Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Amir Khan still wants fight with Pacquiao before retirement

GETTY IMAGES – GETTY

LONDON: When he’s not out spreading his dunderheaded conspiracy theories about coronavirus, Amir Khan still occasionally thinks about boxing, saying he still wants to face Manny Pacquiao before he retires.

Khan (34-5, 21 KO) is 33 years old now and doesn’t have a good win in quite a long time – in years, in fact. Several of them. In his last outing, he stopped former featherweight Billy Dib in a welterweight bout in Saudi Arabia last July, three months after an awful challenge against Terence Crawford in a pay-per-view dud for Top Rank and ESPN.

But Khan is still confident that he can handle himself in the ring against top guys. “I’m still in the top 10 rankings in the world and amongst the biggest names in boxing,” he said. “I still feel young and athletic and strong. I’ve still got a couple of fights left in me, but I want to make sure what fights they are, and they have to make business sense, as well.”

Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KO), who holds the WBA welterweight title at age 41, has been on Khan’s wish list for a long time, as was Floyd Mayweather until Mayweather retired before that ever happened. But Pacquiao’s still out there, and Khan still wants it, obviously.

“I’d love to fight against Manny Pacquiao,” Khan said. “I think that’d be an amazing fight stylistically, something I’ve always wanted for a long time. I think styles make fights and I think that fight would be a perfect fight. I’m 100 percent against southpaws, I do really well against them. Speed versus speed. We’re ex-training partners and used to spare with each other quite a lot. There’s a lot of history there.”

There was a point in time, perhaps, that Pacquiao-Khan would’ve been a pretty interesting fight, and you could certainly still sell it somewhere. Saudi Arabia might pay good money for that fight, in fact – really good money.

But Khan’s name value in the States especially really may have taken its final hit with that Crawford performance last year. Not only did fans think he quit in a fight where he was being outclassed, but his post-fight insistence that he didn’t was arguably even worse for his reputation. Everyone expected him to lose to Crawford, and badly, but he turned that into a bigger story than it needed to be, and it wasn’t the type of story that was good for him.

And while the fight may make business sense for Khan, it might not for Manny. Again, there’s money there to be made, and most would figure it easy money for the Filipino legend, but there’s also big money to be made in bigger fights with other PBC welterweights like Errol Spence, who also still wants to fight Manny.

Amir Khan also keen to fight India’s Neeraj Goyat before his retirement. Goyat (11-2-2, 2 KOs) holds the WBC Asian welterweight title, and he’s someone that Khan (34-5, 21 KOs) feels would attract a lot of interest from India and Pakistan. Khan would like to fight Goyat as a warm-up to get him ready for a massive fight against Pacquiao (62-7-2, 39 KOs) next year. But at the same time, Khan is not sure when boxing will restart.

There would not be a lot of interest in a Khan vs Goyat fight from UK and American boxing fans so that it would be another low-level clash for him. Khan is coming off of a mismatch against Billy Dib last July in Saudi Arabia, and that fight failed to resonate with fans.

“I don’t want boxing to retire me. I want to retire before,” said Khan. “And I would fight this summer. The longer I leave it now. My body isn’t like it was 25 or 26. It might be a year before another big sporting even happens again. “So that’s another year out. I just want to wait and see, and it’s hard for me to say at the moment,” said Khan about whether he should retire. It has to be a bigger fight against Manny Pacquiao because there’s a high price there at the end of it as well.

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