By Keith Idec
Amir Khan thinks the timing might be perfect for him to finally fight Manny Pacquiao.
If Eddie Hearn, Khan’s promoter, and Pacquiao’s representatives can make a deal for them to box later this year, Khan is certain they could sell out a stadium in the United Kingdom. Hearn has expressed interest in having Khan fight at Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, in December, assuming Khan can defeat Samuel Vargas on September 8 in Birmingham, England.
“A Manny Pacquiao fight would be massive anywhere in the world,” Khan told Sky Sports for a story posted to the network’s website Sunday. “He is a good fighter, a slick fighter. He’s a huge name in boxing and I am sure if he came to the UK, the UK fans would want to come and see him.”
Khan and Pacquiao came to an agreement in February 2017 to fight in April 2017, but the financing for them to meet in the United Arab Emirates fell through and it didn’t materialize. The British star and the Filipino icon have been linked since they both were trained by Freddie Roach and sparred numerous times against each other at Roach’s gym in Hollywood, California.
“There’s a lot of history between us,” Khan said. “We’ve been sparring partners, we’ve trained together, we’ve got similar styles. People know that, but regardless of what happens in the fight, however long it goes, whether it goes the distance or doesn’t go the distance, it’s gonna be a war.”
Facing Pacquiao makes plenty of sense for Khan now that the 39-year-old Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) has knocked out Lucas Matthysse (39-5, 36 KOs, 1 NC) to capture a version of the WBA’s welterweight title.
“I wanna be a world champion again,” Khan said. “That, in my opinion, makes more sense to me than anything. I wanna become a world champion again and to win that off someone like Manny Pacquiao would be amazing.”
Hearn also would like to make a domestic showdown between Khan (32-4, 20 KOs) and former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook (37-2, 26 KOs). Khan doesn’t want to move up to the junior middleweight limit of 154 pounds to box Brook, though, and Brook can no longer get down to the welterweight limit of 147.
Regardless, if Khan wins a second straight tune-up versus Vargas (29-3-2, 14 KOs), the final fight of his three-bout contract with Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing is expected to be a big event.
“I can’t afford to look past this fight and I’m not really paying any attention to it,” Khan said of fighting Pacquiao next. “But I have read a few things about Eddie talking to people and Eddie wanting me to fight before the end of the year, so let’s see. But I really do believe I am one of the few who can sell out a stadium in the UK. It’s more than just the stadium. It’s the personality and the person who sells that fight, and it’s the dance partner as well.
“I belong in the biggest events in the UK. I am a prizefighter, but it goes beyond that. Be it in Vegas or in the UK, or anywhere in the world, it’s an event when I fight. Floyd Mayweather was the one who when he put one on didn’t call it a fight – he called it an event. Boxing is a business. It’s about putting bums on seats and it’s all about putting on a good show, so people will back for the next one.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.