Although Amir Khan said that he has signed his part of an agreement to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 3, the former two-belt 140-pound titleholder claims that he would face former stablemate Manny Pacquiao in Dubai should Mayweather choose Marcos Maidana over a matchup against him.
Khan (28-3, 19 knockouts) shared his thoughts with Yahoo!Maktoob on Monday during the opening of EMD Fitness Gym in Dubai, doing so amid wide speculation that final details are close to being completed for Mayweather to face him at either The MGM Grand in Las Vegas or else at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
While Mayweather (45-0, 26 KOs) has mentioned Maidana (35-3, 31 KOs) as being "in the lottery jackpot box" to be his next opponent, he also said that a megabout with Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) "won't happen" because the eight-division titlewinner is promoted by Golden Boy rival Top Rank.
"A fight over here in Dubai would be crazy. It would be a new Vegas," Khan said of fighting Pacquiao in the wealthy city in the United Arab Emirates.
Khan pooh-poohed Mayweather's mentioning of Maidana as a potential opponent.
"He's just promoting the fight. At the end of the day, I'm the one who has signed the contract," said Khan. "I've already signed my part of the contract. Floyd's not signed the contract. If he wants to fight, I mean, come and get it. I'll fight Floyd any time."
Although he has yet to compete as a true 147-pounder, Khan's resume includes unanimous decisions over Maidana as well as a technical decision victory over Mexican great Marco Antonio Barrera.
"I've always said that styles make fights. If he wants to fight a slow-handed, slow-footed guy, well, then, let him go ahead," said Khan. "But people have always said that Floyd has never faced the best fighters in his era, and has never faced the best fighters, normally, who are in their prime. I mean, they say that it's between me and Maidana who he's facing," said Khan.
"If he wants to face someone who I've beaten, then, so be it. Marcos Maidana is someone who I've beaten. Marcos Maidana is someone who would make Floyd look good. But like I've said, styles make fights, and speed would cause him big problems. But like I've said, the ball's in Floyd's court right now. We've signed our part of the contract, and, now, it's up to him."
In his past two bouts, Khan won by 10th-round knockout over Carlos Molina (not to be confused with the IBF junior middleweight titleholder of the same name) in December of last year and by unanimous decision over former titleholder Julio Diaz in July.
Khan, 27, would be looking for his third straight victory in as many fights under trainer Virgil Hunter, who replaced Freddie Roach after Khan was knocked out again by Danny Garcia in July of last year. Prior to facing Garcia, Khan had lost a disputed split-decision to current IBF 140-pound beltholder, Lamont Peterson in December of 2011.
"As far as him signing, I saw the article, but I haven't spoken to Amir or Shah [Khan’s father] or anyone yet. I just saw what you saw. But as far as Amir being competitive in the fight, he's going to be competitive," said Hunter. "When I say competitive, I'm not talking about just glad to be in there. I'm talking about he's going to be determined to win this fight. Amir is going to be very determined and very competitive.
In his last fight in September, Mayweather, who turns 37 in February, dethroned Canel Alvarez by majority decision for the RING and WBC 154-pound championships. Mayweather-Alvarez, promoted by Golden Boy, grossed a record $150 million.
Mayweather already was the WBA's reigning 154-pound titleholder, having earned that belt by unanimous decision over Miguel Cotto in May of 2012.
In May of this year, Mayweather unanimously decisioned Robert Guerrero in defense of the WBC 147-pound title he had earned by dethroning Victor Ortiz via fourth-round stoppage in September of 2011, cementing his status as RING welterweight champion as well.
"I'm telling you that Amir is going to be more competitive than all of those other guys that Floyd has been in there with, because Amir has the ability to fight at the highest level. So Amir has a better chance of upsetting Floyd than all of the other guys who have come before him," said Hunter.
"Because he can do so much more. Amir is committed to working on his flaws, and that's all that we need him to do. Amir, at his young age, and because of certain flaws that he has, he has a tremendous upside. He is by no means a complete fighter."
Khan ended a run of 10 bouts and an 8-2 mark that includes four stoppage wins under Roach, with whom he began working after a first-round KO loss to Breidis Prescott in 2008.
With Roach, Khan won eight straight fights, four of them by knockout, and earned two major 140-pound title belts. That stretch also included stoppage wins over New Yorkers Zab Judah, the current IBF 140-pound beltholder at the time, and former titleholder Paulie Malignaggi, as well as the victories over Maidana, Barrera and Andriy Kotelnik.
Khan also sparred several times with Pacquiao and trained alongside him, vowing, until Monday, that they would never meet during a professional fight.
"Yeah, definitely, I'd fight Manny Pacqauio," said Khan. "Now, look, it's business, and I know that we're friends, and we respect each other. But I would, definitely. I'd consider the fight, and I'm sure that he would as well."
Pacquiao was last in the ring for last month's welterweight unanimous decision over Brandon Rios that helped him to rebound from a sixth-round stoppage loss to Juan Manuel Marquez in December of last year.
Prior to Marquez, Pacquiao was dethroned as WBO 147-pound beltholder following a split-decision loss to Tim Bradley in June of last year.
"In the future, I still believe that he can secure the big fights and become a world champion again. He's a good friend of mine and I believe that he has a big following here. If we have a big fight over here I'm sure that Manny Pacquiao could come and have a fight again here. I'm a big fan of Manny Pacquiao and he's a good friend of mine, also," said Khan.
"I've trained with him, and I've sparred with him, and I wish him all the best in his career. That would be huge. That would be huge. But at the end of the day, I'm Amir for the big boy, Floyd Mayweather, but if the likes of Manny Pacquiao or the other fighters are there, then I'm ready. Have I ever turned a fight down? Never. I'll fight wheover they put in front of me, so let's get it on."
Photo / Jeff Gross-Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]