Amir Khan has eagerly awaited an opportunity to take his career to the next level. Like most boxers on the rise, he's wanted a chance to take on the biggest names in the sport, an effort that was briefly derailed by a pair of losses. Now, he's back in the spotlight.
Yahoo! Sports' Kevin Iole had the judges' decision:
Judges have it 117-106, 119-104 twice for Khan I had 117-106— Kevin Iole (@KevinI) May 4, 2014
As always, now that another fight is in the books the focus will quickly shift to what comes next for the 27-year-old British star. Let's check out three fighters who would serve as the best potential opponents for Khan when he returns to the ring.
Manny Pacquiao went through a dry spell when he suffered back-to-back losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez. He's bounced back strong with a pair of victories—highlighted by avenging the controversial Bradley loss with a convincing win—to re-establish himself as one of the best in the world.
Niall Hickman of the Daily Express reports Khan was previously set against fighting Pacquiao due to their close friendship. He's since changed his stance on the subject, however, and is keeping all of his options open moving forward:
You never say never in boxing. There was a time when I said a fight between me and Manny wouldn't happen because we trained in the same gym under the same coach, but that was then and this is now.
Would I fight Manny? Of course I would. If it was the right offer and the right place, yes, I think that could happen. You always have to keep an open mind about these things.
This would be a good fight for Khan because Pacquiao hasn't showcased the same type of finishing ability in recent fights as he did during his prime. Two of the Bolton native's three losses have come by way of knockout. If he can take that out of the equation, his chances of pulling off the upset increase.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Khan against Floyd Mayweather Jr. is a bout that's been bantered about in the rumor mill for quite some time. Perhaps finally it will come to fruition seeing as the fighters were on the same card, giving the two camps a good look at each other before deciding what path to take next.
For what it's worth, before the fight, Jeff Powell of the Daily Mail noted a strong performance against Luis Collazo was expected to get Khan a shot at Mayweather. Whether that outlook will remain in place once the dust settles in the coming days is unknown:
"Richard Schaefer, the boss of Mayweather's promotional partners, replied with one unequivocal word when asked if a razzle-dazzle victory over Luis Collazo on Saturday night will guarantee Khan his longed-for fight with the greatest pound-for-pound boxer in the world: 'Yes.'"
Mayweather and his camp are notoriously picky when it comes to finding the perfect opponent. Khan has the name recognition necessary to create plenty of hype if the two fought, but only time will tell if that's enough to get a deal done between the sides.
If Khan is unable to secure a deal with either Pacquiao or Mayweather, which are far and away the two best potential foes from his perspective, Robert Guerrero is the best remaining option. He hasn't fought since a loss by unanimous decision to Mayweather last May.
Who will Khan fight next?
The biggest key for Khan if he's unable to land a top-tier fight is landing a second-tier bout against a well-known opponent. Opponents like Collazo and Julio Diaz don't do much on a mainstream level, something that's important to promoters when it comes to scheduling those bigger bouts.
Guerrero certainly fits the category. Furthermore, it would likely be a highly entertaining encounter since neither fighter would shy away from a brawl.
If Khan goes this route and wins, it should then set him up to face "Pacman" or "Money." In that way, he can use a potential bout with Guerrero to achieve his ultimate goal when it comes facing top names in the sport.