Amir Khan was apparently mulling over an intriguing bout before he decided to hang up the gloves.
The former junior welterweight titlist and Olympian from Bolton, England, announced his retirement last week, capping an accomplished and entertaining career in the professional ranks.
But according to Ben Shalom, the head of the British promotional outfit Boxxer, which promoted Khan in his last bout, Khan's decision was not without serious scrutiny of other options. Khan, Shalom said, had taken a hard look at a potential fight with former undisputed 140-pound champion Josh Taylor of Scotland.
Khan (34-6, 21 KOs) had last fought in April, although it did not end in his favor. He suffered a sixth-round stoppage at the hands of his countryman and blood rival Kell Brook (at Manchester Arena in Manchester. After the fight, there was significant chatter that Khan might take up another fight against Conor Benn, the welterweight contender and son of Nigel Benn. Ultimately, talks never went anywhere.
A fight with Taylor, to be sure, would have garnered plenty of attention.
“I think he (Khan) was seriously considering the Josh Taylor fight, with Josh perhaps coming up to 147, and Josh perhaps not being the biggest at the weight,” Shalom told BBC 5 Live Boxing. “He fancied that one.”
Taylor (19-0, 13 KOs) has seen his stock crater dramatically after he narrowly beat Jack Catterall in Edinburgh on points back in February in what was Taylor’s homecoming defense of his four 140-pound titles. But many observers felt the bout was a “robbery.” After the bout, Taylor hinted that making the 140-pound limit was becoming increasingly difficult and that he might move up to 147 instead.
Recently, Taylor was forced to relinquish his WBA belt because he refused to participate in a mandatory title defense against Alberto Puello of the Dominican Republic, thus ending the Scotsman’s short-lived undisputed reign at 140. It is not clear if Taylor plans to defend his other 140-pound belts or actually move up.
Shalom suggested that for Khan a fight with the southpaw Taylor was much more preferable to a fight with Benn, who has made a name for himself in recent years as a lethal puncher. Taylor is promoted by Bob Arum of Top Rank Inc., while Benn is backed by Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing.
“Obviously, there was talk about Conor Benn, but I think less so,” Khan said. “I think he just wanted to show that that wasn’t him on February 19th against Kell Brook. I spoke to him and I said, ‘I think every boxing fan knows that wasn’t you. We’ve watched you for 10, 15 years.’”