By Chris McKenna, courtesy of The Daily Star
AMIR KHAN favours a fight with Manny Pacquiao over Kell Brook because he wants to face a boxing “legend” before he retires.
The former world champion takes on Samuel Vargas in a welterweight clash at Birmingham Arena on Saturday night.
But talks have already taken place about a possible December showdown with eight-weight world title holder Pacquiao.
Promoter Eddie Hearn would prefer to see Khan face one of his other fighters – long-term rival Kell Brook in what would also be a huge bout.
But Khan would rather face former gym mate Pacquiao because a win over the Filipino superstar would be a defining night in his 36-fight career.
The Bolton boxer told Starsport: “Who would I rather face next? Pacquiao, definitely.
“He is a legend of the sport and I want to fight a legend.
“That would be the biggest fight of my career and beating Pacquiao would be amazing.”
Starsport understands it could take more than £10m to get Pacquiao to the UK which would prove a huge hurdle for promoter Hearn.
The Matchroom chief has had discussions with Pacquiao’s team about a possible fight with Khan but he also wants to sign the Filipino to his growing US stable.
Hearn is staging shows in America and has been backed by streaming service DAZN but Khan has piled on the pressure to get him a fight with Pacquiao first.
Cardiff’s Principality Stadium appears to be the only suitable venue for a December meeting in the UK, owing to its roof, capacity and the time of year.
There has been talk of Middle East consortiums putting up cash for the pair to meet in that part of the world in the past and that could also be explored again.
Khan has craved a fight with Pacquiao since he split with the pair’s former trainer Freddie Roach.
The 2004 Olympic silver medallist was still a rising star when he sparred with Pacquiao, who was the big name in Roach’s LA gym, but always fancied his chances in a competitive clash.
Khan spent too long waiting on a fight with Pacquiao while he also chased a big-money bout with Floyd Mayweather before stepping up in weight to face Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, only to be knocked out by the middleweight star in 2016.
If a deal cannot be reached with Pacquiao then the long-awaited meeting with Brook could finally be secured after the Sheffield star insisted he can return to welterweight and safely make the 10st 7lb limit.
Khan is content to finish his career off in the UK after spending most of the last eight years fighting in America.
He added: “I understand a lot of my fights have been in America.
“But I always thought the British crowd would be there for me. The reason I went to America was to give the British fight fans the big fights to watch. I did that by fighting the top guys over there.
“I’ve had a great time fighting in America, I had to do that. It is a box that I wanted to tick.
“I wanted to fight in Las Vegas, in New York, at the MGM Grand, at Madison Square Garden.
“I’ve done that now. I’ve had the big fights, I won world titles in America.
“Now it is time to come home and have those big fights on this side of the world too. I want to finish my career here.
“I know there are some big fights here and now my ambition is to have a stadium fight in the UK.”