As World Boxing Welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather contemplates an opponent for his 48th bout on route to a target of 50 unbeaten fights as a professional boxer, La Vegas was the venue on Saturday evening for several candidates who have expressed a willingness in challenging Mayweather. Spectators at the MGM Grand Garden Arena witnessed both Amir Khan and Keith Thurman attempt to prove themselves as the most viable alternative, while Timothy Bradley hoped to display his credentials at the Cosmopolitan.
Amir Khan fought Devon Alexander in the main bout at the MGM and produced a demonstration of quick punching and speed around the ring which confused his opponent so much so that the victory by a unanimous points decision was vindication of the British boxer’s far superior class. It was a display from Khan which will have impressed the watching American audience.
On the undercard at the MGM, unbeaten Keith Thurman returned from an eight month ring absence to defeat Leonard Bundu in twelve rounds with many spectators offering a critical view of the winner’s performance. Despite flooring his opponent in the first round, Thurman appeared content to bide his time during the fight with Bundu being the aggressor during several periods, prompting jeers at ringside. Aged just 26 years old and have fought just 24 times, Thurman justified his performance on the need to gain experience, but that may not have helped his prospects of challenging Mayweather in the near future.
Meanwhile at the nearby Cosmopolitan, former WBO Welterweight champion Timothy Bradley could only draw with Diego Gabriel Chavez, a decision which mystified many onlookers as Bradley was considered to be the clear if not unconvincing winner of the bout. Having beaten and lost to current WBO champion Manny Pacquiao in recent years, Bradley could still be a creditable opponent for Mayweather but it is perhaps Filipino boxer Pacquiao whom the undefeated champion is once again eyeing as his next opponent.
There is still the possibility that Amir Khan could yet be offered the opportunity, but in recent days Mayweather has declared his willingness to share the ring with Pacquiao on May 2nd after the latter disposed of Chris Algieri in his latest bout at the end of November. Algieri was sent to the canvas six times during the contest which ended with a unanimous decision in favour of the WBO title holder.
However, it may be another case of bluff on the part of Mayweather as a potential fight between himself and Pacquiao has often been discussed but dismissed with both boxers accusing each other of cowardice. Mayweather needs to find an opponent who is creditable in the eyes of the watching public but that does not necessarily mean the best available.
Amir Khan may have been the more impressive boxer of the three potential candidates at the weekend, but that will not guarantee him a title opportunity amid the strange politics of World professional boxing.