British boxing promoter Eddie Hearn has criticised Floyd Mayweather Jr. ahead of the American's fight on Saturday with Marcos Maidana, claiming he should be taking on a more challenging opponent.
Hearn does not believe a man like Maidana is who the public want Mayweather to fight and says there is very little interest ahead of the upcoming bout.
Mayweather will look to extend his undefeated professional boxing record to 46 fights when he takes on the Argentine fighter, who is a massive underdog.
But Hearn is of the opinion that the public are bored of the 37-year-old taking on sub-par opponents and, writing in the Daily Mail, outlines a desire for him to face Manny Pacquiao:
When the big fights don’t happen the public lose faith. That is happening with Floyd Mayweather.
He is the king of the ring and the king of making money. But fight week seems particularly flat and I’m hearing from my people in America that there is not the buzz or even much interest in his fight with Marcos Maidana. [...]
Mayweather will continue to make huge money, but the only fight people want to see Mayweather take is Pacquiao.
Hearn most definitely has a point and his thoughts have been echoed by many since Pacquiao again became a legitimate opponent when he beat Tim Bradley earlier this month, per BBC Sport.
The Filipino's victory via a unanimous decision in Las Vegas got tongues wagging once again about the possibility of a mega fight between the two men who have defined the sport for a generation.
Sports columnist Mitch Kunzler reported at the time that Pacquaio would be open to the prospect of taking on the American, putting the ball firmly in Mayweather's court:
Manny Pacquiao when asked about the possibility of fighting Floyd Mayweather Jr: "The line is open 24 hours, 7 days a week."— Mitch Kunzler (@MitchKunzler) April 13, 2014
Meanwhile, former heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis expressed his desire to see the fight, suggesting the pair could bow out of the sport together:
Amir Khan fights Luis Collazo on the Mayweather-Maidana undercard on Saturday and will be desperate for a win which could set him up his own fight with "Money."
The 27-year-old Bolton fighter's last outing was a tough victory over Mexico's Julio Diaz in April of 2013, per BBC Sport.
He recently boosted his chances of a future date with Mayweather when he signed up with the American's long-term adviser Al Haymon, per James Robson of the Manchester Evening News:
amir khan signs with influential boxing advisor Al Haymon. could this push mayweather fight closer? #boxing— James Robson (@JamesRobsonMEN) April 15, 2014
But a defeat to Collazo would be a disaster for Khan, and Hearn sees that outcome as a strong possibility, especially as the Olympic silver medallist has been out of action for so long:
I worry about Khan here. I always worry about him at elite level and this fight especially.
Collazo is not the greatest in this division, but he is long in the tooth, a southpaw, dangerous and active. [...]
I can’t see how you go into a fight like this after such an absence. It’s a massive risk.
Another Englishman looking ahead to a massive fight is Kell Brook who should soon get the chance to take on Shawn Porter for his IBF world welterweight title.
Porter must take on Brook before July 19 or vacate the belt and Hearn outlined his desire to bring the fight to the UK:
I have already spoken to Richard Schaefer this week, the CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, who look after Porter, and I have told him that I want to bring this fight to the UK. All being well, my offer would be to stage the fight in Sheffield, possibly on July 12. [...]
I would love nothing more than for Kell to get this fight. He has had so many moments when for one reason or another his title shot has been cancelled. This will be his big fight and he will finally get the world title he has deserved for so long.
Both fighters are undefeated in their professional careers, though Porter has one draw against Julio Diaz in 2012.
Brook's most recent win came against Mexican Alvaro Robles in March in Liverpool with the 27-year-old claiming victory in the eighth round, per Sky Sports.
Talks of a potential Pacquiao-Mayweather fight will not go away after the Maidana challenge this weekend, but in all likelihood it will be Khan who faces the American before the Filipino ever does.
In terms of British boxing, it is a huge weekend, and Khan's fight will be a fascinating encounter against a man who ran Ricky Hatton very close back in 2006.
No matter what happens, Brook should get his chance on the big stage and British boxing fans will hope for a home bout for the Sheffield fighter.