Amir Khan (31-4, 19 KO) has been seeking a fight against six-weight world champion Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KO) for over a year, but until now, the Pacquiao camp has ignored the 2004 Olympic silver medalist. They’ve instead opted for bouts against Timothy Bradley and Jessie Vargas, but those fights failed to garner much interest and the pay-per-view numbers reflected that.
His next scheduled fight was supposed to be against Jeff Horn, a little-known Australian boxer. But when Pacquiao asked his fans over twitter to pick his next opponent, they responded with one name: Amir Khan. So Pacquiao finally decided to reach out to the Khan camp.
This caught Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, completely off guard and he dismissed the rumors immediately. But it seems that Pacquiao has decided to take negotiations into his own hands, leaving Arum in the dark.
In many ways the fight makes a lot of sense. A bout against Jeff Horn would have been a pay-per-view flop and a fighter of Pacquiao’s stature can do a lot better.
Pacquiao is currently trying to set up a fight in the United Arab Emirates, and one against Khan could sweeten the deal. Meanwhile, Khan was expected to announce his next opponent for an April fight in the United States. But a fight in the U.S. may be problematic for Pacquiao, who currently has a few unresolved tax issues.
A battle against Pacquiao could be just what Khan’s career needs. He’s looking to bounce back after a big loss to Canelo Álvarez in May of last year. The Brit moved up two weight classes to take on the Mexican champion and was knocked out in the sixth round. But leading up to the knockout, the fight had been incredibly close and Khan was possibly even ahead on points.
The fight grossed around $30 million in pay-per-view buys, far more than Pacquiao’s 2016 fights. While it wouldn’t come close to Pacquiao’s payout from the Mayweather fight, a Pacquiao-Khan bout should still rank as one of his top-grossing fights.
Pacquiao is long past his prime but is still a formidable fighter. He has his speed and is one of the toughest boxers to beat when the fight goes the full 12 rounds. Khan is young and hungry, and beating Pacquiao would be an enormous achievement for him.
Odds the fight takes place before the end of 2017: 3/7
Manny Pacquiao: 8/13
Amir Khan: 2/1
Abu Dhabi: 7/3
New York: 19/1
O/U for the PPV buys: 600,000 PPV
“Amir Khan” by Bryan Horowitz [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)]