The greatest beneficiary from Floyd Mayweather’s domination of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez may prove to be Amir Khan, after the head of Showtime Sports confessed the Brit has the style needed to trouble the world’s best boxer.
Stephen Espinoza knows the danger of Mayweather’s sheer genius, which is that boxing fans give up hope that anybody can beat the American—now undefeated in 45 professional fights.
However, in Khan he sees a man who—while flawed in his defence—is lightning fast in attack. Gareth A Davies of the Daily Telegraph provides the quotes:
Amir Khan is a very interesting opponent [for Floyd Mayweather] because of his speed. It might be possible to do it in the UK, or in New York. Floyd has spoken about the possibility of doing it in both those places. [...]
What we saw against Saul Alvarez is that strength alone is not going to do it against Floyd Mayweather, so when you talk about hand speed and foot speed, then you start talking about two guys—Amir Khan and Adrien Broner. And whether or not Amir Khan lost to Danny Garcia or not, Amir Khan is one of the fastest fighters out there in the world.
The argument can no longer stand that Mayweather’s kryptonite is a big puncher. Alvarez entered the ring last weekend with 30 knockout victims on his record and a tally of 42 victories.
A world light middleweight champion, Alvarez was naturally the heavier man and weighed an extra 15 pounds compared to Mayweather when the pair stepped into the ring, per Dan Rafael of ESPN.
So power is not the way forward—not if it lacks the necessary speed and guile to find Mayweather in the first place.
The five-division world champion needs to be matched at his greatest strength, which is his agility, his swiftness of thought and movement.
Khan has those weapons.
He may not have Mayweather’s chin, nor his ring intelligence, and he certainly doesn’t have his defensive mastery. But Khan has rapid hands and a high-volume attack, which is enough to at least test the 36-year-old’s rising years.
First, Khan must beat Devon Alexander in his own world-title bout this December. After which, calls for a clash with Mayweather will become extremely loud—deserved or otherwise.
If the American’s weakness is not a power puncher, Khan’s most definitely is. Danny Garcia proved as much three fights ago. However, Mayweather’s shots are spiteful rather than thunderous.
Khan wants to align himself with the ways of world-class coach Virgil Hunter, who has warned him to live and breathe boxing. The Brit says he is getting bigger, stronger and developing better punch resistance, per Jeff Powell of the Daily Mail:
I looked at my body in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw. I looked weak. It had a lot to do with me killing myself to make weight at light-welter but also with my diet regime...
It was weakening me. I need to build up my size and strength, not water down.
I’ve been getting bigger and more muscular and feel much better. I used to be able to squeeze into trousers with a 30" waist. Now I need 32-inchers and some of my favourite skinny jeans have had to go.
To fight Mayweather, it is likely the notoriously naive Khan would need to spend months in a classroom to learn the art of patience, defence and cunning. Too often, he has allowed himself to become embroiled in dangerous wars, like against Lamont Peterson and Marcos Maidana.
Even then, it might not be enough to defeat the biggest box-office attraction in boxing, but at least Khan might pose Mayweather a new question.