- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather, the welterweight champion, earned in the $200-million-plus neighborhood for his decision win against Manny Pacquiao in their long-awaited, record-smashing May 2 showdown. But even with that massive influx of cash, Mayweather still intends to fight again this year.
The date he plans to box on is Sept. 12 in what would be the final bout of the six-fight contract he signed in early 2013 with CBS/Showtime. Of course, Mayweather can't do it alone. He needs an opponent, and that is where Amir Khan just might come in.
Mayweather teased Khan for the past year and a half, intimating that he would fight him only to pick Marcos Maidana -- twice! -- followed by the Pacquiao fight, which was a no-brainer. Khan, who was the bridesmaid for each of those bouts, was bitterly disappointed time and again, but he could be the chosen one for September and he knows it.
With Khan having won four fights in a row, including impressive efforts in lopsided decision wins in his last two bouts against former titleholders Devon Alexander and Luis Collazo, Khan has earned the bout with Mayweather. And with other top welterweights set for other bouts, Khan is the obvious pick, which makes his next assignment that much more pivotal -- a scheduled 12-round welterweight bout against fellow former junior welterweight titleholder Chris Algieri on Friday (Spike TV, 9 p.m. ET) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
In the co-feature, Javier Fortuna (27-0-1, 20 KOs), 25, of the Dominican Republic, and 27-year-old Bryan Vasquez (34-1, 18 KOs), of Costa Rica, will duke it out for a vacant secondary junior lightweight title.
Khan (30-3, 19 KOs), 28, of England, swears he is not counting his Mayweather eggs before they are hatched because he does not know if Mayweather will select him and he still has to deal with Algieri (20-1, 8 KOs), 31, who is from Huntington, New York, on Long Island and will be fighting in front of a home crowd.
"Definitely, winning this fight is everything to me," said Khan, who will be fighting in New York for the first time since making his American debut in an 11th-round knockout of Paulie Malignaggi at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in 2010. "I'm not looking past this Chris Algieri fight. I know it's a very dangerous fight for me. Stylistically, he's very dangerous and I'm not going to be looking past it. If I do, I'll have made a mistake. I've looked past fights and made mistakes. It will put me right back where I don't want to be.
"I have to be focused. I know there are big fights out there like Mayweather and stuff. I just have to stay focused and win this fight and go from there really."
While Khan has been impressive in his previous two bouts, Algieri was anything but. Last June, also at the Barclays Center, he got knocked down twice in the first round by Ruslan Provodnikov and fought through a horribly swollen eye to claim a disputed split decision and a 140-pound world title.
Then in November, Algieri moved up to welterweight and fought very poorly challenging then-titleholder Pacquiao in Macau, China. Pacquiao knocked him down six times and won a near-shutout decision in a romp.
Looking at the past two outings of both fighters and it is clear why Khan, who has been criticized in some quarters for taking on Algieri in the wake of that woeful showing against Pacquiao when he was offered a big fight on June 13 against countryman and welterweight titleholder Kell Brook, is the prohibitive favorite. But Khan argued that it is a good matchup.
"Look, there's people putting this fight down, and I don't know why," Khan said. "At the end of the day, Chris has won a world title. He's been in the ring with Pacquiao in his last fight. He's a very good boxer, moves well, boxes well. I definitely have to be on my 'A' game.
"All this stuff people are saying, they're probably thinking Amir thinks it's going to be a walk in the park, he'll make a mistake and lose this fight. I take every fight seriously. I've made that mistake in the past. For example, the Danny Garcia fight [which Khan lost by fourth-round knockout in 2012]. I've fought some fights that I thought are going to be a walk in the park. I got hurt, I lost the fight. I'm not thinking any fight is going to be easy. Every fight I walk into, every person in front of me is going to be in there to win the fight.
"Listening to Chris Algieri, he seems he wants to win this fight. That motivates me and makes me train harder. I've got someone in front of me that wants to win this fight. I'm not really listening to what people are saying about future fights or where this fight can take me."
After the loss to Pacquiao, Algieri parted ways with longtime trainer Tim Lane, whose performance in the corner of that fight was universally criticized -- he didn't let Algieri out of the cage! -- and linked up with the highly respected John David Jackson, a former world titleholder best known these days for his work as the head trainer for unified light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev.
Algieri said the pairing has been good for him and will help him against Khan.
"We've been learning quite a bit. John has been bringing out a lot of aspects of my style, things I can do in the ring that I haven't had an opportunity to show just yet," Algieri said. "We're both very excited about this fight, excited about what we're going to be able to do on fight night. Learning new aspects in a sport I love has been an eye-opening experience and enjoyable one as well."
Algieri said he didn't want an easy fight coming off the Pacquiao loss, which is one of the reasons he was so eager to fight Khan.
"The only thing that matters is proving something to myself and I do feel like I have to prove something," Algieri said. "I wasn't happy with my last performance at all. I know I belong here at the elite level and it's time for me to prove it. I like to challenge myself and this is a great opportunity. I'm ready for this. I will challenge anybody in the welterweight division.
"Amir is a tough fighter there is no doubt about that, but I am very confident in my ability and the game plan that coach has come up with for me."
Khan hopes to trump that game plan, look good in victory and finally land the elusive bout against Mayweather -- even if he doesn't want to look ahead.
Khan, a devout Muslim, will observe Ramadan, which requites daily fasting during daylight hours, from mid-June to mid-July and said he could be ready for a Sept. 12 fight.
"It's possible I could fight in September, yeah," Khan said. "Ramadan is going to be a little bit earlier this year, so obviously it helps, gives me enough time to get the training done and everything. It can happen in September."
Mayweather is the fight of his dreams.
"Mayweather is the best fighter in the world and in order to get that fight, you have to look good. You have to shine really," Khan said. "It's all about working hard, training hard, putting in good performances in the ring. There has been the word there for the last couple years that that fight was going to happen. But I'm going to be taking every fight one step at a time, hopefully put on great performances. If that fight comes, obviously, it's something I've always wanted."