.
Also take into account that Freddie Roach, Khan's trainer, is very familiar with Marquez's style, and the fact that he's very confident that Khan will beat Marquez easily. Freddie does his part to help his fighters be quite careful. He wants nothing to do with the fearless, somewhat reckless and very strong Marcos Maidana right now. He wants Marquez in part because it's more money, but also because he's said in the past that Khan will beat Marquez. Freddie isn't wrong too often about his best fighters.
As much as I fear this could turn into a one-sided bore with Khan using his speed and pumping his jab like a junior welterweight Wladimir Klitschko, it's a legit fight and a good one for both guys right now. There's really nothing more at 135 pounds for Marquez to accomplish, and nobody there is worth the money that Golden Boy is willing to invest in Amir Khan fights. I also like this more than Marquez-Ricky Hatton, which I was totally for, but undeniably feels like a "loser's bracket" fight right now.
If Khan beats Marquez, it's a great scalp and a great way to quickly start building him in the States. If Marquez beats Khan, he's won a title (assuming the WBA lets Khan keep his belt right now) at 126, 130, 135 and 140, which would make him the first Mexican fighter to win a recognized belt in four different weight classes, something that Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera have been fruitlessly chasing in recent years. It would be a very, very big thing for Marquez to do that.
I'm guessing the fight would be in Vegas or Los Angeles, since Marquez is going to have to almost totally carry the weight on the live draw. Hopefully this will be an HBO World Championship Boxing and not another PPV, but right now with the promoters getting as greedy as they have, I'm not ruling anything out.