The potential fight between Amir Khan and Manny Pacquiao has been floored by the man who guides the careers of both boxers. Khan underlined his growing stature with a stunning 76-second victory over WBA world light-welterweight title challenger Dmitriy Salita on Saturday at the Metro Radio Arena in Newcastle, England.
But while some fight fans are clamouring for a showdown between the Briton and the Filipino world welterweight champion Pacquiao, Freddie Roach, who trains both, is against the idea. "It would be a great fight, but I won't let that happen," Roach said. Khan will spar with Pacquiao to help him prepare for a proposed fight with Floyd Mayweather Jnr in March. But that is as far as it will go, according to Roach.
"I want Manny to do two more fights and be done - and Amir Khan is not in his future. If the demand means it happens, I will stay at home and watch it on TV. "Of course you see similarities between them. There is that work ethic. They come into the gym and they train; they are machines. They are the only guys who can run with each other because they push each other. "They have speed and power. When Manny was 22, I had him win the 122lb world title. When Amir was 22, he won the world title at 140lb. He's on a similar path."
Khan's clinical performance against Salita sent a message to his doubters. Roach has been impressed with Khan since he started working with him 15 months ago following the 54-second knockout to Breidis Prescott. On Saturday's same bill, the Colombian lost to Kevin Mitchell in an eliminator for the WBO lightweight crown. Khan then showed how much he has developed, stopping Salita on the three-knockdown rule.
The first punch on the chin, after 10 seconds, was so quick Salita never saw it. Neither did Roach as he was still making his way to the corner. Greater challenges will follow, but so too will greater rewards in the shape of multi-weight titles, according to his trainer. Khan hopes competing Stateside will help him achieve that. "We are hopefully going to shock the world when we go to America, I don't feel I've hit my peak and I'm sure I've sent a message out after this," said Khan.
"Most will think twice about fighting me, but in this game you want to fight the best." The big names can wait, though. First, Khan will celebrate his 23rd birthday tomorrow with his family and enjoy the luxury he has been deprived of while preparing for Salita. "My whole world revolves around my phone because I'm getting calls from all around the world. When that phone's gone, I'm lost," he joked.