Amir Khan defeated Chris Algieri by unanimous decision over the weekend in a fight that showed all the reasons why he’s one of the worst possible choices for Floyd Mayweather’s next bout, assumed to be September 12 on Showtime pay-per-view. Should the bout be signed, as most boxing insiders seem to believe will happen, I will be less interested in a Mayweather fight than any other time over the course of his career, except for maybe his ridiculous pairing with Robert Guerrero in 2013.
There is nothing wrong with Khan as a fighter. He’s one of the better welterweights in the world today who Mayweather has not yet faced, and there is a lot to like about him inside the ring. His greatest attribute is his exceptional hand-speed. In fact, the 28-year-old just might possess the most blazingly fast hands in the sport today. That, or he is a close second to featherweight titlist Gary Russell Jr. for the honor. Either way, he’s The Flash and other fighters are mere mortals.
Regardless, there ends the list of things for which Khan could hope to rely on in a potential Mayweather fight. In boxing, good timing is paramount to speed, something Russell Jr. learned in his loss to Vasyl Lomachenko and something Khan would surely learn against Mayweather, too.
And Khan has already been taught that lesson at least twice before. He was knocked cold in 2008 by Breidis Prescott and again four years later against Danny Garcia. In both fights, as well as every other moment of trouble in his career, Khan has showed his fast hands are susceptible to an opponent’s good timing.
Yes, speed kills. But timing kills speed even better.
Mayweather has many great attributes and good timing might be No. 1 on the list. He is an incredible counterpuncher and might be the most relaxed athlete in the entire world within the confines of his sport. When a bell rings on fight night, Mayweather sits atop the throne of his kingdom. He is the best.
There is simply nothing in Khan’s history which suggests he could do anything against Mayweather but get walked down and countered into oblivion. Mayweather would either win a wide points decision or knock Khan out, the outcome largely depending on what kind of mood Mayweather was in that night. Moreover, Khan’s chin is suspect, and his power at welterweight is negligible.
Most importantly, though, Khan hasn’t accomplished anything good enough yet to warrant the fight. His best win as a professional prizefighter might be his unanimous decision win over Devon Alexander last year. Other than that, he’s mostly avoided other top level welterweights after marginal success at 140. Besides Algieri and Alexander, Khan’s other two victories at 147 came against Joel Diaz and Luis Collazo.
The hype train will come along soon and tell you Mayweather-Khan is the best fight Mayweather can make right now. Some will participate based on the notion that styles make fights. Notable boxing writers Lee Wylie and Cliff Rold are among those who believe Khan might give Mayweather a stern test.
But here’s something else to consider as we head toward September. A feather-fisted Algieri, who thus far in his career has plied his trade as a slick boxer, walked Khan down on Saturday night to the point of making Khan incredibly uncomfortable. Under new trainer John David Jackson for the very first time, Algieri’s counter right-hands landed flush on Khan’s chin enough, in at least my eyes, to expose Khan for what he is in regards to a potential Mayweather showdown: a fraud.
Why in the world would we want to see Mayweather face someone his previous opponent, Pacquiao, knocked to the canvas six times just one fight prior? It was so easy for Pacquiao to slap Algieri around the ring last year that the popular Filipino looked bored for most of the fight. And Mayweather shut Pacquiao down on May 2 as if the 35-year-old had not been considered one of the best offensive fighters in boxing over the course of his career.
Khan is simply no match for Mayweather. And while the cupboard might appear bare for the lineal champion at 147 and 154, a star as big as Mayweather should have no trouble finding a suitable replacement. The top two contenders he hasn’t yet faced at 147 are Timothy Bradley and Kell Brook. The former is at least more likely to give Mayweather problems than Khan, and the latter is at least dangerous enough to have been steadily avoided by the fellow Englishman to date. At 154, Mayweather could fight either Erislandy Lara or Demetrius Andrade. Both are naturally larger southpaws with longer reaches than Mayweather, something the latter has never faced in a prizefighting ring.
Finally, Mayweather has options at middleweight that would be better than Khan, too. A rematch with Miguel Cotto, who Mayweather defeated in 2012, would give him the chance to become lineal champion in three divisions simultaneously. It would also give Mayweather the opportunity to earn his fifth divisional lineal championship overall, something no other fighter has ever done before.
And if Mayweather really wanted to prove himself as “The Best Ever,” something he so often likes to proclaim, he could fight WBA titleholder Gennady Golovkin. Against Golovkin, Mayweather might actually find himself the underdog in a fight, something all fighters should be at least once or twice during their careers. After all, how great can someone really be if it never looked like they might lose?
Nonetheless, whoever Mayweather chooses for September, it absolutely shouldn’t be Khan. There are far better options for the world’s best pugilist as he winds down his impressive career. Yes, Mayweather deserves credit for finally facing Pacquiao and defeating him. Yes, Mayweather is the biggest star in the sport who fans will want to see fight no matter who he chooses. Yes, Mayweather has the wherewithal at this point to call his own shots.
But Mayweather-Khan isn’t nearly the best choice on the list of admittedly imperfect options for September. If anything, it’s the worst.