It’s a bout that’s been talked about for years and never actually materialised and it’s one that back in the day, we would have all loved to see, but Amir Khan has now revealed that he has a verbal agreement to fight Manny Pacquaio later this year.
The 40-year-old eight-division world champion is set to take on American Keith Thurman later this month. The fight, billed as a battle for ‘welterweight supremacy’ will take place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas – and in Pacquiao vs Thurman betting, you’ll find Pac-Man the favourite, priced at 5/6 and with odds in favour of a victory by knockout. Elsewhere this month, Bolton boxer Amir Khan takes on Billy Dib in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The verbal agreement
The Brit believes the bout will come into fruition if both men are successful in their upcoming fights. “End of this year, early next year, I want to make a big-name world title challenge and there’s a strong possibility it could be here in Saudi Arabia against Pacquiao,” Khan said.
“Hopefully, Manny beats up Keith Thurman the week after my fight. Then we’ll see what happens.
“A fight between us would set-up boxing in the Middle East forever. It could lead to multiple championship fights taking place in the region. I intend to be at the forefront.”
Haven’t we been here before?
Yes – several times in fact!
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In 2017, the pair confirmed on Twitter that they’d fight on April 23rd, but with no confirmation of the venue, the deal eventually fell through. Pacquaio tweeted: “Negotiations between team Pacquiao and team Khan have come to terms for the April 23 bout as this is what the fans wanted” with Khan responding: “My team an I have agreed terms with Manny Pacquiao and his team for a super fight #pacquiaokhan #April23rd.”
Just last year, promoter Eddie Hearn estimated the fight would gross £20 million and disclosed he would attempt to arrange a deal with Pacquaio. At the time, Khan said: “Manny Pacquiao is the bigger legacy fight, because he is such a big name, and I want to end my career with a stadium night and a world title fight.”
So, will it materialise?
If both Pacquaio and Khan are victorious in their respective fights, we don’t see why not. For Pacquiao, time is running out and he has said before that he’d like to fight a few more times before hanging up his gloves. While for Khan, it’s all about getting back to where he once was. He failed to gain the WBO welterweight title in April, when he was fairly beaten by Terence Crawford. A knockout performance over Dib could propel him back to fighting some of boxing’s best and challenging for titles again.
When discussing the fight in the past, Hearn has always been honest in saying it would be difficult to arrange and a fight that would probably require outside investors to stage the contest in a foreign country – so why not the Middle East? If Khan’s Jeddah fight proves a hit, there’s no doubt that the Saudi’s will happily bankroll a multi-million bout, which will prove popular with boxing fans all around the world.
Let’s be honest as well, there’s no way Floyd Mayweather is coming out of retirement again, so Pacquiao will be waiting a long time for his re-match. Khan/Pacquaio could well be the big fight we want to see – and it’s one that’s been a long time coming!
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