Adviser: Amir Khan is Manny Pacquiao’s backup to Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Manny Pacquiao could pursue a May 30 clash with Amir Khan if Floyd Mayweather Jr. does not sign to face him on May 2 by the end of January, the Filipino boxer’s adviser, Michael Koncz, confirmed to RingTV.com on Saturday.
“We’re not slamming the door on it,” said Koncz, referring to Mayweather. “Hopefully, Floyd will agree and sign for the fight, and he and Manny will fight. But if not, we can’t just wait around.”
The contingency calls for Pacquiao to fight on May 30 on HBO Pay-Per-View, with London, Barclays center in New York, the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas and Abu Dhabi being among the potential locations, according to a report by ESPN.com citing the boxer’s promoter, Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.
“Yes, we’re looking at the possibility of Amir Khan as a backup,” said Koncz. “That is, if the Mayweather fight doesn’t happen, and that date was mentioned, yes.”
Koncz spoke to RingTV.com before boarding an early Saturday morning flight from England, where Pacquiao was hosted by Prince Harry at Buckingham Palace on Thursday. Koncz declined to discuss the details of the meeting with Prince Harry, although Arum said it involved talks regarding a potential bout between Pacquiao and Khan.
“Yes, he met with Prince Harry, but that was a private dinner that we had, and I’m not disclosing what went on in that dinner,” said Koncz. “We’re looking at all possible opportunities, whether it be in England, whether it be in Abu Dhabi, or America. Wherever the fight is best suited.”
Koncz said London’s Wembley Stadium was mentioned as a possible site.
“Manny has a tremendous fan base here, Amir has a tremendous fan base here, which was evident yesterday when we showed up at a gym together. The response yesterday from the media was incredible. It was here in London, and we went to the gym on an appointment, and Amir dropped by,” said Koncz. “We’re looking at different venues. We’re looking at having it here in England, we’re looking at Abu Dhabi,or whatever suits the fight best. America included.”
Other potential opponents for Pacquiao include RING No. 1-rated junior middleweight Lucas Matthysse and RING No. 4-rated 140-pounder Ruslan Provodnikov, according to Arum.
Matthysse recently signed a five-year contract extension with Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya, who has a renewed working relationship with Arum. Arum and Provodnikov’s handlers — Artie Pelullo of Banner Promotions, and his manager, Vadim Kornilov — have all mentioned Pacquiao as a desired rival in the past. The Matthysse and Provodnikov camps have also been in talks concerning a fight between those two.
Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 knockouts) is reportedly agreeable to the demands of Mayweather (47-0, 26 KOs), which include fighting at the MGM, a 60/40 split of the purse in favor of the undefeated fighter and a drug-testing protocol.
With Mayweather being aligned with Showtime and Pacquiao with HBO, among the details discussed have been how the networks can jointly broadcast the bout. Officials from Showtime and HBO have reportedly discussed something similar to the Lennox Lewis-Mike Tyson joint pay-per-view broadcast in June 2002.
Key aides are reportedly working on Mayweather and Pacquiao through Corporation Chief Executive Les Moonves of CBS, Showtime’s parent company. Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza was reportedly part of a Jan. 14 meeting in New York that included HBO chairman and CEO Richard Plepler, HBO Sports President Ken Hershman and Showtime chairman and CEO Matt Blank.
“We’ve got a long way to go,” said Espinoza during a Jan. 15 interview with RingTV.com, “and significant open issues to overcome.”
A 28-year-old former junior welterweight titleholder who has fought twice as a welterweight, Khan (30-3, 19 KOs) dominated left-handed former beltholders Luis Collazo and Devon Alexander in his past two appearances. Khan scored four knockdowns against Collazo during his 147-pound debut in May, and has similar success against Alexander, although no knockdowns occurred.
In the end, however, Pacquiao wants Mayweather.
“I think now that Floyd and me is going to happen,” said Pacquiao. “It looks like it.”
“We’re losing dates, we’ll lose training time, and if so, then that’s the way that it goes,” said Koncz. “But it’s very simple on the Mayweather fight. I’m hoping that he signs the contract and that he fights Manny on May 2.”