Amir Khan labels Floyd Mayweather fight 'a joke' that is 'harming boxing' in fierce verbal attack

Jack de Menezes
The Independent

Amir Khan has launched a verbal attack on Floyd Mayweather for his string of “joke fights” that is “hurting boxing”.

The unbeaten American is set to face Japanese kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa on New Year’s Eve in a bout that he has billed himself as the “highest paid exhibition ever”, having been keen to stress that it will not be a full 12-round fight.

Unsurprisingly, Mayweather has attracted criticism for the decision in choosing to face a 20-year-old kickboxer rather than the more established boxing names looking to get at his unbeaten 50-0 record, and it comes hot off the heels of his fight with Conor McGregor that failed to live up to the hype it was given.

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Having called 42-year-old Mayweather out for a number of years, Khan has again voiced his disappointment in not getting to face the American, and instead launched an attack on the fights he is choosing to take.

“If you look at boxing and MMA – why is MMA and UFC surpassing boxing? Because they’re putting the better fights on, they’re putting the fights on that people want to see and these are just joke fights what Floyd Mayweather is doing,” Khan told the Daily Mail.

“He’s going to be getting a good cheque but it’s hurting boxing isn’t it? Boxing fans are going to buy the fight, think it’s going to be a good fight, Mayweather is going to go in there and destroy the guy straight away (and) people will say it’s a mismatch.

“The guy (Nasukawa) kicks well but you’re not allowed to kick in this fight. If it was a kickboxing fight it would be different.”

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Floyd Mayweather is due to fight kickboxer Tenshin Nasukawa on New Year's Eve (Getty)

Mayweather came out of retirement to fight former UFC champion McGregor in August 2017, though despite claiming a 10th-round stoppage the fight fell flat once it quickly became clear that the Irishman was no match for his American opponent.

At a time when box office prices are ever-increasing, Khan fears that fans will start to fight back against these bouts by not buying them regardless of who is involved, leaving boxing in something of a mini-crisis.

“When he fought McGregor, the same thing happened,” Khan added. “Mayweather is very smart that way but I guess this young kid, he’s going to destroy him again, people are going to look back and say it should never have happened.

“Those that bought the fight are going to hate on it and (think) ‘why did we buy the fight?’ – but they’d be stupid to buy the fight – and then they’re all going to hate boxing and then when there is a good fight happening they’re not going to buy it because they think boxing is a joke.”

Khan meanwhile is eyeing another world title challenge against Terence Crawford, which should the fight be made would scupper British hopes of a showdown with Kell Brook.

“If I fight for a title in the welterweight division with Crawford, that could be a future fight, so you never know,” he told The Independent.

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Khan may choose to avoid facing domestic rival Brook (Getty)

“We’ve had big names on the list. Something is going to be announced within a week, I’ve given everyone deadlines because I need to keep busy. Being out of the ring is not fair on me when I have other options out there.

“We’re looking at the Brook fight and it’s a big fight as well, probably one of the biggest in my career. We’re looking at Wembley Stadium, maybe Manchester or Birmingham, but I think Wembley would be the ideal location for me. Watching Anthony Joshua fight there…having 90,000 people would be awesome.”

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