• Steve Bunce

Khan choosing 'Money' over Alexander is good business

Steve Bunce October 1, 2013
Amir Khan would make a perfectly acceptable challenger to Floyd Mayweather Jr © Getty Images

When Floyd Mayweather Jr started talking to Amir Khan six months ago, it was obvious the Brit was being lined up for a fight. There was a point when we thought Floyd might have fought Khan this year, but instead he took the big fight with Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez - what became the highest grossing pay-per-view fight of all time and Mayweather Jr's second to top two million buys.

However, I think that Khan against Mayweather is made. Everyone seems to know it will be him who steps in the ring with the American next May - and let me tell you, Amir Khan is as good as most of the fighters who have been mentioned and better than some. There aren't dozens of legitimate fighters knocking on the door when it comes to Mayweather Jr and Khan makes a perfectly acceptable challenger.

In truth, we all thought Khan would be fighting Devon Alexander for the IBF welterweight title, which made sense. It would have been a welterweight fight against a really good American - not a great American to watch - but a really good American nonetheless. Incidentally, one whose name you never see in the same sentence as Floyd Mayweather Jr.

But there is no money in fighting Alexander. He's too good; the risk is too great and the reward too slim to make him a viable opponent. No one wants to touch Devon Alexander. While that fight is not completely out of bed, I don't think it will happen.

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Which, let me tell you, makes perfect sense. When you've got a pay day against Floyd Mayweather Jr, you're guaranteed to walk away with anything between 8 million dollars and $20m.

Why would you risk that for a million or less dollars to fight a guy like Alexander, where you would start as a fifty-fifty? That would be just stupid.

Has Khan done enough as a boxer to earn his shot at Mayweather Jr? Yes. Has he done enough as a welterweight or light-heavyweight to fight Floyd? No - but Khan brings something extra to the fight.

Thousands of British fans would come over to witness Khan unleash what we all want to see against Mayweather Jr - speed. And I tell you one thing Khan will do - (and he probably shouldn't have done it throughout his career) - he will always take a risk. Too many people get in and out of the ring with Mayweather Jr putting safety and self-preservation first and both, it would seem, are distant seconds to their bank accounts. Not Amir Khan - he would never put self-preservation in front of victory.

If Amir Khan chooses 'Money' over Devon Alexander, that is "good boxing business". It is as simple as that.

Barry Jones correctly pointed out in the podcast that, during a successful WBC light-heavyweight title defence against Tavoris Cloud, Adonis Stevenson announced himself as a whole new fighter.

We expected a slightly flat-footed slugger who threw wild, heavy-handed shots to turn up in Montreal, but Stevenson came out possessing plenty of boxing skill. He did a good job on Cloud, a good fighter, and inflicted his first stoppage. Luckily, as Barry again pointed out, the cut saved him from an even nastier ending.

But I'm imagining WBC mandatory challenger Tony Bellew, who was ringside in Canada, was thinking: 'Hold on a minute, where's that slugger gone?! I can beat the slugger, who is this boxer here?!' Bellew, by the way, will think he can beat anybody.

Now, Stevenson has already indicated a preference to fight Bernard Hopkins, the oldest champion in the world, which is interesting and would pay him well. Stranger things have happened than a mandatory challenger not fighting his mandatory.

However, I hope the Hopkins fight never happens for Bellew's sake, but you only have to look at the business deal I mentioned above regarding Khan and Mayweather Jr. Why would Adonis Stevenson fight Tony Bellew for a nice bag of peanuts when he can fight Hopkins or even Sergey Kovalev for an enormous sack of honey-roasted cashews dipped in kudos?

Maybe he will look at Tony Bellew the way Amir Khan is looking at Devon Alexander and think 'you know what, it isn't worth it'.

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Steve Bunce has been ringside in Las Vegas over 50 times, he has been at five Olympics and has been writing about boxing for over 25 years for a variety of national newspapers in Britain, including four which folded! It is possible that his face and voice have appeared on over 60 channels worldwide in a variety of languages - his first novel The Fixer was published in 2010 to no acclaim; amazingly it has been shortlisted for Sports Book of the Year.