By Edward Chaykovsky
British superstar Amir Khan was a disappointed man on Wednesday, when Manny Pacquiao's comeback opponent was officially announced for April 9th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Khan, WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley and WBO junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford were the three fighters in the running to land the assignment.
Bradley, who faced Pacquiao twice, was selected as the opponent of choice for what might be the final bout of the Filipino superstar's career.
Some fans wanted Khan, some fans wanted Crawford. Few fans were demanding a trilogy with Bradley.
Khan seemed like a very good selection. He and Pacquiao used to train side by side for several years when the two boxers were under the care of Freddie Roach. Khan left Roach in 2012 and hired trainer Virgil Hunter. Over the years there have been debates over the actual events of the Pacquiao-Khan sparring sessions. Roach claims Pacquiao battered Khan and knocked him out. Khan disputes Roach's recollection of the events, stating that he did so well that Pacquiao's team eventually refused to let them spar.
Arum spoke to HBO, who are handling the pay-per-view, and they felt Khan didn't present a big enough draw for PPV. It probably didn't help that Khan's adviser is Al Haymon, who is enemies with Arum and does no business with HBO.
“What [HBO] said was how Amir Khan didn’t resonate with them at all,” Arum explained to the Las Vegas Review Journal. “Yeah, he would do some pay-per-view business in England, but they didn’t think he was an attraction in the United States.”
Arum says all of the options were presented to Pacquiao and the final ruling came down on Bradley.
"We all gave [Pacquiao] an input," Arum said. "From the cable companies, the satellite providers, MGM, it was about who is the strongest opponent from a marketable standpoint, and we outlined everything for him and we were down to three choices and [Pacquiao] thought Bradley was the one that made the most sense."