Dan Rafael of ESPN.com reports the news most everyone was expecting, as the Wednesday deadline to make a July 23 fight between Amir Khan and Timothy Bradley has come and gone, with no deal struck between the parties. Now, Khan and Golden Boy Promotions move on, seeking a new opponent for the same date.
The candidates, as discussed before, are as follows:
- Marcos Maidana (30-2, 27 KO): Maidana had Khan in real trouble late in their December fight, and the bout went down to the wire and won the BWAA Fight of the Year award. Maidana last fought on April 9, taking home a tougher-than-expected win over Erik Morales. Scott Score on Khan-Maidana II: 9/10. The first fight was great and close on the cards, and in my view this is the more relevant Maidana rematch, between Khan and Morales.
- Robert Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KO): 28-year-old Guerrero says he's ready to step up his competition. He seems to most desire a fight with lightweight world champ Juan Manuel Marquez, but has said he's ready to move up to 140 or even 147 pounds if need be. Guerrero's name has been connected to Khan, Victor Ortiz and even Floyd Mayweather. Scott Score on Khan-Guerrero: 7/10. It's a good fight -- a really good fight, even. But it isn't great. I do think someone with Guerrero's skills is a danger to Khan, and I also would say it's time to stop considering Guerrero to be "inconsistent." Though he was lazy last year against shot Joel Casamayor, he's been dominant in recent wins over solid foes Michael Katsidis and Vicente Escobedo. He seems to step it up when the opponents are legit.
- Erik Morales (51-7, 35 KO): I'll admit that Morales' comeback starting last year has gone better than I expected. He beat a few decent opponents (none great or even good, but no bums) and then was crazy brave against Maidana. Morales is currently scheduled to fight on HBO PPV on July 30, so moving him up a week and reaching a wider audience should work. Scott Score on Khan-Morales: 3/10. Though the 34-year-old Morales stunned many by being so competitive and gutsy in his loss to Maidana, he's still really a blown-up super bantamweight, and he's old and shop-worn. And Khan's height and speed advantages won't allow Morales to so easily dip into his bag of tricks for solutions to solve the opponent's puzzle.
- Zab Judah (41-6, 28 KO): Whatever your opinion on the subject (and no, I really, really, really don't want to hear it either way), Judah getting religion seems to have made him a legitimately changed man. And the move back down to 140 pounds has been good for him, too. Judah has won five in a row since beginning to work his way back down to junior welterweight. Scott Score on Khan-Judah: 6/10. It's fine. This is not, in my opinion, as good a fight as Khan-Guerrero because I don't think Judah's as good as Guerrero anymore. But Zab has a fanbase and generally his fights are fun to watch. Plus with whatever speed he does have left, and his southpaw stance, he could give Khan some new looks -- wait, Khan spars with Manny Pacquiao. Make that 5/10.