Khan't believe it
Floyd Mayweather has picked Marcos Maidana - a former victim of Amir Khan - ahead of the British star for his next fight. We look at why Khan missed out and what lies in store for the Bolton welterweight.
By Adam Norman: Twitter @SkySportsNorm. Last Updated: 26/02/14 2:46pm
Amir Khan: Where now for the former world champion
So Amir Khan has lost out in the race with Marcos Maidana for the privilege to fight Floyd Mayweather on May 3.
Khan clearly thought he was in pole position at the end of last year, signing his side of the contract and withdrawing from negotiations to fight Devon Alexander in December.
Poorly advised, as it turned out, the former WBA and IBF light-welterweight titlist is now left, in what should be the prime of his career, without a fight in 12 months.
It was in April of last year that the 27-year-old had his second 'comeback' fight under new trainer Virgil Hunter having been ruthlessly crushed by Danny Garcia the previous summer.
And it is likely that this lack of recent form at the elite level counted against him in the final analysis.
Yes, Khan's speed and skills - together with his well-documented vulnerabilities - put him in line for the biggest box office payday of his career.
He may yet be next on Mayweather's list should he fight - and beat - a 'name' on his belated return to the ring this spring.
But Khan must surely be counting the cost of his inactivity which for many fight fans is difficult to reconcile.
The Bolton star has already made a fortune from the fight game and the Khan 'brand', along with his strict observation of Ramadan ruling him out of camp for several weeks, means he only plans to fight twice each year.
But if a fight should fall through, as with Alexander and now Mayweather, it denies the former Olympic silver medallist opportunities to prove his critics wrong and stamp himself as an elite fighter once again.
A clash with Alexander would surely have done that. One wonders why Khan was advised to swerve the then-IBF welterweight champion fully five months before a potential Mayweather date.
Not only would victory have rubber-stamped his credentials but he would have brought another belt to the table. Maidana was able to do just that after beating WBA champion Adrien Broner before Christmas.
Did it betray a lack of confidence in Khan and his team? - lose to Alexander and the whole thing falls through. Kell Brook and his advisors had been desperate to get their hands on the St Louis southpaw all year, only for injuries on both sides to scupper their world title ambitions.
So it was left to the unheralded Shawn Porter to do what both Khan and Brook may well have done, and wrest the IBF strap from the champion.
It is unlikely Porter will want to entertain Khan in his first defence before he has to fight mandatory challenger Brook by June.
So where now for Amir? An all-British clash with Brook is surely his biggest potential pay-day right now, although Brook only has eyes for that world title that has been so frustratingly out of reach for more than a year.
An autumn 'war of the roses' makes sense, although if Khan still believes he is on Mayweather's short list then he will have to play another waiting game this summer.
Meanwhile, he needs to get busy. Unlike earlier in his career, Khan has remained active in the gym between fights and says he is learning all the time under Hill. An opponent is expected to be named in the 'next 10 days' - we await the news with interest.