Thursday, October 3, 2013
Khan quiets Mayweather rumor
By Dan Rafael
Amir Khan insists he's preparing for a potential Dec. 7 date with 147-pound titlist Devon Alexander.
Since junior middleweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.'s decisive decision win against Canelo Alvarez to unify titles on Sept. 14, there has been tons of speculation about whom Mayweather will face when he fights again in May.
One of the rumors that has picked up steam in recent days is that Mayweather would opt to return to welterweight, where he is also champion, to face former junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan of England, which would mean Khan would forgo a fight in the works against welterweight titlist Devon Alexander.
Alexander-Khan has been on the board in pencil to headline a Showtime card Dec. 7 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. It's a fight Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer has talked about making since immediately after Alexander's knockout win against Lee Purdy in May and has continued to say he was working on when asked.
On Wednesday, with the chatter of a Mayweather-Khan fight continuing to swirl, Khan put out a statement in an effort to shoot down the rumor.
"Team Khan would like to dispel recent reports that Amir Khan has pulled out of a potential matchup against Devon Alexander on Dec. 7th, taking up a fight against Floyd Mayweather in May of next year instead," Khan's statement said. "Contrary to this story, Amir Khan is currently in training camp in San Francisco with the aim of fighting again in December against Alexander once an agreement can be reached."
That sounds good, but an irate Kevin Cunningham, Alexander's manager and trainer, told ESPN.com he didn't buy it.
"I've been told by my people the Khan situation is probably not happening, so I don't know what they're talking about," Cunningham said.
Cunningham was presumably talking about Schaefer and Alexander adviser Al Haymon, who also is Mayweather's adviser. Cunningham declined to identify his "people" but said that if Alexander did not have a fight made with somebody by Oct. 7, be it Khan or another contender, he would not fight Dec. 7.
"If we don't have eight weeks to prepare, we're not taking the fight Dec. 7," Cunningham said. "Devon is a world champion, and if he don't have eight weeks to prepare, he won't be fighting anybody. I don't know what this bulls--- is from Khan, that he is eyeing us. One minute they want to fight us, one minute they don't. But I've been told that it's highly unlikely that we'll be fighting Khan.
"We've spent the last three months focusing on Amir Khan. I've watched tons of footage and been talking to Devon about preparing for him. As far as I'm concerned, Khan is putting that statement out to make it look like they have the intent to fight Devon, but at this moment we still have no deal. They're not going to keep screwing around with us. I think the statement is a bunch of B.S. and that he don't want to fight Devon."
Schaefer told ESPN.com that Khan was indeed preparing as though he was going to fight Alexander.
"Amir is with [trainer] Virgil [Hunter] training for the Devon fight," Schaefer said.