One year ago, following an impressive unanimous-decision victory over the rugged veteran Luis Collazo, welterweight contender Amir Khan appeared to have put himself in position for a big-money and possibly career-defining fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr., the pound-for-pound king of the ring.
But Mayweather’s camp was unwavering in its desire for the undefeated champ’s next fight to be in September 2014, a date Khan couldn’t make due to his religious obligations as a Muslim.
With the holy month of Ramadan ending in late-July 2014, Khan said he would not have time to get his strength and conditioning back to an acceptable level by Mayweather’s September date, considering Khan would be coming off a month of daily fasting.
And so Mayweather went ahead and scheduled a rematch with Marcos Maidana, and then set his sights on the long-(long)-awaited megafight with Manny Pacquiao. Khan went on to score another impressive decision victory over Devon Alexander in December, and is scheduled to face recent Pacquiao victim Chris Algieri on May 29.
And now that the “Fight of the Century” is in the rearview and Mayweather is still undefeated (48-0, 26 KO) and still boxing’s fattest cash cow, the Khan conversation — assuming Khan can get past Algieri — has picked back up.
Mayweather will likely still demand a September date — he’s been on a strict diet of only May and September fights since 2009 — and Khan is still Muslim and still observes Ramadan faithfully. But because Ramadan will end 10 days earlier this year than it did last year, he has a little more time to be available for a date with Mayweather.
“I’m not ruling out fighting in September because it’s possible that it could happen,” Khan was quoted by ESPN. “Mayweather only fights in mid-September and Ramadan will be a little earlier this year, which helps. It gives me enough time to get the training done. So it can happen in September.”
There is some talk that Mayweather’s next fight will be his last. If that’s the case, you have to wonder if Khan would be considered enough of a big-name opponent for Mayweather’s farewell fight. Khan isn’t a mainstream star in the United States, and he doesn’t own any title belts Mayweather would care to own.
On the other hand, there is some obvious appeal in a Khan fight for Mayweather: Khan, a British Pakistani who won a silver medal representing Great Britain in the 2004 Olympics, could bring in a large European and Asian audience. And despite his 30-3 record (19 KO), the 28-year-old Khan has a reputation for having a weak chin. Mayweather, 38, hasn’t scored a knockout in his last six fights, and might want to close out his career with a bang.
Before looking ahead to Mayweather or Ramadan, however, Khan has to take care of Algieri.
“Chris Algieri is no joke,” Khan said in his ESPN interview. “I can’t go into this fight thinking it will be easy. I can’t take this fight lightly, and then lose the fight and all my dreams will be shattered to fight the big names of boxing.”