x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

The British boxer speaks frankly and exclusively to The National's Omar Al Raisi.

British boxer Amir Khan. AFP
British boxer Amir Khan. AFP

In yet another instalment of the entertaining battle of wagging tongues, Amir Khan struck back at Floyd Mayweather Jr, claiming that the champion is showing his age has been picking his opponents accordingly.

“People say I have no chance and I don’t deserve to be in the ring with Floyd,” Khan told The National. “Why not?

“Floyd is not the same fighter as he was three or four years ago. That’s why he picks slow fighters, because he doesn’t have the same movement as he used to.

“I have been working very hard in camp on a Plan A, Plan B and Plan C on how to beat him. I mean, don’t get me wrong, he is a great fighter, but he has dodged two of the quickest fighters in the business because he knows I can give him a headache,” Khan said, referring to himself and Manny Pacquiao.

Mayweather said the British-born Khan was interested in a fight only because of the massive pay cheque he would stand to command.

Khan and Marcos Maidana of Argentina are the fighters being considered by Mayweather, 36, for a May 3 fight at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The announcement about the identity of his opponent is expected within the next few days.

Khan said he is unimpressed with the Mayweather he has seen since 2011, when the “best pound-for-pound” fighter defeated Victor Ortiz, Miguel Cotto, Robert Guerrero and Saul Alvarez, the latter three by decision.

“If you look at his last three or four fights … all of them are slow, with no footwork, one-dimensional fighters,” said Khan, 27. “He cherry-picks them, to make himself look good.”

He said the speed of his feet, hands and mind would cause Mayweather severe trouble. “I’m fast. I’m quick,” Khan said. “I have an awkward footwork. Styles make fights, and I will show him style.”

Khan is frustrated by Mayweather’s delay in choosing an opponent, and believes the WBC welterweight and WBA super welterweight champion is missing a chance to market the fight on a much broader front.

He said his team at Khan Promotions, along with Golden Boy Promotions, proposed to Mayweather a unprecedented international tour to the UK, Dubai, Pakistan and India.

“Everyone says Mayweather is a genius in promoting fights,” Khan said. “I offered them to take this fight to parts of the world where boxing has never been tapped in such a big level.

“Press and public training tour in UK, Dubai … I have spoken to the prime minister in Pakistan and they have even agreed to provide military security for the press tour there. That’s how big I can make this fight.”

Khan has been in training in San Francisco for four weeks. He seemed offended when Mayweather told The National that the former light welterweight champion, like all fighters, is interested only in the money. Khan could earn perhaps US$10 million (Dh36.7m) for a bout with the American, who is unbeaten in 45 fights.

He said Mayweather “always does the same thing” when promoting his fights on Showtime’s All Access series.

“He shows how big his house is, how many cars he has and how much money he has,” Khan said. “Thanks to god, I have a very big and a good house in UK. I have as many cars as him, but I don’t go around showing them off. That’s not how I want people to know me.

“I want them to know the real Amir Khan, the family man, the man who does charity events all over the world.

“Floyd knows this very well. If he fights me, I will make him richer, not myself. I don’t even know what contract and how much money my team offered to him.

“I want to be the people’s champion, I want to beat him and I believe I will give him a fight none of his past four fighters could do.”

He said Mayweather the person is not the same as the fighter and promoter.

“I have met Floyd a few times and had normal conversations with him,” Khan said. “He is a good and humble guy when he is not promoting a fight. He has been nice to me, but if he doesn’t want to fight, I want to move on with my career. I don’t want to waste any more time.”

Khan, who has a record of 28-3, said he has options if the Mayweather fight does not materialise.

“We have discussed names like Adrien Broner, a re-fight with Lamont Peterson or maybe Shawn Porter.

“Who knows? I never say no to a fight if it is a big fight.”

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