The last twelve months have seen such a variety in opinion on the actions of former unified super lightweight champion Amir “King” Khan, that the average man on the street doesn’t know who to believe or what to listen to.
Since his sterling performance in the Athens 2004 Olympic games earned the 17 year old Briton a Silver medal, the media spot light has been firmly thrust upon the Bolton boxer with a relentless action ever since. Add to that dual world titles in the super lightweight division and you’re already reading off a resumé which 99% of the boxing world would be envious off.
After a career reinvigorating performance in a new division against Luis Collazo last May and a breathtaking near flawless decision victory over former champion Devon Alexander in December, Khan has since been proactively searching for a marquee name to define a boxing dynasty coming into it’s tenth year this July.
For legacy? Hmm. Boxing is a business. Getting punched in the head is a serious matter, only placated by the feeling of a healthy cheque bouncing into a bank account.
Boxing’s money spinners namely: Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao have all crossed the lips of the former WBA & IBF champion since late 2012. Regardless of opinions as to whether he deserved those names or not at one point or another, who could blame him?
Both of the fighters named above earn BIG purses in descending order and Khan has pursued each fighter in that same descending vein. Their opponents don’t do too badly from those fights either; it seems appearing as “the B-side” isn’t all that bad after all, well in some cases definitely not.
Current lineal welterweight and super welterweight world champion Floyd Mayweather fought Marcos Maidana in his last two bouts in May and September of 2014; for those fights the Argentinian slugger reportedly earned a minimum of $1.5Million and $3Million respectively.
Things are even more rosy over town at Top Rank; former eight division world champion Manny Pacquiao fought Tim Bradley and Chris Algieri in his last two fights in April and November of 2014, earning those opponents a reported minimum of $6Million and $1.7Million respectively.
Seeing a pattern here? I am. The word “million”.
The pound-for-pound call out’s since last December don’t seem to have worked for Khan; with a Mayweather – Pacquiao fight tentatively in the works, Khan is looking for a high profile partner to dance with.
That’s why last night when news broke of Khan tweeting his desire to fight lineal middleweight champion Miguel Cotto, it didn’t seem all that surprising or furthermore, all that unrealistic.
Let’s do that numbers thing again…
Four division world champion Miguel Cotto fought only Sergio Martinez in 2014; with the former middleweight king “Maravilla” earning a reported $1.5Million plus the upside of the pay-per-view revenues. These opponents don’t do too badly, do they?
In perspective, Khan in 2014 fought twice as stated above against Collazo and then Alexander, earning him a competent $1.5Million and *cough* $600,000 respectively.
That Cotto call out making any sense yet? The Puerto Rican legend is two weight divisions above on paper, but a small middleweight champion who has fought no higher than 155 pounds. Most importantly though, both him and his opponents earn big money, he’s a big name and carries a massive following.
Forget legacies and titles for one moment and try to see boxing the way most boxers, managers, promoters and advisors see the business – large denominated green dollar bills.
Who would blame Khan for pursuing such fights? In order to get back into the seven figure salary range, the Mayweather, Pacquiao and Cotto fights are the ones which he needs.
Yes of course you will hear the lines, “In order to be the best, I have to test myself against the best, the Mayweather’s and Pacquiao’s of this world” – this is business. In all of this charade the fans need to be kept on side. Talk of winning world titles in a new weight division is designed to do just that. People need to buy these pay-per-view fights in order for them to make any money. The idea of creating new legacy and history invigorates fans to watch boxing, not how much the respective fighter is going to earn for his time between the ropes.
Khan knows he is a draw of sorts in both the USA and UK, hence he’s in an enviable position at the moment. If Mayweather – Pacquiao fails to materialize again, he could be potentially sharing the ring with either one come May. If pigs do fly and the super-fight actually gets made, he has potential leverage to make fights involving Kell Brook and Miguel Cotto which could help in business negotiations.
Not all social media posts are instinctive, some have a preconceived end game, some have blatant strategy. Right now Amir Khan is playing both a long and short hand. The ball may not be on his side of the court right now, but sooner rather than later its going to be appearing over the net and he needs to ensure he’s standing in the best position to hit it back.