Amir Khan thought he had a career payday and an opportunity to face boxing's pound-for-pound ruler all lined up. He was so confident that the fight was his, in fact, that he bailed on negotiations to face then-IBF welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander on December 7 of last year, a fight that would have given him an opportunity to look good against a top ten fighter at 147 pounds.
In the end, Khan's reluctance to risk "his" fight with Floyd Mayweather cost him the May 3 date against the pay-per-view king, as Floyd chose to go against his (absurd) online poll's (pointless) results, which favored Khan, and instead face Marcos Maidana on Showtime pay-per-view this spring.
Maidana (35-3, 31 KO) didn't wait for anything to be handed to him, unlike Khan (28-3, 19 KO). Marcos got a chance to make waves in December, too, and took advantage, scoring a headline-grabbing "upset" of hyped youngster Adrien Broner, called by the most wishful dreamers of fanalysts the "Next Mayweather," even holding on to some of those fading hopes after struggles against Paulie Malignaggi in June of last year.
Whether or not it was a true upset -- Maidana had the power to make the big differences that Malignaggi couldn't -- is irrelevant. It was one of the biggest stories of 2013, and suddenly, Floyd had a choice: the guy who could barely scrape his way past Julio Diaz in a fight that didn't even air live in the United States, or the guy who just stole the show at the end of a big year for boxing?
Amir Khan can only blame himself for not getting this fight, and I don't mean that just as simply as his choosing to avoid the Alexander fight. If he'd fought and won that, I'm about 80% sure he'd have landed Mayweather as had supposedly been the plan. Where Khan messed up on that score is assuming that there were really no other options, and that one would not emerge. And indeed, unless Floyd was going to look at the Paul Malignaggi vs Zab Judah or Devon Alexander vs Shawn Porter winners as realistic options, Khan had little to worry about. There was also Broner vs Maidana, but that was also not figured a serious concern.
Well, Maidana took it. Khan tried to wait for it, and Maidana took it. While Amir Khan was feebly attempting to convince the public that his hand speed and "awkward footwork" would give Mayweather major trouble, Marcos Maidana went out and beat a guy that has been compared to Mayweather constantly, whether those comparisons are ridiculous or not.
But again, it's not just the Alexander thing and Khan's waiting. Khan hasn't had a Good Win since at least Zab Judah back in 2011, and if you're like me and you realize/recognize that Judah has been overrated most of his career, you might go back (as I do) to Khan's win over Maidana in 2010. Now sure, that's a win over Maidana, and a good one in a terrific fight, but it was a long time ago.
Boxing is very much a "what have you done for me lately?" sport and business, and since beating Judah, Amir Khan's biggest stages have come in losses to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia. His last two fights, both victories, were a stay-busy bout against a visually overmatched Carlos Molina, and veteran Diaz, who had Khan in trouble and made a lot more of a fight of it than should have been expected out of a potential Mayweather foe.
So with his wait-for-it plan backfiring, where does Amir Khan go now? There are plenty of in-house options with Golden Boy, and some in the UK, as well.
Brook says he wants the fight, as the two have gone back-and-forth in the media for a long time (more from Brook than Khan, to be honest). It might be the actual biggest fight out there for Khan, but it's a UK fight that might not receive much legitimate attention in the United States, and given that Khan's career is really based in the States, that might not be the move he wants to make right now.
There had been some talk of Khan vs Broner being the co-feature to Mayweather vs Maidana, but there is now some chatter about Broner facing Luis Collazo on May 3 instead.
This may be the early front-runner for Khan, as there is some unfinished business between these two. Not only did Peterson use synthetic testosterone before their fight in December 2012, but there was plenty of controversy about the scoring and the officiating overall for that fight. Peterson is coming off of a solid win, still has a belt at 140 (if Khan wants to try to fight there, or have Peterson move up), and there should be some interest in the fight.
Porter has the IBF title now after beating Alexander in December, and the company line for why Mayweather chose Maidana over Khan is that Maidana had credible wins at 147, while Khan has no fights at 147, let alone credible wins. If Khan faced and beat Porter, look, Mayweather's going to fight again in September. Amir could get that call with one win like this one.
There are other names that Golden Boy has at the weight -- Malignaggi, who was already dominated by Khan in 2010; Alexander, who currently has no real value in this type of fight -- but one of those four probably will be across the ring from Amir next.