When Bolton-born Amir Khan lost out to Argentine Marcos Maidana in the race to battle Mayweather, the media began to question why the Brit had not been given his chance.
Khan suggested that Mayweather had picked the easier opponent, given that the American’s fans had voted for the Khan fight to go ahead, but that he had instead chosen a less glamourous tie with Maidana – a man Khan beat back in 2010.
Yet no sooner could they pose the questions before analysts, anchors and American fans presented the real answer, and it has nothing to do with Khan, or Maidana’s, ability or performance.
While boxing is a sport which, at least on the surface, appears to value respect and modesty among the lowest of essential attributes in a good fighter, it appears that Floyd Mayweather is somewhat of an exception to this rule – and this lesson has been learned the hard way by Amir Khan.
The view of the American public perhaps represents this best. Despite Khan’s strong following in the UK, Eastern Europe and parts of the Middle East, our friends across the Atlantic say that Khan has not earned this fight and, looking back, it’s easy to see why.
Despite the announcement this week, the opponent for this fight was all-but decided in December. A month in which Khan turned down the chance to fight Devon Alexander, Marcos Maidana opted to take on Adrien Broner, completing a thoroughly impressive win.
Khan said he turned down the world title fight in December so that he could focus on being 100% to face Mayweather – a fight which, despite contracts being drawn, was not yet confirmed.
Instead, Khan chose to try to coax Mayweather into a fight through words, but that’s just not how the man dubbed the best pound-for-pound fighter in world boxing works.
This is not just a disappointment for the man, but also for boxing fans. While Maidana has certainly earned this fight through actions over words, seeing a man of Khan’s overriding ego but undoubted speed and talent would have been intriguing – and certainly few in the sport believe that Maidana is the better boxer.
Whether this chance will come around again is impossible to predict. Mayweather’s power in the sport is such that he can choose when, where and who he wants to fight.
So, paying the penalty for his millennial sense of righteousness, Khan’s approach has let him down this time, and the man who won the nation’s hearts at the Athens Olympics in 2004 will once again miss the chance to win gold.
Image courtesy of The Telegraph