By Jake Donovan
Unified 140 lb. titlist Amir “King” Khan addressed a number of topics during Monday’s conference call held mainly to discuss his upcoming title defense against Lamont Peterson.
The fight takes place on December 10 in Peterson’s backyard of Washington D.C., airing live on HBO.
In the buildup to the fight, rumors have swirled of an alleged falling out between Khan and pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao. The two train together at Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, under the watchful eye of five-time Trainer of the Year Freddie Roach.
Recent stories have suggested a rift between the two, alleging that they no longer train at the same time and are no longer permitted to spar with one another. Some stories have gone so far as to suggest the rumored fallout serving as the foundation for a future grudge fight.
Adding fuel to the fire is the revelation that – barring a big fight at 140 beyond next Saturday – Khan plans to move up to the welterweight division sometime in the near future. Pacquiao has served as a welterweight titlist for just over two years, defeating Miguel Cotto in November ’09 for the alphabet belt he has since defended three times, including his recent controversial decision over Juan Manuel Marquez in their third fight earlier this month.
Khan served as a commentator for the UK feed of the show, and went on record in revealing that he thought Marquez deserved to win the fight. His comments echoed the sentiments of many in the industry, with the general belief that it was a close fight that could’ve went either way.
What the comments weren’t meant to suggest is that Khan holds a grudge against the Filipino.
Khan has never shied away from a challenge and is no stranger to planning ahead even in the wake of a tough challenge in front of him, as is the case with next week’s showdown versus Peterson. That said, one fight that most certainly will not be happening is one with the man he credits for helping develop into the superstar fighter we’ve seen in recent years.
“Manny and I are cool. We won’t fight each other,” Khan (26-1, 18KO) insisted when asked to clarify on what exactly is going on in the gym these days. “We both train with Freddie and have too much respect for one another. I remember when I first moved to Wild Card, Manny was such a huge help.”
Their relationship hasn’t changed at all through the years, as they continue to heap praise upon one another. Pacquiao has always supported his gym mates, as evidenced by his ringside appearance for Jorge Linares’ thriller versus Antonio DeMarco earlier last month in Los Angeles.
Khan is just as appreciative of the all-star cast surrounding him. In fact, he was on hand in Vegas to lend support to Pacquiao in the days leading up to his long awaited third fight with Marquez.
“Everything is cool. These rumors keep coming up, but we’re cool. I was with him in Las Vegas the day before his fight with Marquez. I guess people just like to start rumors.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com and an award-winning member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Contact Jake at [email protected].