MANILA, Philippines – British junior welterweight champion Amir “King” Khan continues to campaign for a fight against unbeaten American boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr.
“To be the best, you have to beat the best. And I want to be the first to beat him,” Khan told BoxingScene.com.
Mayweather is coming off a controversial 4th-round knockout victory over Victor Ortiz, while Khan will be defending his junior welterweight belts against Lamont Peterson in December.
Khan says he respects Mayweather, who is “a legend” in the sport of boxing.
“He’s kept boxing alive. I look up to him and met him a few times and he’s a great guy,” he said.
Khan is looking to move up to the welterweight division next year and is planning to have one tune-up match in the division before seriously pursuing a fight against Mayweather. He believes he will be ready to fight the current WBC welterweight titleholder by 2012.
“I’m working towards the Mayweather fight and in a couple of fights’ time, I will be ready. There is only one way of beating him, and his last few opponents all picked the same gameplan which was wrong,” Khan said.
Kieran Mulvaney of ESPN.com says it would make “perfect sense” for Mayweather to fight Khan next.
“It would renew the rivalry between the Mayweathers and Freddie Roach without having to involve Manny Pacquiao or, more importantly, Bob Arum,” Mulvaney said.
He adds that Mayweather has shown interest in fighting Khan, especially if the bout will take place in Khan’s native England.
“Britain in 2012 will be the center of the sports world, as a result of the London Olympics. That’s a spectacle that could provide Mayweather... the kind of stage he craves,” Mulvaney explained.
A Khan-Mayweather fight can take place in September, right after the Olympics, he added.
“At this stage of his career, Mayweather... wants to amass money, create a spectacle and feel the warming glow of the spotlight. Taking on Amir Khan in front of 70,000 fans at Wembley Stadium would give him all he is looking for,” Mulvaney said.