Bunce on Boxing: Amir Khan joins long list seeking fight with Floyd Mayweather (and the money that comes with it)

British fighter among the top contenders to fight American

A search has started for somebody to be Floyd Mayweather’s dance partner next May and the list is growing by the hour as fighters line up to qualify for the second-highest single-event payday in sport. The highest, by the way, is whatever Mayweather receives.

Mayweather’s father, also called Floyd, wants his son to fight Bolton’s Amir Khan next, but that fight is dependent on Khan winning the IBF welterweight title when he meets Devon Alexander in New York in December. “Floyd also told me that he will fight me,” said Khan, who returned on Monday to Virgil Hunter’s gym in Oakland, California, after a four-month break.

Khan, like all of Mayweather’s opponents, will receive a huge purse for the fight and he knows it would vanish if he fails to beat Alexander, which is a fight I believe he starts as the underdog.

A contest for later next year, possibly in November if Mayweather commits again to two fights in one year, could be against double world light-welterweight champion Danny Garcia, who stopped Khan last year. Garcia had a sensational win on Saturday against Lucas Matthysse, a feared banger from Argentina, who back in May was, for a week or so, at the top of the list to be Mayweather’s next opponent. I believe that Matthysse was dropped because he was harder to market than Saul Alvarez – and also because he represented a much higher risk.

Garcia would have to move from the 140lb weight to the 147lb welterweight division and have one proper fight before securing some type of catch-weight payday with Mayweather. Incidentally, Mayweather claimed that he lost three pounds after the weigh-in for the Alvarez bout and woke up on Saturday morning weighing just 147lb. If Garcia was a bigger name he could demand that Mayweather drops to 144lb or 145lb for a fight, which would help him, but Mayweather has never been in the business of helping his opponents.

In the now infamous contest with Juan Manuel Marquez in 2009, Mayweather insisted the weight limit was set at 144lb, which was 9lb heavier than Marquez had ever weighed. However, on the day Mayweather casually arrived at the weigh-in 2lb over the limit, Marquez was two under. Mayweather simply paid a six-figure forfeit instead of skipping it off.

If Marquez, who was then and remains one of the world’s top five boxers, had more power he could have demanded the fight at 140lb. Last year Marquez viciously knocked out Mayweather’s nemesis Manny Pacquiao. Next month he fights for the welterweight title at 147lb and is still an outside bet for a rematch.

Marquez put on the weight for the same reason that the current IBF world light-heavyweight champion Bernard Hopkins has offered to drop 15lb in a year to fight Mayweather: money.

“It’s not about the weight, it’s about the skill,” insisted Hopkins, who in 2010 offered to gain 30lb and fight David Haye. “I know my body and I know that I can get from 175 to 160. It will be a chess-game shoot-out because I know that he will not want to let a 49- year-old go the distance.”

Hopkins has started the sell, Mayweather will look at all options and in the boxing business stranger and crazier fights have happened.

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