It’s no secret that Amir Khan spent years lusting after a big-money blockbuster bout against cash cows Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather. Many say that his ambition for a Pacquiao or Mayweather windfall adversely affected his career, taking focus away from landing other career-defining bouts that were more attainable and that could’ve made him a next-level star in the same category as Manny and Floyd.
Even now, despite being fully retired, the former junior welterweight world champ and Olympic silver medalist is still trafficking in the notion of a mega-fight with Pacquiao or Mayweather.
Well, the narrative has changed just a bit. This time, the UK star is saying that Pacquiao may be the one chasing him. In a recent interview with iFL TV, Khan talks about an interesting offer from the Filipino icon that was supposedly tossed his way.
"I got a phone call about another one [fight] today," Khan said. "Well, I didn’t. A friend of mine got a phone call from Freddie Roach to say that, ‘listen, we want to get a fight now that Manny didn’t win the elections, let’s do an exhibition or maybe even a proper fight…They want to do it in the UK, [but] you know all the bulls**t chasing Floyd Mayweather, chasing Manny Pacquiao – it wasn’t meant to be then and maybe it’s not meant to be now. So I’m not going to chase something. I heard it and kind of laughed about it."
Is there any truth to this rumor or is it just the usual kinda, sorta half-truth passed along between parties who don’t really have the full authority to make a fight like this happen? Is Khan exaggerating about how "real" this proposal was?
A retired Khan has talked about a big-money fight with one of the big two cash cows before. Just last month, he told a story about bumping into Mayweather before Mayweather’s recent exhibition bout in Abu Dhabi and having the five-division former world champ try to talk him into not doing so.
"Floyd said to me ‘Look, we should get it on’. And I said ‘Brother, tomorrow I’m going to announce my retirement’. And he goes ‘No, I don’t think you should’," Khan told talkSPORT.
It would be hard to imagine anyone, especially a 35-year-old Khan, walking way from a potential 8-figure payday. And even Khan, himself, admitted that he’s probably still open to taking an exhibition bout if the conditions were right and, of course, if the purse was bountiful enough.
The reality is that Khan, by the time he had turned 30, had turned already himself into more of payday-seeker than a competitive world class fighter. Having auctioned himself off as a fall guy with name value, he had offered himself up for sacrifice at the altars of Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and Terence Crawford and had signed himself to a meaningless 3-fight deal with Matchroom Boxing that served no purpose other than to re-load his bank account. He also took a meaningless money fight against a fattened up Billy Dib in cash-rich Saudi Arabia. His last bout was a pay-per-view contest with long-time rival Kell Brook that saw him get blasted away easily in six rounds. He was clearly in no condition to engage in a real fight against someone even reasonably sharp.
But even through this last patch of at least six years of hunting paydays more than legacy fights, Khan’s name is still big and he still has value as a fall guy with a name. That’s why it’s still very plausible that he’s continuing to get calls from other fighters looking for a bankable B-side.
How would a bout between Khan and Pacquiao (or Mayweather) go?
Khan would probably lose– maybe spectacularly so. He’d also put on a good show as a partner in an exhibition tussle with no real winner. So, don’t close the door on Amir Khan’s ring career just yet.
Boxing can be a cynical sport that values salability over substance. And there are surely a few bucks more to be squeezed out of the Amir Khan brand.