Floyd Mayweather: Is Amir Khan Targeting Black American Fighters?
Floyd Mayweather (42-0, 26 KO) is arguably the best fighter in the world pound for pound and undoubtedly the best American fighter active today. The 24-year-old Amir Khan (26-1, 18 KO) wants his title.
Khan wants his status, his accolades and everything that comes with being the best so he targets the best: Mayweather. He also appears to be targeting fighters with a similar style.
Bernard Hopkins (52-6-2, 32 KO) is a legendary fighter and partner at Golden Boy which promotes Khan. He set a fire last year with comments on Manny Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KO) not fighting black fighters.
Hopkins described the Black American fighting style as that of the "Ray Leonards." If Sugar Ray Leonard is to be examined as the archetype for this kind of fighter, Floyd Mayweather could be a successor.
Fighters like Zab Judah (41-7, 28 KO) and Lamont Peterson (29-1-1, 15 KO) are students of the school of Ray Leonard. Judah was knocked out by Khan this past July. Peterson will face Khan this Saturday.
It's possible Khan is perhaps influenced by Hopkins or understands that Hopkins was merely pointing out a particular style that could give Pacquiao trouble.
Then maybe Khan is targeting lesser fighters of that style in order to be properly prepared for the current master of that style, Mayweather.
Why Amir Khan Is Targeting Black American Fighters
Amir Khan wants to be the best like any other young fighter. The saying goes that in order to be the best, you have to beat the best.
The two best fighters in boxing right now are Mayweather and Pacquiao. Pacquiao just so happens to be Khan's close friend, sparring partner and a fellow pupil of Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach.
The only option left is Mayweather, who just so happens to work well with Golden Boy. To get to Mayweather, Khan has to prove to viewers that he can pose a challenge to the undefeated great.
With that challenge posed, Mayweather could invest the time and effort in promoting a fight between the two because the buying public would be intrigued by the challenge.
One way to get the buying public to want him to face Mayweather is to continually beat the best Black American fighters. The Black American style relies on speed, evasiveness and counter-punching.
Sure, defeating Argentine heavy-hitter Marcos Maidana (31-2, 28 KO) is an impressive win for Khan's overall boxing resume, but his style doesn't have anything to do with Mayweather's.
No one was convinced Khan could even hang with Mayweather until he faced Judah. Knocking out Judah in Round 5 helped manifest the idea that one day he could be a challenge to Mayweather.
Judah vs. Khan was supposed to be competitive with Judah being a very live underdog. Khan dominated the fight for the short five rounds it went.
When Judah faced Mayweather five years prior, Judah gave Mayweather some trouble before ultimately being conquered en route to a unanimous decision loss to Mayweather.
Now Khan faces a younger and more resilient slick Black American fighter in Peterson this Saturday. With a dominant win over Peterson, the calls for Khan vs. Mayweather will only get louder.
Lamont Peterson is a good fighter, but what makes him better than Judah? Well he's five years younger. Judah was 33 and past his prime according to many experts when Khan faced him.
Peterson's 27 and in his physical prime. Peterson is fast with good reflexes and the ability to adjust on the fly, but he doesn't come with Judah's crowd-jolting power.
If an opportunity presents itself like his last fight, Peterson can get the job done, but Khan will be careful. Khan says this will be his last fight at junior welterweight (140 lbs) unless he lands the right fight.
Timothy Bradley (28-0, 12 KO) is the right fight Khan will stay at 140 for. Bradley's an undefeated black junior welterweight champ with credentials and skills for days and the only man to defeat Peterson so far.
Khan originally wanted to face Bradley in July instead of Judah, but Bradley turned that fight down to deal with problems with his promoter. Now Bradley is signed to Top Rank and is back in action.
Bradley is the ultimate test before a Mayweather fight. Bradley's 28, quick and clever. This fight can create fans and build legacies. The winner would clearly be the leader of boxing's new school.
Devon Alexander (21-1, 13 KO) is moving up to welterweight (147 lbs) against Maidana. If Alexander defeats Maidana in a more impressive fashion than Khan did, people will want to see Khan vs. Alexander.
Khan wants to adjust to the welterweight limit before facing Mayweather. Alexander is a 24-year-old standout who's only lost to Bradley and is promoted by Golden Boy. That makes the fight easier to make.
If Alexander beats Maidana, he could become Mayweather's mandatory challenger thanks to his ranking by the WBC. That's another reason for Khan to target Alexander for his welterweight debut.
Andre Berto (28-1, 22 KO) was mentioned by Khan to Boxing Scene about who he could face at welterweight. Though Berto is more rough than slick, he's still the quintessential Black American fighter.
Berto is a strong, fast former WBC world welterweight champion with huge knockout power. His only loss came to Victor Ortiz (22-3-2, 29 KO) by a close unanimous decision this past April.
Berto bounced back with a knockout of former IBF champ Jan Zaveck (31-2, 18 KO) in September. Berto faces Ortiz in a rematch in February. The odds are still even. If Berto wins, expect Khan to come for him.
Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Floyd Mayweather Jr. is the whole purpose of this assault on Black American fighters. Khan wants to beat the man who everyone believes is the best. But how helpful will his wins over these fighters be?
Will Mayweather still prove too great for wins against the likes of Peterson or Bradley to matter? Or will Khan discover something about facing the evasive, slick style he can use when he faces Mayweather?
Only time will tell as Khan fights, wins and grows better, while Mayweather fights, ages and grows comfortable.