Amir Khan wants tune-up fight before facing Manny Pacquiao

Amir Khan wants tune-up fight before facing Manny Pacquiao

Published On Sunday, April 5, 2020By British Boxing News
Related Tags: Amir Khan

Amir Khan still calling for Manny Pacquiao fight

Britain's former two-time world champion Amir Khan says "retirement is not on my radar," insisting he still has "one or two more" fights left.

Some reports on Friday suggested the 33-year-old was considering walking away from the sport.

"Obviously with this coronavirus it sends us a bit loopy at times and you say things you don't really mean," Khan told BBC Sport.

"I still feel good, I feel strong. I don't want to call it a day just yet."

Khan's last outing was in July 2019, a fourth-round stoppage win against Australian Billy Dib in Saudi Arabia.

The Bolton fighter, a former light-welterweight world champion with the WBA and IBF, says although he would like to go straight into a world title fight, he may first take a tune-up bout against a top-10 contender.

"Because of the coronavirus lockdown, I wouldn't mind a fight to get back into the groove of things, before a big fight against someone like Manny Pacquiao," the 2004 Olympic silver medallist added.

Khan has called out Filipino Pacquiao, the current WBA 'super' welterweight champion and the only eight-weight champion in history, many times before.

The two know each other well, having sparred countless rounds together when they trained under the tutelage of Freddie Roach in the Los Angeles' Wildcard Gym, before Khan split from Roach in September 2012.

"The Manny fight is something I've always wanted," Khan said.

"If it happens, great, but if not we'll look at other options."

Those options are unlikely to include long-time rival Kell Brook, with Khan blaming the Sheffield fighter's decision to move up to light-middleweight in 2018.

"The fight was close to happening when we were at the same weight and both under Eddie Hearn's Matchroom Boxing. But he decided to move up. That's not my fault.

"People are saying it's me not taking the fight but he moved up 154lbs - what do you want me to do?

"I made that mistake when I moved up in weight to fight Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and lost."

As both boxers near the end of their careers, demand for the all-British fight is not as strong as it once was. But Khan admits there is still genuine animosity between him and Brook, which he says stems from their amateur days.

"I've never been the person to hate him first, he hated me first," he said.

"I used to beat him up in sparring when I was training for the Olympics. I used to school him and literally give him a beating. I remember one of the coaches told me to take it easy on him and only use one hand.

"I beat him up and was always picked before him in the amateurs.

"Since then, as he's got older, that's always hurt him."

Brook, 33, is reportedly in line to face WBO welterweight champion Terrence Crawford next.

Khan, who lost to Crawford in April 2019, can only see one outcome.

"Crawford is one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world and he'll walk through Brook without any issues"

While retirement may not be an immediate option for Khan, he has welcomed the chance the current lockdown has provided to spend more time with his family and children.

He has also offered one of the buildings he owns to the NHS in Bolton.

"I kept seeing reports on the TV saying they needed support and help. I have a 60,000 square foot building which is water-tight and a roof on top of it. I said they can take that and make that into a hospital.

"The NHS said the numbers in Bolton are low at the moment but if they need it, they'll get back to me."

'I want to manage Asian fighters'

Once Khan does hang up the gloves, he has set his sights on managing promising fighters, particularly those from South Asian backgrounds.

"I think young Asian fighters will want to sign with me," he said.

"A bit like when Oscar de la Hoya retired and became a promoter and manager, he had all the young Mexicans that went with him. I think I can do that with the young Asian fighters."

And although he would like to remain involved with the sport in some capacity, shouting orders from the corner is not something that appeals to Khan.

"I don't want to be a trainer, forget that. Too much effort and energy."

HÖRFA are proud sponsors of British Boxing News