Amir Khan: Only a victory over Canelo Alvarez may alter Floyd Mayweather retirementWritten by Leroy Cleveland
Boxing is a lot like life... An opportunity can be like gold.
For years, welterweight star Amir Khan has been lobbying for a superfight showdown with Floyd Mayweather, the sport's highest earning athlete.
And now, Khan finally has an opportunity.
No, he's not fighting Floyd. In fact, Floyd retired last fall.
However, Amir Khan is facing an opponent who can thrust him in a position to possibly lure Mayweather out of retirement.
Boxing is a sport where an athlete, in some cases, can literally become a mainstream star overnight by defeating a popular opponent in a well-publicized, high stakes affair.
Middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez may already be the second top draw in boxing, next to Manny Pacquiao. Should Khan decisively conquer Canelo on May 2, the former would likely become boxing's new darling.
Not only would the controversial, highly-marketable Khan break into the the top 5, pound for pound, he'd invigorate and expand his massive fanbase, and would likely receive the spotlight than Floyd Mayweather has enjoyed for years.
How will Floyd feel when the spotlight shines on someone else?
At this moment, Floyd Mayweather, although retired, still garners more media attention than anyone else in boxing.
Retired or not, his ego is being fed on the regular and he's still the sport's alpha male.
But if boxing fans, within a year, were to crown a new prince in a weight class relatively close to Floyd's, he may return to the ring in an attempt to assert his superiority so long as he could receive a $40 million guarantee or more.
And only one fighter, sans Manny Pacquiao, has the immediate potential to chip away at Floyd's ego and help generate the kind of money to make Floyd think twice about retiring.
Amir Khan is already one of the most popular fighters in the world. As a matter of fact, his social media following suggests 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.
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.
Moreover, a win over Canelo would certainly enhance Khan's stock in the U.S. and skyrocket it in the U.K.
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.
Mayweather vs Canelo drew 22.1 million viewers in Mexico. Imagine the upside generated from Khan's native Pakistan, alone, a country with 62 million more residents?
Should Khan defeat Canelo, the ultimate questions for the parties involved would be:
1. How much revenue can be squeezed from Khan's international fanbase, including those in Muslim territories, many of which are trying to embrace boxing?
2. And how many Americans would be willing to pay to see Floyd again following the Mayweather vs Pacquiao fallout?
The path to Floyd Mayweather involves ego and money. If his ego is bruised by the crowning of a new prince and the public, not just fans, wants to see the great legend versus the great young lion, it may be enough to tempt Floyd back into the ring.
But his opponent would have to be a mainstream star a la Manny Pacquiao or close. Only a big star is capable of bruising Floyd's ego and generating the interest to produce the revenue he'll demand.
A strong win, not a lackluster decision verdict, over Canelo Alvarez in May would put Khan in an advantegous position.
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