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Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Amir Khan: Business is Boxing

floyd800By Robbie Bannatyne: To many it is common knowledge that Boxing is a Business first. Sport second. And the growing talk that Amir Khan will be Floyd Mayweather Jr’s next opponent proves this conviction to be unequivocally one of truth.

Boxing is a harsh and unforgiving environment. A landscape where one can toil for a long time yet rarely reap what one sow’s. Unless of course, their face ‘fits’ into the financial picture of the promoters and television networks, whose rapacious pursuit of wealth renders such qualities as merit and virtue a redundant currency in the sport.

For if boxing was a meritocracy then Amir Khan wouldn’t even be on the shortlist of potential opponents who deserve a shot at Mayweather. As it happens, it seems he is a shoo-in for one of the four remaining golden tickets left to face Floyd Mayweather Jr. 

In his two comeback performances since being ruthlessly exposed by Danny Garcia- a far more deserving candidate for a crack at Mayweather’s crown- he has looked far from convincing against handpicked, low risk opponents- a past his prime Julio Diaz and a distinctly average Carlos Molina. Not exactly the form which warrants a fight against the great Floyd Mayweather for a legitimate Welterweight title, is it? He’s never even fought at 147lb for goodness sake.

But the power is in the eye of the beholder, and it appears Floyd’s fascination with fighting in Great Britain allied to the vast financial rewards the fight would yield, will be forces powerful enough to ensure that Khans current form and record are entirely irrelevant in any debate about the merits of such a match up.

The figures involved alone are justification enough to make sure Golden Boy Promotions and Mayweather promotions, aided and abetted by Showtime, obviously, will fight tooth and nail to make sure their plans come to fruition.

And in spite of their being a vast array of fighters more deserving of the chance to challenge Mayweather’s supremacy I think Khan is as well placed as any to make it an entertaining fight. He won’t win, of course- but then nor would any other potential opponents. I mean, he cannot even be caught with a clean punch, far less be knocked out or outpointed over the course of a 12 round Prizefight.

But the great paradox about Khan is: it is the negative elements of his game as much as the positives that make him such a viable preposition for Mayweather. His obvious defensive frailties and questionable ability to absorb punishment lead to crowd pleasing knockdowns and knockouts. And for all Mayweather’s obvious greatness, those aforementioned features of an Amir Khan contest have not exactly been a staple of Floyd Mayweather fights in recent years. This could all change if Mayweather were to fight Khan though: his perfectly timed counter punches could definitely put the lights out on the Bolton mans big night.

In contrast, Khans suspect chin could maybe survive with Mayweather as he rarely ever goes for the knockout. Instead he relies on his master defense to prevent his opponent scoring whilst his superior timing and accuracy make sure his punches equate to points on the judge’s score cards.

Whilst Mayweather’s punch output is extremely effective, it is also pretty economical and thus in order for his prizefights to be pleasing on the eye his opponent must be prepared to throw a lot of punches.

History tells us that Amir Khan never has a problem letting his hands go.

It must also be admitted that the former unified Light-Welterweight Champion does compare favorably in some areas to other possible Mayweather opponents, namely in the speed and combination punching departments.

For all his weaknesses, Amir Khan is undoubtedly an accomplished boxer who is more than capable of ringing off slick, lightening fast ‘punches in bunches’ combinations of decent power. Whether they would have any effect on Mayweather is certainly up for debate, but they would at least add some entertainment to the fight.

As soon as boxing fans come to terms with the fact that the idea of Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs Amir Khan was conceived largely out of monetary merit rather than sporting logic, the sooner we will be able to accept that it could be an entertaining and intriguing spectacle.

I for one will continue to endure the pain the business side of boxing brings for the pure pleasure I get from the sporting aspect of the sweet science.

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