Obsession. It's a word often overused in the careers of burgeoning fight stars. The inner flame that flickers and aches in a warrior's guts, that drives him from his simple surroundings into the business end of boxing and its untold riches. A necessary fuse that needs to be lit on the path that leads to the top levels of the fight game and re-ignited on a regular basis just to keep him there.
Cut to the front rows of the recent Garcia/Guerrero fight however and a different slant is being shown on the coda of obsession by a fighter who by this stage in his career probably should know better. It's Amir Khan, and somehow in the next few moments he's about to become embroiled in an exchange of insults with the man he sees as his nemesis, the imperious Floyd Mayweather. It's all in a night's work for Floyd of course, it's just business and another slice of entertainment to be had in his ever narcissistic world. By the time the dust has settled he will have probably moved on to transporting a strip club to his front room and buying another tiger. For Amir Khan however it will be another embarrassing snub in a long line of false invitations to boxing's top table. A table he can never quite get his feet under.
To say Amir Khan is at the crossroads of his career right now is something of a grand understatement. Virtually inactive since a so-so points win against Chris Algieri in May 2015, he's hedged his bets over the last twelve months to a proposed super fight with either Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao, two fights that have unfortunately disappeared into the ether for him.
This has left Khan with two stark choices, or more specifically with two fights that on paper look more than a little tricky for him. The first, a rematch against the talented Danny Garcia could be something of a psychological minefield for the Bolton fighter. This was the same Garcia after all who stopped Khan in 2012 and certainly wouldn't be afraid to trade with him again in a rematch. Garcia also has one of the best left hooks in boxing, a shot that has been something of an Achilles Heel for the English boxer. It's a fight that a lot of boxing insiders feel Khan should swerve away from. Any attempt to stand and trade like he did with Marcos Maidana would be potentially a disaster.
The second choice is what all British fight fans want to see. The proposed match up with Sheffield world champion Kell Brook has swayed into view tantalisingly in the last few months without any concrete date being set. It's the fight everybody wants Khan to take (including his own trainer Virgil Hunter) but rumours of the Khan camp demanding a 80/20 purse split and a raft of ill feeling between the two could leave both talented welterweights in stasis in their respective careers. Even stateside eyebrows are being raised as to how long it's taking the match up to be made.
As long as Brook is world champion and defending his title, he holds the aces over his fellow countryman of course. There's the problem of ring rust too: by March Brook will have defended the belt he won against Shawn Porter twice, whilst Khan has yet to even name an opponent for a warm-up fight before he goes into a summer world showdown. It seems a high risk strategy and it's left the Bolton man between a rock and a hard place, demanding authenticity as a pound for pound fighter in the States without having the drawing power to sell tickets or even the fights to really call upon in recent times.
His clock is ticking. Whichever way Khan now turns, he's left with two heavy punchers in the form of Brook and Garcia both with the potential to derail his career. It remains to be seen whether he comes out fighting and takes the challenge head on.