Amir Khan
Khan says Mayweather was running scared of a meeting with the Briton. Getty Images

Amir Khan has claimed Floyd Mayweather was "too scared" to agree to a fight with the Briton but admits he came very close to securing a bout with the unbeaten American. Mayweather retired last September with an perfect record of 49-0 and has been continually linked with a return to the sport.

Despite meeting long-time rival Manny Pacquiao, the 39-year-old dodged a series of high-profile opponents including Khan during the final years of his career, instead choosing to face Marcos Maidana and Andre Berto in three of his final four bouts. The former Olympic silver medallist's recent career has been littered with rejections, with Pacquiao among those to have rejected a potential bout.

Khan will return to the ring on 7 May to face Saul "Canelo" Alvarez for the WBC middleweight title in Las Vegas, but he remains disappointed over failure to secure a career-defining fight against one of the sport's biggest names. The 29-year-old says a deal was close to taking on Mayweather, and that an offer to fight for free was even submitted.

"We thought we got very close to making that fight happen," Khan told TMZ Sports. "Floyd, to be honest, is too scared to fight me. I honestly have to say that. I did everything to make that fight happen. I spoke to my team, and I even said 'I'll fight you for free,' just to show the world that I'm a better fighter than him, but he just didn't want to fight me and wanted the easy way out."

The clash with Alvarez will see Khan climb two weight divisions to the 160lbs class in a daunting test for the Bolton-born fighter. Khan had previously claimed he was chasing a rematch with WBC welterweight champion Danny Garcia when he withdrew from negotiations to face IBF champion Kell Brook.

"The reason I have to move up a weight now and fight someone like Canelo is because no one in my division wanted to fight me," he admitted. "Mayweather let me down. Pacquiao let me down. Danny Garcia let me down. So I'm in a position where people don't want to fight me, so I have to move up.

"I am in a position where I want the biggest fights. I am the WBC number one. There are a lot of politics in the game but look I have my eye on one fight against Canelo, I am going to be focusing on that and we go from there."