The Pugilist

King Khan must earn his way to Money-Mayville

The Pugilist

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Periodically, in life, good fortune comes upon those who may not be deserving – hence the popular phraseology “better to be lucky than good.”

Bolton’s Amir Khan (28-3) seemed en route to benefitting from such circumstances when, for months, all signs pointed to Floyd Mayweather (45-0) selecting the Brit as his next opponent.

In spite of the fact that Khan’s last meaningful ring success came in 2011, boxing’s mounting political gridlock left Mayweather with few options for his scheduled May fight date.

Not only is Floyd Mayweather the sport’s top attraction, he is the highest paid athlete in the world and those fortunate enough to score a date with him land their biggest career payday.

With all of that understood, it is hard to fault Khan for foregoing a title shot against Devon Alexander in favour of the lucrative opportunity which appeared within reach.

Needless to say, boxing has hardly been a meritocracy in recent years and, historically, Mayweather’s match-making has been no exception. The list of unworthy Floyd foes is lengthy, so the choice of Khan would have kept with the trend.

However, and to the dismay of the former light welterweight champion, a funny thing happened on the merry route to Money-Mayville.

Just as a deal with Khan seemed imminent, Mayweather’s camp was given food for thought by Marcos Maidana’s upset of Adrien Broner in December.

Broner was a rising star and a potential cash cow for his promoter, Golden Boy. His ascent was meant to continue and he was not supposed to lose.

The unexpected outcome, obviously, would have ripple effects beyond the setback to Broner’s career: Maidana was now a marketable, heavy hitting welterweight titleist and was in line for a significant fight. He was also on schedule for a spring appearance.

Understandably disappointed at being jilted by boxing’s pound-for-pound monarch, Khan reverted to the same “woe is me” tact that, to many, has defined his persona outside of the ring.

The reaction of Khan was not unlike his past knee-jerk demonstrations of entitlement and blame gaming, either.

In 2011, when he decided to fight Lamont Peterson on the opponent’s home turf, he was surprised that a close decision went against him.

In 2012, when Danny Garcia belted him with a clean left hook, Khan saw fit to fire Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach. The very man who had resurrected Khan’s promising career after a knockout loss to Breidis Prescott in 2008, was suddenly to blame for Khan’s latest failure.

In February, when Mayweather announced that he would face Maidana, Khan found himself in familiar territory having failed in some way and soon enough, the finger of blame was pointing somewhere other than at the man in the mirror.

Did Mayweather string Khan along? Did he lead him to believe that the sport’s grandest stage awaited him? Yes and yes.

Did Khan deserve the fight and did Mayweather owe him anything? No and no.

A Mayweather/Khan bout would have been nothing more than a symbol of all that is wrong with the sport of boxing.

Many more deserving fighters are automatically disqualified from the Floyd sweepstakes for reasons that have nothing to do with skill and accomplishment. A dose of perspective would help Khan understand that he is fortunate to be in the running, given his recent track record.

After losing title fights against Peterson and Garcia, Amir has rebounded, though unspectacularly, with wins against two less than stellar opponents.

Fortunately for Khan, his promoter has been in the habit of organising star-studded pay-per-view undercards and the May 3rd show will be no exception. Credit Khan for finally accepting his recent fate and for agreeing to fight Luis Collazo, whom, while rugged, is the perfect stepping stone to Amir’s ambitions.

Collazo’s stock has risen, and one could argue, is inflated on the heels of his January knockout of the severely faded Victor Ortiz (a former benefactor of Mayweather’s incredible pulling power).

Stylistically, Collazo would seem to be low hanging fruit if Khan demonstrates the same speed-based offensive skill that we have seen from him in the past.

Floyd Mayweather has had a propensity for lining up future opponents by putting them on his undercard -and Amir will have every opportunity to look spectacular in front of millions of viewers worldwide.

The opportunity is clear and present for the uber-talented Khan, who must seize the day in what may be his final opportunity at establishing himself as a premier fighter.

Michael Nashed | BoxRec News

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