By Chris McKenna, courtesy of The Daily Star
AMIR KHAN insists he can become a great golden oldie like Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
The Bolton fighter returns to the ring this weekend for the first time in two years when he takes on Canadian Phil Lo Greco at the Echo Arena in Liverpool.
The former light-welterweight world champion has not fought since he was knocked out by Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in May 2016.
But even at 31, the 2004 Olympic silver medallist has not given up hope of ruling the welterweight division as he looks to Mayweather and Pacquiao for his inspiration.
The pair had some of their biggest ever nights in their 30s and Khan reckons he is now better than ever.
“Look at Manny Pacquiao who is 38 and started having his big fights at 31,” said Khan, who has lost four of his 35 fights.
“Look at Mayweather, he is 40 years old, I’m still a baby. I’m still young compared to those guys and what they’ve achieved and the same weight as me.
“People will say I have two years out and I know people say sparring is sparring but I’ve felt better in sparring than I’ve ever felt before. I felt stronger, quicker, fitter.
“I’m taking the sport more seriously than ever because I know I can’t afford to make a mistake anymore. I am going to come back to just get a win, I’m coming back to shine. I’m going to make sure I shock the world and people say ‘Amir is back’.
“It is not just any Amir that is back, it’s a very, very good Amir that is back. Otherwise there is no point in me coming back.
“The pressure is on me now because the fighter that is coming back, I have to make sure that it is the best that people have seen. Otherwise people will say, ‘why has he come back?’.”
Khan has had to deal with family fall-outs, an on-off relationship with his wife and two hand operations, as well as a spell in the jungle in “I’m A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here’.
In another setback coach Virgil Hunter fell ill during his training camp for Saturday’s fight.
Experienced American trainer Joe Goossen has been drafted in to take charge of the corner in Liverpool as Khan eyes a world title and a fight with British rival Kell Brook.
“A world title for me will mean something,” he said. “If I win another world title I can say, ‘thank you very much, I’ve had a great time, a great career’.”
“I’m not coming back because I need to, I’m coming back because I love the sport and I know I’ve got a bit left in me.
“I know I’ve got the energy to be a world champion again.”