INTERVIEW: Khan sets sights on UAE fight with Pacquiao

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Aiming high: Amir Khan believes the UAE's large Filipino, British and Pakistani expat communities would make a fight with Manny Pacquiao extremely lucrative.

Last week Amir ‘King’ Khan gave Floyd ‘Money’ Mayweather a five-day ultimatum to accept a fight, with the Brit threatening to look elsewhere for a bout in May.

– #Quiz360: WIN a six-month Target Gym membership
– Manny Pacquiao optimistic Mayweather will happen
– Mayweather or Pacquiao – which boxing star will be next for Khan?

Khan proved his pedigree by dismantling American Devon Alexander last month but in order to get the Las Vegas showdown he so dearly desires, he must prove his marketability outside the ring to Mayweather. 

Mayweather’s gleaming record of 47/47 gives him the privilege of choosing only the most lucrative opponents to fight and at present, a bout (that has been talked about for years) with Manny Pacquiao would bring in a lot more money than one with Khan. Five days came and went and it looks as if the two-time world champion will have to switch to plan B: a welterweight title fight against Filipino Pacquiao.

Bolton-born Khan believes that a fight with Pacquiao in Dubai would perfectly fit both of their needs since it would be followed by the large community of Filipino and British expatriates in the Middle East, while giving Mayweather no option but to fight the winner.

Khan and Pacquiao used to share the same coach in Freddie Roach and share a friendship outside the ring that some think would make a fight between the two awkward.

“Boxing is business and this would be a big fight,” Khan, who was praised for a dramatic improvement in his technique against Alexander – thanks to new coach Virgil Hunter, tells Sport360. “I like Freddie and I like Manny but it would be a huge fight that could possibly happen in Dubai. We need to have a big fight in the UAE and this could be it.”

Khan says that he doesn’t understand why Mayweather will not take the fight with him as he has proved himself in the ring and believes there is no question their fight would be financially rewarding. 

“I don’t know why Floyd won’t fight me. Is he running scared? It can’t be that he won’t take enough money because look what we would bring to the table,” Khan says.

“The whole of Asia and the huge UK boxing market mean that financially, this would be a big fight. There are no more excuses and I don’t even see his fight with Pacquiao happening as Floyd clearly wants to avoid the guys that could give him problems.”

There is one person in boxing however that has the power to make the fight happen. His name is Al Haymon and he is the long term advisor to Mayweather and more recently Khan. Haymon is rarely seen and never interviewed but has built a reputation as the most influential man in boxing, largely through his management of Mayweather.

“Haymon is trying to get the fight to happen but Mayweather obviously has the final say,” Khan tells Sport360. “Haymon will tell him that I am a good fighter and that it would be a good fight for the both of us. Al has played an important in my career and has supported me and has done great things for me but we really need him to push Mayweather and see what he can do.”

When not training or promoting potential title fights, Khan spends his time working with his Amir Khan Foundation and recently undertook a humbling trip to the site of the atrocities in Peshawar where 132 children at a school were massacred. Khan believes the work keeps him grounded and makes him focus on what is important in life.

“I was very disappointed with what I saw when I went there. I saw bullet-holes and blood on the wall that had stained there. I couldn’t believe that ten days before I got there it was all still standing and over 300 children have now died which is sickening,” he says. 

“I wanted to go there and show my respects, meet the families and give the kids the motivation to go back to school. Through the Amir Khan Foundation I do a lot of work with orphans and young kids because the youth is the future. The atrocities happened in a secure area of Pakistan and the kids are going to be scared so I want the kids to have confidence to go back.”

Martial Arts are becoming increasingly popular in the UAE with the Ultimate Fighting Championship (the world’s leading professional mixed martial arts company) staging two events in Abu Dhabi in the last five years and Khan now wants to capitalize on this growing Middle Eastern market. He is setting up Amir Khan Academies in Dubai and Pakistan in the hope that these countries might find a fighting champion of their own.

“There is a huge market out here for it and we want to set up some more global franchises like the ones in the UK,” he says. “I am currently in talks with the Sheikh of Ajman to get something set up in Dubai and also in Pakistan. There are a lot of people out here who want Amir Khan Academies so I am starting to work towards building franchises out here.”

Most popular

Related Sections

Pacquiao fight awating Mayweather agreement

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
It's all left to you: The fight will happen once Floyd Mayweather gives it the go ahead.

Manny Pacquiao’s promoters claim the Filipino boxing legend has agreed terms to face long-standing rival Floyd Mayweather and all that remains is for the American to give the fight the go ahead.

