By Keith Idec
Manny Pacquiao’s promoter is open to discussing a Pacquiao-Amir Khan showdown if Khan can prove that his contract doesn’t contain clauses that’d prohibit him from facing Pacquiao.
Bob Arum told BoxingScene.com he’ll “absolutely investigate it,” yet also is skeptical that a Pacquiao-Khan fight is a realistic possibility for Nov. 22, when Pacquiao is scheduled to return to the ring in Macau, China. A WBO welterweight title bout between Pacquiao, the title-holder, and Khan likely would do big business on HBO Pay-Per-View because, among other things, Khan was once guided by Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach.
The intrigue aside, Arum is proceeding with caution, despite that Khan told BoxingScene.com in a story posted Monday that he is eager to challenge Pacquiao.
“I’m leery of statements like that because we, about a month ago, sent out feelers through somebody who’s connected with the Khans about whether he’d be interested in a Pacquiao fight,” Arum told said Monday. “And we heard nothing positive in return. So for the kid now to say, ‘Yeah, I’m ready to fight Pacquiao, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera – where does this come from? I mean, No. 1, is it possible to arrange for a Pacquiao fight? I don’t know what his contract states.
“We can’t sign anything for him to fight Pacquiao until we look at his contracts. For example, for all I know he might have a contract that says all his fights have to be on Showtime. I don’t know if that’s true or not. But when we reached out to him a month ago, we said, ‘We’re not interested in the amounts [specified in Khan’s contracts], but redact those numbers and send us the contract so we can see if we can even talk to you about a Pacquiao fight.’ And we got nothing in return.”
England’s Khan was among two finalists for a May 3 fight against Floyd Mayweather Jr., but the undefeated superstar chose Argentine brawler Marcos Maidana for that Showtime Pay-Per-View main event at MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Khan (29-3, 19 KOs) defeated Maidana (35-4, 31 KOs) by unanimous decision in December 2010 and complained publicly about Mayweather’s decision.
The 2004 Olympic silver medalist was coming off a long layoff, though, as well as an unimpressive performance in his previous fight, a unanimous-decision defeat of faded former lightweight champion Julio Diaz, when Mayweather picked Maidana. Khan instead easily out-boxed former WBA welterweight champ Luis Collazo (35-6, 18 KOs) on the Mayweather-Maidana undercard, which re-established some of his market value among the paying public.
Mayweather (46-0, 26 KOs) is expected to return to the ring Sept. 13, but Khan isn’t an option because the native of Pakistan is a devout Muslim who’s currently recognizing Ramadan. The Muslim month for fasting doesn’t end until July 28, which would’ve prevented Khan from properly preparing for a Sept. 13 fight against Mayweather.
Pacquiao’s return better fits Khan’s schedule and Arum believes Khan truly is interested in opposing Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs). Arum’s recent reconciliation with Oscar De La Hoya, whose company co-promotes Khan, also makes a Pacquiao-Khan fight more realistic than it would’ve appeared earlier this year.
“I think he wants the fight,” Arum said. “He wants a [big] fight. He wants a fight with Mayweather. He wants a fight with Pacquiao. He wants to fight which is going to raise his image and get him some decent money. But wanting it and going about it the right way are two different things.”
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.