COMMENTARY | Earlier this week, the WBC made an odd move in their welterweight rankings that has fans and media speculating about whether some big business dealings are behind the organization's actions.
Former junior welterweight world champ, Amir Khan, was elevated to the no. 2 spot in their welterweight rankings despite never having actually fought in the 147 lb. division. The move was apparently made in anticipation of Khan's April 27 bout against former lightweight world champ, Julio Diaz at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, UK.
But could this sudden and odd boost in the ratings mean that the WBC has reason to believe that the 26-year-old Brit is being positioned for a shot at the winner of the Floyd Mayweather-Roberto Guerrero bout on May 4? Could Golden Boy's influence be behind Khan's no. 2 debut in a division where he has yet to compete?
The whole scenario looks suspicious and any marginally astute observer can easily see why the WBC's dealings in this case appear to be supremely questionable.
Of course, this is the same organization that ranks 41-year-old Shane Mosley at no. 10 in the world at welterweight despite having only one victory at 147 since February of 2007. By the way, Mosley may also find himself with a conveniently high ranking ahead of his return to the ring on May 18 against the WBC's no. 15 welter, Pablo Cesar Cano. Mosley, who can still be a money generator, may also soon find himself elevated to a position of prominence in order to, perhaps, benefit the organization's bottom line in a few WBC-sanctioned bouts for some minor titles.
For Amir Khan, though, there is still plenty of big money to be had with him. He's still a very marketable name and, whether critics choose to accept it or not, he's still a world class talent. Maybe he hasn't developed to everyone's liking, but based on pure athleticism and raw talent, Khan is good enough to beat all but the most elite fighters.
Against Mayweather, Khan would likely be well over his head in a match-up at this point, but who wouldn't fall into the same category against Mayweather right now? Robert Guerrero is a very solid, accomplished fighter, but is also expected to lose to the five-division world champ. Unless Mayweather starts showing his age, pretty much anyone Golden Boy can produce for him would have a tough time actually beating him-- and, as we know, boxing politics currently dictate that it's going to be Golden Boy's task, alone, to find opponents for boxing's reigning cash cow.
So, why not Khan? If Mayweather is serious about fulfilling his six-fight obligation to Showtime, he'll have to dip a bit deeper into the available talent pool and pull out some names that normally wouldn't be in consideration.
It's not as though Khan's some stumble bum, walking into a big ticket showdown straight from the club circuit and a part-time job at Footlocker. Khan was, until quite recently, a two-belt world junior welterweight titlist with a growing resume of very solid victories. Frankly, from the point of view of a boxing traditionalist, Khan doesn't deserve a Mayweather bout or a crack at the welterweight title right now. However, it's hard to make the case against Khan in this day and age where lesser fighters frequently get more undeserved opportunities.
The most disturbing thing about this apparent push to manufacture a Mayweather vs. Khan possibility is the way the rules and central logic of the sport are being bent to accommodate it. We all know that the WBC isn't exactly the Boy Scouts of America in terms of clean-cut honesty, but they could at least offer an illusion of propriety. There's something to be said about not always insulting the intelligence of the fans.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
- Sports & Recreation
- Amir Khan