By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
RICKY HATTON has told Amir Khan to avoid Floyd Mayweather Jr this year – or his career will be ruined.
Manchester’s former two-weight world champion was flattened in the same ring at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas where Mayweather intends to have his next fight on May 5.
And with the mega-fight against pound-for-pound rival Manny Pacquiao looking like it will get pushed back to November, American Mayweather is on the hunt for another opponent.
Mayweather, 34, works with the same American promoter – Golden Boy – as Khan but Hatton has warned the Bolton boxer not to take a money-spinning fight against the American if he is offered it.
Hatton, who is now a promoter after hanging up his gloves, was beaten only by the world’s best two boxers – Mayweather in 2007 and Pacquiao in 2009 – and insists Mayweather would also be too good for Khan.
Khan, 25, would seriously consider taking a Mayweather fight but is also hoping Yank Lamont Peterson will accept Golden Boy’s offer of a 50-50 split for a rematch after the controversy over last month’s fight continues to rumble on.
Khan lost his WBA and IBF world light-welterweight titles by a split decision in Peterson’s home city of Washington.
But he claims the bout was poorly refereed by Joe Cooper and there were scorecard discrepancies.
The ringside presence of ‘man in the hat’ Mustafa Ameen, who corrected a judge’s scorecard at ringside during the fight, has also left Khan seething.
Hatton agrees Khan should be granted a rematch but also believes the former world champion now needs to ‘re-establish’ himself before he goes looking for the likes of Mayweather.
He said: “I think a Mayweather fight would be too soon for Amir. He is just coming off a defeat and does he really want to fight the number one fighter right now or later this year?
“I think Amir needs another two or three fights to get himself re-established and get his confidence back. Then maybe he’ll fight the winner of Mayweather-Pacquiao next year.
“If Amir could put in a good performance against Peterson he will improve his position when he sits down at the negotiating table.
“Plus Mayweather and Pacquiao will then have more miles on the clock and Amir can come in and pick up the pieces.
“I think Amir deserves a rematch with Peterson because there seems to be something going on with the judges’ scorecards and no one should be allowed near the judges.
“But it was a good fight anyway, so let them fight again.
“You can’t take anything away from Peterson and I think the fight was too close to call – it could have gone either way – even with the points taken off Amir.
“If Amir can’t get Peterson, maybe he’ll go for Tim Bradley, fight for his old WBA title or move up to welterweight – but don’t go near Mayweather for the next 12 months.”
Rather than fighting Mayweather, WBO welterweight champ Pacquiao, 33, will face either American Tim Bradley, Puerto Rican Miguel Cotto, Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez or Peterson on June 9.
WBC welterweight champion Mayweather still plans to fight on May 5 as part of the deal that delayed his 87-day prison sentence to June 1 for a charge of battering the mother of his children.
If the $100m showdown is made for later in 2012 after over two years of trying, Hatton expects Mayweather to be too slippery for Pac Man.
He added: “Manny might not be happy to hear this but I think Floyd will win it comfortably because he’s so hard to hit.
“It wasn’t hard to knock me out the night I fought Manny but I remember, the morning after I fought Mayweather, thinking how hard he was to fight.
“But I couldn’t say that about Manny because he just nailed me and I was flat out in the second.
“I had problems trying to hit Floyd and even the punches that did get to him he would just glance off, block with his shoulder or slip.
“When someone has been a bit more cautious and defensive against Manny he has struggled, as opposed to someone who goes flying in like I did.
“It’ll be one of the biggest fights in history so it’s likely to happen in November when they can market it for longer.”