– Manny Pacquiao optimistic mega fight with Floyd Mayweather will happen

– A look back at the best boxing moments of 2014 

Negotiations between the two camps have been going on for some time, with a potential bout pencilled in for May 2 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Previous attempts to make what would be the richest fight in history have collapsed because of disputes over how the revenue would be split, television coverage and also drug testing protocol.

But Carl Moretti, vice president of Pacquiao’s promoters Top Rank, told ESPN that the 36-year-old had agreed to all of the demands placed upon him.

Moretti said: “Top Rank and Manny have agreed to the terms on our side. I don’t know about the other side.”

Top Rank chairman Bob Arum also told Yahoo Sports that the ball was now in firmly Mayweather’s court.

“I’m not trying to force anybody’s hand, I’m just saying, ‘Hey, we’ve agreed to everything, period’,” said Arum. “The people we have talked to on Mayweather’s side have agreed to everything. Now we need Mayweather to step up and say, ‘Yeah, I’m on board. I agree’.”

Reports suggest that Pacquiao has agreed to take a 40 percent cut of the revenue, with Mayweather receiving the remaining 60 percent of a fight widely expected to shatter all box-office and television revenue records.

According to ESPN, Pacquiao has agreed not only to a purse split but also for the gloves to be used and to a drug testing protocol.

Drug testing was one of the issues that caused a Pacquiao-Mayweather showdown to fall through when it was being negotiated in 2009 and early 2010.

Moretti revealed that Pacquiao has agreed to be tested by the US Anti-Doping Agency, a sign of his eagerness to make the fight.

The eyes of the boxing world have long been on a showdown between the unbeaten American Mayweat-her (47-0, 26 knockouts) and eight-division world champion Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 knockouts) two of the greatest boxers of their generation.

Talk of the super-fight gained steam in December, when Mayweather proposed the May 2 date and Pacquiao vowed to chase him into submission.

Meanwhile, Mayweather’s advisor Al Haymon yesterday announced the first major cards of a new series he is behind which will air for free on NBC Sports in the US.

An exciting first card is slated for March 7 and will be headlined by welterweight contender Keith Thurman up against Robert Guerrero and Adrien Broner versus John Molina in the light welterweight division. A second card scheduled for April 11 will see WBA and WBC 140 pounds champion Danny Garcia take on IBF champ Lamont Peterson.

Most popular

Related Sections

Pacquiao optimistic of Mayweather mega fight announcement

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Moment of truth: Manny Pacquiao defeated Chris Algieri in his last fight in November.

Manny Pacquiao is confident his long-awaited showdown with Floyd Mayweather is on the verge of being confirmed, according to

reports in his native Philippines. 

– All the latest news from the world of boxing

– VIDEO: Amir Khan visits attacked Pakistani school
– #360LIVE: January transfer window blog

The fight, potentially the most lucrative in boxing history, is expected to be held at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with a preferred
date of Saturday, May 2. 

Negotiations between the two parties and their rival TV networks have been going on behind the scenes ever since Pacquiao’s onesided victory over Chris Algieri in Macau last November.

Previous attempts to make the bout, going back to 2009, have collapsed over the split of purses, television coverage and how and when drug testing will be carried out in the build-up. However, according to a report in the Manila Standard, Pacquiao believes there has finally been a breakthrough.

The newspaper quoted the 36-year-old Filipino as saying: “We will make an announcement before the end of the month. I think it will happen.”

Mayweather, 37, has fought on the first Saturday in May for the past four years, always at the MGM Grand, near his Las Vegas home. Any agreement for the fight to take place must happen soon to allow sufficient time to promote it around the world.

Pay-per-view fights are always accompanied by media tours, intense multi-platform advertising and even reality television.

And with a Pacquiao/Mayweather showdown expected to break all records, nothing would be left to chance in maximising revenue.

Meanwhile, Britain’s Amir Khan had hoped he would be in line to fight the unbeaten American following his impressive demolition of Devon Alexander last month. And with speculation mounting that Mayweather is close to agreeing the Pacquiao fight, Khan has set him a deadline so that he can push ahead with his own plans to fight in May.

“It’s a waiting game, I’ve given his team five days. I need to know this week because I need to start training,” Khan told the Daily Mail.

“I’ve answered all the things Mayweather wanted me to do. He wanted me to fight at welterweight, I did that; he wanted to do a vote, I won the vote; he wanted me to beat a top guy in the division and I gave Devon Alexander a beating he’d never had before.

“There is a lot of money in a fight with me, not just in America, but he’s trying to avoid me. He’s avoiding two names in boxing, Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan.

“Mayweather wants to keep his ‘0’, he doesn’t want to take the big fights. He’s fighting guys who are over the hill or not at their peak.”

Most popular

Related Sections