By Rick Reeno
Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer spoke with BoxingScene.com and explained the factors which influenced WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr. (45-0, 26KOs) to pass over Amir Khan in favor of Marcos Maidana as the opponent of choice for May 3rd, likely at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Khan (28-3, 19KOs), inactive since last June after he struggled to decision Julio Diaz, was viewed for months as the frontrunner to fight Mayweather.
However, Maidana (35-3, 31KOs) made a major statement, and quickly entered the Mayweather sweepstakes, after scoring one of the biggest upsets of 2013 with a twelve round unanimous decision victory over previously undefeated Adrien Broner to capture the WBA welterweight title at the Alamodome in December. Besides handing Broner his first defeat, Maidana also scored two knockdowns in the contest.
"I actually talked to Floyd last night, I saw Floyd last night and talked to him about it. I think what it came down to, is that Maidana had such a strong performance, a statement performance against Adrien Broner, who a lot of people felt was going to be the next Floyd Mayweather, a superstar, and that still might very well be the case..no question about it," Schaefer told BoxingScene.com.
"I think fans sort of like demanded Maidana and Maidana's name began to come up more and more. There was a strong argument for a while [for Khan to get the fight], which led to some of the UK press to already announce that a Mayweather-Khan fight was done. They felt the speed [of Khan] was going to be the story of the promotion. And I by the way agree with that. I think a potential fight down the road, depending on what happens on May 3rd, a potential fight with Amir Khan can certainly give Floyd a very difficult time because of his speed, because its a totally different kind of challenge, when compared to any other fight that Floyd has ever fought."
"I said it then and I'll say it now, [Mayweather-Khan] is still a fight that I would like to see, but Floyd sort of felt that Maidana had a credible win at 147 and he would want Amir to have a credible win at 147 before doing a potential fight.......to give [their fight] the biggest possible platform and to give it the biggest possible pay-per-view success. And for that, he felt Amir would need a credible win at 147."
Last year, Schaefer was attempting to match Khan against then IBF welterweight champion Devon Alexander for a December date. To avoid any complications in landing the Mayweather opportunity, Khan passed on facing Alexander - and then Shawn Porter accepted the opportunity and upset Alexander for the title.
Schaefer admits that if Khan defeated Alexander for the IBF title, there still wouldn't have been any guarantee of Mayweather selecting him over Maidana - who made one of the biggest statements of the year.
"That's difficult to say [if beating Alexander would have increased his chances of getting Mayweather]. For a while, Amir was clearly the one fighter who everybody felt was going to be the next Mayweather opponent. And I think that was actually the case until Marcos Maidana had his statement performance," Schaefer said.
"You can play Monday morning quarterback and say 'I should have done this and I should have done that' but that doesn't really solve anything. Lets say Amir would have fought Devon and then Maidana goes and beats Broner, would that have really made a difference [with Mayweather's final decision]? I don't know."