It's the fight people want to see, but according to the boxing odds, Amir Khan is already losing steam in his potential welterweight matchup with Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Floyd Mayweather, Jr. admits that he's prone to changing his mind. But this whole “will he-won't he” about a rematch with Manny Pacquiao is just getting silly. Last week, Mayweather texted ESPN's Stephen A. Smith that he'd be willing to have the rematch after Pacquiao recovers from shoulder surgery. But in an interview with Jim Gray, Mayweather said there would be no rematch, calling Pacquiao a “sore loser” and a “coward.”
Good times. So who will Mayweather end up fighting next? We looked at some of his potential opponents last week, but as we go to press, early boxing odds have only been posted for one matchup: Mayweather vs. Amir Khan, the two-time former light welterweight champion. And Khan has already slipped from 21-10 to 9-4 at William Hill. Is there any hope that Khan can stop Mayweather's reign of terror?
I Will Grapple With Thee
It's already considered a long shot that Khan (30-3, 19 KOs) will get the chance. But let's put that aside for the moment; who knows what Mayweather has up his sleeve anyway. Khan's boxing odds are only a bit longer than the +185 price tag on Pacquiao for the Fight of the Century. Generous? Perhaps. Khan is English, after all, and the books across the pond are already taking in some cash from local punters adding Khan to their boxing picks. Even so, the majority of the action has been on Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) at 1-3.
Can't argue with that. Injured shoulder or no, Pacquiao wasn't able to get through Mayweather's legendary defense on May 2. Referee Kenny Bayless didn't do Pac-Man any favors by allowing Mayweather to push his smaller opponent while in the clinch. Khan might be a little more difficult to push around – he's eight years younger than Pacquiao at 28, and three inches taller at 5-foot-8 1/2. But to put Khan in the same league as Pacquiao is a bit of a stretch.
We've already seen Khan put himself in some difficult spots on his road to boxing glory. His first loss was in 2008 against Breidis Prescott, a 33-1 long shot who swarmed Khan from the opening bell and scored the knockout after just 54 seconds. Khan recovered and won his next eight fights, but lost to Lamont Peterson (10-1) in 2011 via split decision, after Khan was twice deducted a point for pushing. The decision was a farce on so many levels; if you didn't get the chance the first time, watch it again on the YouTubes.
Khan was given back one of his World title belts afterward, but he quickly dropped it to Danny García (+440) in his next fight, getting caught by a Garcia counter in the third and losing via TKO in the fourth. Now Khan is on another four-fight winning streak, picking up some minor belts along the way, but there isn't quite the same buzz around him as there was before the Peterson debacle.
No Laughing Matter
Despite these setbacks, at least one expert thinks Khan might have what it takes to beat Mayweather. Ricky Hatton told Sky Sports before the Fight of the Century that Khan is a better, more disciplined boxer now. “He's in and out and he's not getting involved,” Hatton said. “I think that type of style will cause Floyd massive problems.”
At the same time, Hatton admitted that people laugh at him when he says that Khan can win. We're not going to laugh at the former light welterweight and welterweight champion. But if Pacquiao's hand speed wasn't enough to get through Mayweather's defense, we don't see Khan having much of a chance – especially if they fight at the MGM Grand, in Mayweather's kitchen. Home cooking has been good to The Champ.