A report by the Daily Mail stated the former world champion “has agreed terms in every last detail” for a fight against the eight-division champion on 9 April in Las Vegas. The document has apparently reached Pacquiao’s promoter, Bob Arum, although he told Yahoo Sports that those claims were “bullshit”.
“It’s total bullshit. It’s complete bullshit,” he said.
“I’m sitting here trying to figure a way to sell tickets to my fight [between Timothy Bradley and Brandon Rios on Saturday] and now my phone is ringing off the hook because this lunatic made some shit up.”
If it does happen, it is a fight with plenty of history, given the fighters were once training partners at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card gym in Hollywood and then grew apart when Khan fell out with Roach before joining Andre Ward’s mentor, Virgil Hunter.
“Our paperwork went off to Arum on Friday and every point is covered,” Khan’s father and chief adviser, Shah Khan, said.
He has been pencilled in for an April return with no fixed opponent, although Khan’s name was in the mix, along with those of Tim Bradley and Terence Crawford, the latter an attractive but extremely dangerous match-up, the former not exactly blinding box-office. So Khan was a logical banker for Arum to maximise Pacquiao’s return.
However Khan has been down this road before, with no result at the end of it. In December 2013 he signed an agreement to fight Floyd Mayweather. The only problem was Mayweather had signed nothing – and dodged Khan to fight Marcos Maidana, whom Khan had already beaten.
There were further reports at about that time that Khan might also fight Pacquaio, feeding on the animosity between him and Roach, but that is pretty much a dead issue now.
Of more concern to supporters of the British fighter is his seeming trust in the promises of the business’s main movers and shakers. He signed with Mayweather’s behind-the-scenes mastermind, Al Haymon, specifically to get a fight with the champion, and was sadly let down three times: twice because Maidana got the biggest gig in boxing against Mayweather, then when his own gym mate, Andre Berto, became Floyd’s 49th and supposedly last opponent.
“We have been here before with Mayweather,” Shah Khan admitted, “so, while we are confident the contract will be back with us in the next few days, we are holding the second Saturday in January as a fall-back date for an alternative fight.”
That seems a far more likely route to follow, and his opponent then will probably be Danny Garcia, who ripped away his light-welterweight title in 2012 to instigate the messiest passage of Khan’s career.
He has done tremendously well to rebuild from that disappointment. He could do without any more false promises.
If he does get the fight with Pacquiao, it will be deserved. He might also win it, given the Filipino’s gradual decline over the past few years and his increasing involvement in his country’s politics as a serving congressmen. If Pacquiao were in anyway distracted in a fight against Khan, he could be leaving the sport a loser at the end of a glorious career.
This article was written by Kevin Mitchell, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 3rd November 2015 21.33 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010