Floyd Mayweather vs Andre Berto: Why Amir Khan got the shaft... againWritten by Leroy Cleveland
Floyd Mayweather vs Amir Khan, a fight that's been bantered since 2011, will likely not happen.
For a substansial part of the last four years, the British boxing sensation was the presumed front-runner to face the great 'Money May.'
But Floyd Mayweather, fresh off winning the biggest fight of his career and one of the most significant in the entire history of the sport, announced he'll face lightly-regarded Andre Berto next in what may be the final bout of his illustrious career.
Mayweather vs Berto will take place September 12 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
"I'm disappointed not to have got the fight for what is the third time after having been one of the front-runners," Khan told Yahoo!.
"However, there are many big fights out there for me and I'm going to continue working hard to establish myself at the top of the welterweight division."
So what happened? Why didn't Amir Khan, a popular welterweight who has has reeled off three consecutive wins over quality opponents, finally get nod to face Floyd?
And did Team Mayweather ever intend to face Khan in the first place?
Answer: Only if public demand for Mayweather vs Khan reached or exceeded Mayweather vs Canelo Alvarez levels.
Sometimes life's answers are determined by timing and Khan's losses in 2011 and 2012 combined with the emergence of Canelo Alvarez, Marcos Maidana and, of course, the successful delivery of the long-awaited Mayweather vs Manny Pacquiao fight certainly contributed to the demise of Mayweather vs Khan.
After Floyd Mayweather defeated Canelo Alvarez in September, Khan was a presumed shoe-in to get the fight but the public vehemently expressed its disinterest in that bout as Amir's stock was low. Team Khan knew their fighter's reputation needed resuscitation and the Brit subsequently rose to the occasion by collecting wins against the likes of Luis Collazo, Devon Alexander and Chris Algieri but his efforts were presumably too little, too late.
Due to Amir's revived status, Mayweather vs Khan is probably one of the biggest in boxing, and certainly more lucrative than Mayweather vs Berto.
However, the presumed purse sums for that contest are no longer high enough to lure an ultra rich 38 year old fight legend who has just pocketed $300 million and wants out of boxing.
While Floyd could possibly garner a considerably larger purse for fighting Khan, why should he take the added risk? He wants to preserved his perfect record. And at this point, keeping that '0' means more to Floyd than a scant extra $20 million.
So Team Mayweather was wise to sidestep Khan because Amir may have been too much risk for the reward.
Styles make fights and Khan, with his size, speed and athleticism may have been as a great a threat to Floyd as Canelo Alvarez and Manny Pacquiao.
"Stylistically, Amir Khan will give everybody problems because of the way he fights," genius fight trainer James Gogue told FightSaga in 2013.
"He moves a lot and he has a fast, explosive jab that in my opinion is one of the best in boxing. He also throws a very high volume of punches with speed and in combination."
"Amir Khan is a very tough opponent, style-wise, for Mayweather because Floyd would be forced to change his personality in the ring."
"Amir Khan is a crafty fighter. He is very proficient with guerrilla warfare in the ring; he likes to 'hit and run', 'hit and run'. When an opponent gets in close, Amir will tie them up, push them off, and commence to hitting and running again. He's very hard to handle for anyone who isn't used to cutting off the ring effectively."
So it makes sense.
There's no heavy public demand for Floyd to face Khan. And Mayweather, at this stage of his career and certainly after the Pacquiao fight, has no real incentive to accept a risky fight for less than $100 million.
Team Mayweather's selection of Berto may not have been popular with fans but makes business sense.