Amir Khan's Next Fight: 5 Potential Opponents
Amir Khan has not fought since April of last year when he won a too-close-for-comfort decision over Julio Diaz, having been knocked down in the fourth round.
The long delay has come first because of his annual break for Ramadan and second because he broke off negotiations with Devon Alexander for an intended December date when he was led to believe that he was next in line to fight Floyd Mayweather.
When Mayweather instead announced a bout with Marcos Maidana, Khan's critics argued that he got what he deserved for turning down a world-title shot, which is unfair because no boxer in the world would take on a risky fight with such a mammoth payday on the horizon.
Khan has lost out because of Maidana's surprise win over Adrien Broner and because of the shabby behaviour of Mayweather and his team.
The fight with Diaz was held at a catch-weight of 143 pounds as Khan looked to make the jump from light welterweight to Mayweather's welterweight division.
Khan told ESPN.com he feels stronger and has better punch resistance at the higher weight. Whilst that could have been marketing hoopla with an eye towards Mayweather, he is now expected to campaign at the higher weight.
In order of increasing likelihood, here are five potential opponents for the man who'd like you to call him "King Khan."
5. Kell Brook
Writing in his Daily Mail column, Kell Brook's promoter Eddie Hearn reiterates his $5 million offer for Khan to fight his man.
Right now, that is the biggest possible payday for Khan and probably the best option on a risk-reward basis as well, but Khan still doesn't seem interested.
Fighting Brook wont get me the Floyd fight.. Fighting Broner Guerrero Alexander Porter will #WorldLevel
— Amir Khan (@AmirKingKhan) February 28, 2014
Certainly, he is correct that beating Brook would do little for his standing in America, but it is perhaps surprising that Khan is still fixated on Mayweather, having been so embarrassingly and publicly given the run around. Once bitten, but still smitten.
A Mayweather fight might be worth $10 million to Khan, so the suggested $5 million for a much easier fight in Brook is a fantastic offer.
Khan may think that the Brook fight will always be there, but that just isn't true. Whilst Brook is undefeated, it is an intriguing fight between a Brit who has mixed in high company and one who aspires to do so.
But if say Brook fights Shawn Porter, for whom he is the next mandatory challenger, and loses, his stock would plummet—and with it the value of the Khan fight.
Right now this fight makes an awful lot of sense, hence Hearn's offer, and although it looks unlikely that Khan will take it on, he may well rue that decision in the years to come.
4. Lamont Peterson
Lamont Peterson defeated Khan on a split decision back in December 2011 before failing a drug test. Despite that, and despite losing to Lucas Matthysse last year, Peterson still holds the IBF light-welterweight title.
Khan is expected to compete at welterweight now, but were he to have a change of heart, Peterson would make the most sense at light welterweight.
The first fight between these two was close and a convincing win in a rematch would prove the fruits of Khan's work with new trainer Virgil Hunter.
Peterson's last fight, a win over Canadian hope Dierry Jean, was broadcast on Showtime in the US, so he has the sort of profile that Khan is looking for in an opponent.
Unlike Khan's other recent conqueror Danny Garcia, Peterson isn't much of a puncher, which makes him a much lower-risk opponent, especially given Khan's long layoff.
Khan has to ask himself if he really thinks he's better fighting at 147—where he will give up an element of the size and reach advantages he has enjoyed at 140.
In terms of the claims his punch resistance would improve at a higher weight, there was no sign of that at his career highest of 142 against Julio Diaz.
All in all, a Peterson fight is unlikely, but it would offer Khan his easiest route to a world title.
3. Adrien Broner
However, Floyd Mayweather has directly said that, were Khan to beat Broner, that would be enough to clinch a shot at the "money man."
... each other on my show and you win (which you won’t)... I'll fight you. pic.twitter.com/7sZIKYWq1D— Floyd Mayweather (@FloydMayweather) March 3, 2014
The biggest obstacle to this fight is that Broner, having jumped two weight classes before being found out by Maidana, may well drop down to light welterweight.
Mayweather's last undercard had a first-class support bout in Danny Garcia-Lucas Matthysse and if they are looking to stack the card, and frankly Maidana is so overmatched for the card to be good, then Khan-Broner would make a lot of sense.
Khan would likely be the favourite, and you do have to wonder if Broner's handlers would take such a risk when their guy is still hoping to be a major box office star in the future. A second defeat in a row could kill his credibility.
Even so, Khan and Broner are going at it on Twitter and if their growing personal animus means they both want the fight and are willing to come to an agreement about weight, there's no major external reason why it couldn't happen.
2. Luis Collazo
With all due respect to Luis Collazo, this is probably the least exciting match on the list. After losing a WBC welterweight fight with Andre Berto in 2009, Collazo pretty much disappeared from the boxing radar.
He scored a decent win over Alan Sanchez in September last year before agreeing to fight Victor Ortiz in January for a crossroads fight. To some extent, Collazo was seen as a respectable comeback opponent for Ortiz to beat and re-establish himself.
However, fighting at home in Brooklyn's Barclays Center, Collazo ripped up the script by stopping Ortiz in the second round and propelled himself back into relevancy.
Collazo looked fantastic against Ortiz, but you have to question if Ortiz really wanted to be there and whether he still has the desire to stay in pro boxing.
Because of the question marks over Ortiz, it is hard to judge just how good Collazo is at the age of 32, but he certainly has currency in the welterweight division at the moment.
Khan still has not fought at the welterweight limit and Collazo would be an easier bridge fight than a title-holder or a top-10 guy at the weight.
There has been no word from Khan that he particularly wants Collazo, but they are both Golden Boy fighters, so it would be an easy fight to make.
Although Khan has an ambitious streak and might want a bigger opponent, more cautious observers might be able to counsel him towards a pragmatic choice in Collazo.
1. Robert Guerrero
Robert Guerrero has been out of the ring for nearly as long as Khan—he hasn't fought since getting outclassed by Floyd Mayweather in May of last year.
Guerrero has been where Khan wants to be and if Khan could replicate Mayweather's performance, 117-111 on all three cards, that would give him credibility in challenging the pound-for-pound king.
A fight between these two has already been dubbed "The Holy War" because of Guerrero's in-your-face Christianity. Unfortunately, for all the pre-fight bluster, no available deity deigned to intervene on his behalf against Mayweather.
Khan against Guerrero would be an enticing bout because they are both high-volume, high-energy guys and it would make for a good Showtime headliner.
In terms of matchmaking, the desire would normally be to keep Khan away from big punchers because of the vulnerability he has consistently shown.
Guerrero has never stopped anyone at light welterweight or welterweight and although he isn't feather-fisted, he hasn't got the one-punch KO power that Khan must be wary of facing.
Given the power Collazo showed in icing Ortiz and that Guerrero is a bigger name and higher ranked, it looks like something of a no-brainer that Guerrero would be the better choice.
The biggest stumbling block to this fight is that Guerrero has looked to break away from Golden Boy, but nothing has come of it, and he is still expected to return under that promotional banner.
Given that Khan has recently looked nailed-on to fight Devon Alexander and then Floyd Mayweather, it would be foolish to predict with high confidence who he will face next, but right now Guerrero does seem to be the front-runner.