During the Wednesday Mayweather media luncheon in NYC, I tried to balance my understanding that it is ludicrous to simply perseverate on what comes next for Floyd, and short-change analysis of what he just did, and a reporters' instinct to mine for fresh intel.
So, I think I did that, and mixed judiciously my queries on the near past, the present, and the future. Regarding that future…I do wonder if I did get a hint (inadvertant, maybe?) about who Mayweather will fight next at the tail end of the luncheon, which was attended by Floyd, advisor Leonard Ellerbe, publicist Kelly Swanson and Showtime boxing boss Stephen Espinoza.
Floyd told the assembled that his brand is spreading, and that includes Mayweather branded clothing, and his boxing promotional squad. Espinoza took the baton, and said that there will be a major Mayweather push “in the UK” first, and then they'd be looking to create buzz and open wallets in other nations (like Dubai, Beijing, and Macau, Ellerbe said, interestingly referencing China aka Arum territory).
Hmm, the UK. Amir Khan territory.
And we are getting word that now Khan isn't as keen to fight Devon Alexander on Dec. 7 in Brooklyn as he seemed to be a month ago, and this leads us to wonder if there are parts of a puzzle coming together. You sensing maybe a Mayweather-Khan fight, at Wembley Stadium, perhaps, next May? I put forth my theory to Paul Malignaggi, the ex champ and concurrent Showtime analyst. During a Thursday media workout to hype the Monday Barclays Center theater card, topped by Sadam Ali, Malignaggi said he's heard on the grapevine that Khan is option one for Floyd's next extravaganza, in May 2014.
Is that a viable matchup, I asked. “Khan is popular enough,” he said. He agreed with me that Khan's iffy chin would make a “Can Floyd KO him?” subplot a major element of the packaging. “He does get hit with left hooks,” Malignaggi allowed, without capitulating to the “chinny” label. “Khan could touch Floyd but not if he's hesitent, and he's looked hesitent at times recently,” Malignaggi said. “That's not a hard fight to sell in England.” (Nor in Brooklyn, may I add, putting on my lobbyist hat lol.)
One man who doesn't agree is Kevin Cunningham, the trainer-manager for IBF welterweight champion Devon Alexander. An Alexander-Khan faceoff has been slated for Dec. 7 for months now, but terms haven't been reached. Cunningham told me Devon is training to fight on Dec. 7, and still preparing for Khan, but that easily could change in the blink of an eye. “It looks like maybe Khan is having cold feet, and is trying to get Mayweather next,” Cunningham said. “I think that fight is a tough sell, though, if Khan doesn't do something to earn the right to fight Floyd. I don't think it's that big in the UK, I don't think Amir has that kind of following. As a fan, I think the winner of an Alexander-Khan fight, that is a worthy and deserving challenge for Floyd.”
Cunningham cited Danny Garcia as somebody more worthy than Khan to snag that lotto ticket money versus Mayweather. “Garcia earned the right to a shot,” he said. “I mean, they going to match Floyd against L'il Wayne next, because he's so popular? They'll turn boxing into a popularity contest. You have to try and make the best fights. Khan getting Floyd would be a f—–g joke.”
The grapevine whispers that fellow lefty Zab Judah could slide into the Khan spot versus Alexander. Cunningham told me that hasn't been presented to him, but sounded amenable. “I don't know if it is the best style matchup,” he said. “But it could be a hell of a fight. Zab is always dangerous, with his speed and power. Devon has never ducked anybody. If Khan does duck Devon, Zab is something we'd need to talk about. It could be interesting. I think it would be a hot ticket in Brooklyn.”
Readers, help Team Mayweather, Team Showtime and Team Golden Boy with some free market research. Do you love, like or hate a Mayweather-Khan scrap? Do you think Khan rightly needs to fight an “eliminator” to truly earn a Floyd fight? Weigh in, in our Forum.
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