Can Amir Khan justify fighting Floyd Mayweather?

With a deal reportedly being struck for Amir Khan to fight Floyd Mayweather next May, Sports Mole assesses whether the Brit can justify a bout with the undefeated American.

Ever since Floyd Mayweather dismantled Saul Alvarez over 12 one-sided rounds in Las Vegas last month, speculation soon began to grow that British boxer Amir Khan was at the head of the queue to compete against the unbeaten American next May.

Many deemed the rumours as far-fetched given Khan's recent displays in the ring, but late on Wednesday evening, a report emerged from the Daily Mail that a deal had been struck for the 26-year-old to go toe-to-toe with the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world.

An official announcement is said to be expected in the coming days, and while a media circus will inevitably convene to cover the build-up to the bout over the next seven months, can Khan justify his position as being deemed the number one contender to face one of the sport's great fighters?

First and foremost, let's not bombard Khan with any blame for, reportedly, accepting a scandalous amount of money to take part in what he has always deemed as his "dream fight". There's not a fighter on the planet that would turn their nose up to a reported £3.7m.

But what happened to the belief that you gain what you put in? What happened to fighting your way to reaching the pinnacle of your profession? Khan would be entering this showdown without a significant win since July 2011, and it's one that won't sit well with many deeply involved within the sport.

Amir Khan during a Press Conference at Mercure Sheffield St. Paul's Hotel & Spa on April 25, 2013© Getty Images

For the knowledgeable fan, it's fairly easy to reel off half-a-dozen names that are more deserving of a shot at the biggest name in the sport than the former Olympic silver medallist. If I were Danny Garcia, who stopped the Bolton boxer inside four rounds last year, I'd be feeling particularly hard done by.

While there is no doubt that the potential encounter is marketable, it cannot be justified in a competitive sense because Khan looked distinctly average against Julio Diaz last time out, getting off the canvas to record a points success over someone who was considered "past it".

There's also the issue of a certain Devon Alexander still lingering in the background. It was reported last night that Khan had pulled out of their IBF welterweight tussle to concentrate on Mayweather, but the Brit later insisted that he wanted both of the Americans.

Khan needs to fight Alexander to gain some respectability ahead of the biggest match of his life, but he also requires it to retain the professional integrity of the sport because at this stage of his career, he shouldn't even be in contention to meet "Money" Mayweather. It's only the money that will be generated that is ensuring that this fight will go ahead.

It would be naive to discount the huge part that money plays in this sport, but you also have to take into account the spectacle that you are trying to create. We'll no doubt be told time and time again that Khan's hand speed can trouble Mayweather, but if a veteran like Diaz can have success against "King" Khan, then isn't Mayweather going to have the tools to withstand anything that Khan can offer?

Floyd Mayweather Jr. celebrates his unanimous decision victory against Robert Guerrero in their WBC welterweight title bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 4, 2013 © Getty Images

Khan will most likely reiterate that as a two-time world champion, he deserves to have his time in the spotlight against Mayweather, but it's going to take some effort to convince anyone that he can be competitive. Khan isn't overly remembered as the two-time world champion that he is, it's more that he possesses a suspect chin.

Like most fighters, the 26-year-old has a puncher's chance of defeating Mayweather, but Khan is no longer the kind of boxer who pulls off one-punch knockouts. He's had Marcos Maidana and Lamont Peterson on the floor in round one, but they both went on to last the distance.

Khan has power, but it's more a prolonged power that is administered over a six-punch combination. Against a craftsman like Mayweather, that might prove irrelevant because the 36-year-old would have most likely moved out of range before the third punch can be thrown. There's also the threat of Khan getting caught with an overhead shot with the more combinations that he attempts to attack with.

There's also the factor of where Khan would go next if, as expected, he is dominated by Mayweather. He'll be significantly richer, but his options are limited should he not, at the very least, get the five-division titlist deep into the fight.

Khan's always been someone who looks at the bigger picture. He'll tell you that he wants to fight the winner of this fight, or the loser of another, so it's quite ironic that he isn't really looking long-term when taking this match, but while it would be questionable whether he would ever fight in America again, he would still have the option of Kell Brook.

It's not out of the question that Brook could be world champion by this time next year, and despite their huge rivalry, Khan should be hoping that the Sheffield man has achieved world glory, because it could very soon turn out to be is only hope of salvaging a career that has hit the rocks since his loss to Peterson at the back end of 2011.

Floyd Mayweather Jr. celebrates his unanimous decision victory against Robert Guerrero in their WBC welterweight title bout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on May 4, 2013
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