Floyd Mayweather vs Amir Khan: Is it the biggest fight in boxing?Written by Leroy Cleveland
The May 2nd super showdown between Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao couldn't possibly live up to all of the hype and was a disappointment for fans who expected to see a highly offensive, action-packed battle of attrition.
As a result, both fighters' stock has dipped.
Despite being the victor, Floyd's stock depreciates due the perceived entertainment value, or lack thereof, and Manny's presumably compromised shoulder.
Had Amir Khan, Floyd's presumptive next opponent, delivered a blistering performance against Chris Algieri on Friday, the win may been enough to get fans excited about the prospects for Mayweather vs Khan. After all, Amir, with his size, speed and footwork, seemingly matches up well with Floyd.
Unlike Mayweather vs Pacquiao, Khan vs Algieri managed to surpass expectations but, despite looking wonderful at times, Khan was far from dominant in victory so his stock is virtually unchanged.
So, now what?
Is Mayweather vs Khan still highly marketable?
The answer is: Yes
Amir Khan is one of the most popular fighters in the world. As a matter of fact, social media suggests Amir Khan, not Gennady Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez, may have the greatest potential to become boxing's biggest star in the post Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao era.
If Facebook and Twitter followings are any indication of an athlete or entertainer's fanbase, Amir Khan is the third most popular active boxer on earth, behind Floyd and Manny of course.
(as of May 29, 2015)
- Floyd Mayweather - 11 mil
- Manny Pacquiao 9.2 mil
- Amir Khan - 2.9 mil
- Klitschko Bros. - 1.7 mil
- Canelo Alvarez - 1.2 mil (two pages)
- Gennady Golovkin - 101,500
(as of May 29, 2015)
- Floyd Mayweather - 6.2 mil
- Manny Pacquiao 2.5 mil
- Amir Khan - 1.6 mil
- Canelo Alvarez - 515,000
- Klitschko Bros. - 199,000
- Gennady Golovkin - 106,000
Sans the sport's obvious two big guns, Amir Khan has, far and away, the largest followings on Facebook and Twitter. And while Khan is not immensely popular in the States and his reputation may have diminished a bit in his native United Kingdom, Amir Khan is very well-liked in Pakistan, United Arab Emirates and other areas in that part of the world.
A devout Muslim and European of Pakistani descent, the charismatic Khan has the potential to pique the interest of hundreds of millions Muslims worldwide and would likely generate more buzz, internationally, than did Canelo Alvarez for his (then) record-breaking showdown with Mayweather in September 2014.
But Khan's non-British fans didn't show tremendous interest in Amir's previous fights, right?
Many of Khan's supporters are probably not hardcore fight fans and wouldn't pay to see their man face opponents such as Devon Alexander or Chris Algieri on smaller platforms. However, if Khan is slated to share the biggest stage of boxing with the sport's top star, expect a very high level of interest among his fans, escpecially those in the Muslim community, many of whom may not typically watch nor have a strong interest in boxing.
But what If PPV sales in the U.S. tank?
Mayweather vs Khan in September, at best, probably generates 800K buys and would likely serve as Floyd's lowest PPV buyrate in eight years. But Wladimir Klitschko is proof, however, fight cards can generate tremendous sums of revenue with minimal, if any, American or PPV influence.
What many are failing to take into account is revenue from foreign (or non-American and British) networks who will pay mind-blowing sums for the rights to broadcast Mayweather vs Khan on their airwaves.
Mayweather vs Canelo drew 22.1 million viewers in Mexico. Imagine the upside generated from Pakistan, alone, a country with 62 million more residents?
In the end, the ultimate question for the parties involved, especially Showtime/ CBS, is: How much revenue can be squeezed from Khan's massive - and growing - fan base?
Hardcore fight fans may not like the prospect of Mayweather vs Khan and would probably favor a Pacquiao rematch or a Floyd vs Golovkin superfight instead. However, Mayweather and Showtime execs may opt to follow the money.
Mayweather vs Khan probably isn't as big a Floyd vs Manny 2 but might be slightly bigger, revenue-wise, than Canelo Alvarez vs Miguel Cotto.