Amir Khan was treated like a B-side for the first time in his career by the Floyd Mayweather camp, ultimately losing what he thought was a default bid to face Mayweather on May 3, and now it looks like he's going to go hardcore on being an A-side for his next fight.
Khan (28-3, 19 KO) hasn't beaten a really notable opponent in a couple of years now, but prior to Marcos Maidana's upset of Adrien Broner on December 14, he was the easy favorite to be Mayweather's next opponent simply because Golden Boy didn't have anyone else in the right spot for the fight at 147 or 154 pounds. There are guys coming up, but not ready to be sacrificed to Mayweather at this point. Khan, a young veteran still in his physical prime, was the best of a bad pool of choices, until Maidana fought his way into the race, and in the end, into the fight with Floyd.
Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing said that he recently made Khan an offer of £5 million -- or $8 million -- to fight his guy, unbeaten welterweight contender Kell Brook. Khan, though, says he's not interested, and that Brook isn't on his level:
"There are a few opponents we are looking at. I'm still focused on fighting in America so I don't think it will be in the UK. It makes no sense me fighting someone like Kell Brook. I still think has to prove himself a little bit.
"If I am getting mentioned against the likes of Floyd Mayweather then I think Kell Brook is quite far away from that. We are on a different level."
A few things here:
- Kell Brook is a bit unproven still, in my view. Black-and-white, Khan is right about that. But Brook is closer to Khan's level than Khan was to Mayweather's, and he thought that was a fight people were going to be excited about. (It was not, which is why he didn't get it.)
- That said, Amir didn't have a huge issue with fighting Carlos Molina and Julio Diaz, who were thought to be far below his level by everyone.
- Khan-Brook is the biggest money fight available for Amir right now, by far. But there's risk involved, and Khan knows that, no matter what he says. Furthermore, the fight won't make him a bigger star in the United States, which is where he wants to become a bigger star. Fighting Adrien Broner, Lamont Peterson, or Shawn Porter is also a risk, and for less money than he'll get to fight Brook. BUT, those are bigger fights in the U.S. -- not because Peterson or Porter are big names, necessarily, but they will be shown live in the States, and could land on the Mayweather-Maidana card, which may end up the biggest of the year, potentially. So there's a difference there. Those fights will be better promoted here than a UK fight with Brook would be.
Eventually, I suspect Khan-Brook will happen, or perhaps like a poor man's Hatton-Witter, it will never happen. But Khan's target is still the Mayweather fight. For now, he's using it as a prop-up thing, saying that being mentioned with Mayweather makes him more valuable, which is debatable, but hey, it was a lot of headlines.
One way or the other, Khan has to take a real risk in his next fight and show he deserves a Mayweather fight. He's learned once now that he can't just sit and wait for it and hope nobody else does something. Boxing careers go by pretty fast, especially the prime years to be in the huge fights, unless you're a super-duper-star type fighter, and all respect to what Khan has achieved and his talent level, but he's not that type of fighter. There's a good chance he'll only get the one mega-fight type event in his career, and this could be it.
So it comes down to this: fight Kell Brook for big money and take that risk, but likely not up your profile much with American fans and media, OR, take a fight with Porter/Peterson/Broner for less money (substantially less), but with the potential to up your profile and make up for that money hit with a Mayweather fight. It looks like he's taking the second option.