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Amir Khan Needs New Marquee Opponent

Photo Courtesy of AP

Amir Khan never got the fight he wanted with Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Now it looks like Mayweather is going to keep Khan from getting into the ring with Manny Pacquiao as well.

Khan told the BBC Tuesday that negotiations for him to fight Pacquiao next spring have collapsed, as the Filipino star wants a rematch with Mayweather instead.

“We’ve been trying for the last few months to get it done,” he said. “I don’t want to be in the same position as I was with Mayweather, when he promised me the fight and I was waiting and waiting and it never happened.

“He probably just doesn’t feel confident and thinks it will be a tough fight for him.”

That’s tough for Khan, who desperately wants a win over a Hall of Fame opponent like Mayweather or Pacquiao, but it isn’t hard to see why he gets left out of these negotiations – he’s both too good and not good enough to earn a massive payday.

There’s no question that Khan, on his best day, is a heck of a fighter. He’s flashy, he can punch and he has a huge fanbase in the United Kingdom. He won a silver medal in the Athens Olympics at the age of 17, and won an alphabet title at 140 pounds when he was 22.

His resume is littered with big-name wins, including Marco Antonio Barrera, Paulie Malignaggi, Marcos Maidana, Zab Judah and, most recently, Devon Alexander. By all rights, he should be a global superstar who could bring in the kind of pay-per-view bonanzas that it takes to get Mayweather or Pacquiao into the ring.

There’s only one problem – Khan isn’t nearly as good as he should be.

In his 19th pro fight, he got knocked out in the first round by Breidis Prescott. Prescott came into the fight at 19-0, but didn’t even belong in the same ring as a fighter like Khan. Since his win, he’s used it to earn several fights with good (not great) opponents, and he’s lost all of them. He’s now 28-7 and ranked 78th in the welterweight division.

Khan then put together a big run that included the wins over Barrera, Malignaggi, Maidana and Judah, moving his record to 26-1. Those victories look a lot better on paper than they do in reality, though. Barrera and Judah were both finished as stars, and the only name fighter Malignaggi beat after the Khan fight was Judah. Maidana wasn’t quite as bad – he gave Mayweather two tough fights, but he was also shut out by Alexander.

Still, Khan was considered one of the best fighters at 140 pounds, and he was already looking ahead to all the big fights he could have at 147. The Prescott fight was just a fluke – one of those things that can happen to a young fighter.

That’s when he lost a split decision to Lamont Peterson. It was a controversial decision – he was deducted two points for pushing, including one in the 12th round. Those two points would have given him a unanimous-decision win, and just avoiding the one in the last round would have given him a draw.

Khan was able to use that to get himself another title shot in his next fight – this one for the vacant junior-welterweight title. Danny Garcia, though, avoided any questions about scoring by blowing Khan out in four rounds.

Now he’s in a terrible situation – he’s trying to force himself into superfights with three losses on his record, none of which have been avenged. Fighting Prescott at this point would be meaningless, but his best option is probably to get a rematch with one of the other two men to beat him.

Garcia would be the best choice, since he beat Peterson this year and would give Khan the biggest credibility boost, but he could fight Peterson first and then go after Garcia to spread out the paydays. The third option is fellow Englishman Kell Brook, who is 35-0 and ranked second to Pacquiao at welterweight.

“A rematch with Danny Garcia could be an amazing fight for me – it is a fight where I want to prove myself,” said Khan. “I know I am a better fighter than he is and I just made a mistake when I fought him the first time.

“When I fought Lamont Peterson I know I won the fight but didn’t get the decision, but a fight with Kell Brook could happen as well – he is one of the top guys who we would be looking at.”

Whichever of the three Khan picks, he knows his future is on the line. For all his talent, a fourth loss will end his chances at becoming a pound-for-pound star.

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