Amir Khan and Marcos Maidana are tipped to be leading the race to become Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s next opponents, according to Showtime Executive Vice President Stephen Espinoza, reports Gareth A. Davies of the Telegraph.
Espinoza claims Britain's Khan and Argentine Maidana are "under consideration" to meet Mayweather on May 3, but that a dream bout that all fans have been hoping for with Manny Pacquiao is less likely to happen:
Khan is definitely one of the leading contenders for the fight. I know Amir wants the fight. Floyd hasn’t made a decision. I expect an announcement by mid-January or the end of January.
It is still wide open. Floyd has not made a decision yet about who he is going to fight on May 3. Obviously, Marcos Maidana is making a late case and a strong argument for the fight, but Amir is definitely there in the conversation.
Mayweather recently launched an assault on Twitter, taking on Khan and Maidana through taunts, issuing photos of him knocking them out. The undefeated American fighter posted pictures of himself beating up the two fighters—as well as Pacquiao—all rumored to be his next possible opponents.
In September, Khan issued a Twitter plea to Mayweather in the hope of setting up a world title bout against the unbeaten superstar.
If Mayweather chooses Khan, he would be forced to deal with a style of boxing that would ultimately challenge him in a different way than most other rivals. Expert trainer James Gogue told FightSaga last year that Khan would give any opponent problems because of the way he fights:
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.
Meanwhile, Glenn McCrory of Sky Sports believes Khan could provide Mayweather with his toughest challenge yet.
Khan is the one man who could actually worry Mayweather because he's the one man who's faster than Mayweather.
Mayweather isn't the kind of hunt-you-down lethal finisher either, so Khan definitely has a chance. It's very hard to say he'd beat him, but he will give him problems because he's got speed.
But is Khan the money-maker that promoters will want to pair Mayweather with? Scott Gilfoid of Boxing News 24 believes that a Mayweather vs. Maidana bout would create more PPV buys because Khan "lacks the fan base in the U.S. to make a fight between him and Mayweather a big fight."
A bout with Maidana on the weekend of May 3, which is big in Mexico, would attract more PPV buys on the Cinco de Mayo holiday weekend. "That (Khan) fight is likely nowhere near as interesting for Mexican fans than a Mayweather-Maidana fight, even though Maidana is from Argentina rather than Mexico," he added.
Maidana surprised many with his unanimous decision over Adrien Broner in December. His hard-hitting approach would potentially cramp Mayweather for room, although the American has proven himself a master of countering such tactics.
In September, Mayweather defeated Saul Alvarez in a record-breaking pay-per-view fight in Las Vegas, whilst Khan last fought in April when he saw off Julio Diaz by unanimous decision in Sheffield.
With a decision on Mayweather's next opponent likely to be made in January, boxing fans will be hoping he picks the right opponent. A bout with Khan has been rumored for the best part of a year, and the Brit wants Mayweather, badly.
If the past is anything to go by, in 2010, Khan got an exciting decision win over Maidana, taking all of the big shots and flooring Maidana hard in the first round. What Khan would offer Mayweather is a different prospect altogether, a fight the fans on both sides of the pond want to see. Up to you now, Mr. Mayweather.