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Floyd Mayweather on Amir Khan: 'He's a young, strong champion'

It's expected that Floyd Mayweather will soon announce a fight with Amir Khan for May 3 in Las Vegas, and the pound-for-pound king had praise for the British fighter in a recent interview.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sport
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Floyd Mayweather will be back in the ring on May 3, 2014, following a two-fight year in 2013 where he convincingly defeated Robert Guerrero and Canelo Alvarez. It's expected that Mayweather will fight two more times in 2014 on Showtime pay-per-view, and right now the front-runner for his next date is British star Amir Khan, a former junior welterweight titlist who isn't seen as much of a threat by most.

Khan (28-3, 19 KO) has been on the Mayweather radar before, only to lose to Lamont Peterson in December 2011 and Danny Garcia in July 2012. Since those back-to-back defeats, Khan has won a pair of bouts, but he wasn't exactly sensational against Carlos Molina or Julio Diaz, and as much natural talent and particularly speed as Khan does have, it's hard for most, it seems, to imagine him as any real danger for the pound-for-pound king.

Mayweather (45-0, 26 KO) is turning 37 in February, but age has not been a real factor for him yet, as he's taken so little punishment over his 17-year pro career, and has always been noted for staying in immaculate shape between fights. He also hasn't stated definitively that Khan will be his next foe, but there aren't a lot of options out there for the fight, and Khan already passed on a Devon Alexander bout that was being negotiated for December 7 in order to focus on landing the big money bout with Floyd.

Mayweather spoke with Chris Robinson about Khan recently, and had good words to say about him, though they are careful words, as well:

"Amir Khan, I think he's a young, strong champion. I call all these guys champions. I call them champions because even when they get knocked down they get back up and give it their best. ... I do know, every time out, the guy comes and fights. If he is the guy, then he's the guy. There's nothing I can do but go out there and execute the game plan and dedicate myself to my craft, which is boxing."

Mayweather has been noted in the past for slamming potential foes that he either didn't want to or simply wasn't going to fight as already having lost bouts, notably Manny Pacquiao. But that may have been more about Pacquiao's status in the public's mind as possibly a better fighter than Floyd. With Khan (or Guerrero, or Miguel Cotto, etc.) nobody is saying they're better than Mayweather, so he doesn't have to diminish what they have done by pointing out their failures; instead, he can praise their talent and their achievements, ignore their shortcomings, and then beat them.

This is not a "Floyd Duckweather is ducking Saint Manny!!!11 1" thing, either. It's simple marketing, really, and Mayweather-Pacquiao hasn't happened and almost definitely won't ever happen for so many reasons that "Floyd doesn't want it!" is merely a drop in the bucket if anything noteworthy at all.

It still looks like it's going to be Khan. Whether or not that will sell better than this year's relatively PPV flop against Robert Guerrero is another story, but there just aren't many Golden Boy or free agent fighters out there right now for Floyd to face at 147 or 154, at least that he hasn't already beaten. Khan may be the best option for the time being, and given that Mayweather is fighting more than once a year again, it could be worse. Hey, at least Khan is fast.

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