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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 April 2019

Amir Khan: Manny Pacquiao Dubai bout ‘untrue’; ‘only fight’ of interest is Floyd Mayweather

Speaking exclusively to The National's Omar Al Raisi, Amir Khan says he has 'not spoken' to Manny Pacquiao's camp about a Dubai fight and maintains he deserves his shot at Floyd Mayweather.
Amir Khan's career record is 31-3. His last fight was a unanimous decision victory over Chris Algieri in late May. Mike Young for The National
Amir Khan's career record is 31-3. His last fight was a unanimous decision victory over Chris Algieri in late May. Mike Young for The National

World-title contender Amir Khan has dismissed reports linking him with a superfight against Filipino great Manny Pacquiao in Dubai next year, saying his only focus is securing a showdown with Floyd Mayweather.

Fresh off a unanimous points victory against Chris Algieri at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, last month, Khan has again put his name in the mix to be the man who finally unseats the unbeaten Mayweather in what could be the American’s last bout.

Pacquiao, a champion in eight different weight classes, was the 48th opponent to try, and fail, to dethrone the pound-for-pound king last month.

Since that defeat – after which it was revealed Pacquiao had torn a rotator cuff in training before the fight – noises emanating from the Filipino’s camp have strongly indicated that his next fight would take place in Dubai once the 36-year-old southpaw has recovered from his injury.

In an exclusive interview with The National, Khan, as well as officials at the Dubai Sports Council (DSC), have distanced themselves from comments attributed to Bob Arum’s Top Rank promotions that a fight between Pacquiao and the two-time light-welterweight world champion could take place in the emirate any time soon.

“It’s all rumours and speculation, I’ve not spoken to Manny about a fight in Dubai and neither did our camps, so it’s untrue,” Khan said. “Look, if Manny wants to fight, we can do it, I’ve offered him and his team in the past, but they turned us down.

“If Manny mans up and wants to take the fight then it will happen, but the only fight I am interested in right now is Floyd Mayweather.”

The DSC, who would have to be heavily involved in commissioning, staging and promoting the fight, said they had no plans to stage the fight on its 2016 schedule

“The board of directors at the Dubai Sports Council have not had any such meetings to discuss a Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan fight in Dubai and they have not set any budget for this event for 2016,” said a DSC spokesperson.

Khan, who has a record of 31 wins and three losses, has won his past five fights since he lost his WBA light-welterweight title to Danny Garcia in 2012 but the 28-year-old Briton of Pakistani descent looked less than convincing in a points decision over Algieri last time out.

Khan immediately called out Mayweather after that fight and he accused the five-weight world champion of avoiding naming him as his next opponent in September because he knows the boxer from Bolton has the weapons to take him down.

“Everywhere I go fans ask me only one question: When are you fighting Floyd? I was at the Boxing Hall of Fame the other week and everyone kept asking me the same question,” Khan said.

“There is nothing more from their camp, Floyd is clearly avoiding me; that’s the fight I want, I’ve proved myself in the welterweight division, so I don’t know what more to do.

“He fought Pacquiao now when he is over the hill. If he had fought him five years ago, Manny would’ve beaten him. I hear he wants an easy fight for his 49th and final fight; he has been mentioning names like Andre Berto and Karim Mayfield. Why not take the fight with me, if he thinks I am that easy?”

The animosity between the two camps stretches back almost 12 months when Mayweather chose a rematch with Marcos Maidana over a fight with Khan.

The enmity has seemingly heightened since, with Khan revealing that a recent conversation with Mayweather’s father and trainer regarding a potential fight with his son resulted in Floyd Sr hurling expletives at Khan.

“Yeah I spoke with him on FaceTime, his dad just went off on me, swearing and everything, saying I don’t know anything about boxing and his son would beat me,” Khan said.

“If that’s the case and his son wants an easy fight, and they say I am an easy fight for him, so why are they avoiding me?”

Relations with domestic rival Kell Brook appear just as frosty with Khan also pouring cold water on talk of challenging his fellow Brit for his IBF welterweight belt.

“I am not fighting Kell Brook and that’s the end of it. Eddie Hearn and Kell has been very disrespectful, trying to fool the public, using my name to keep his fighter relevant in the media,” Khan said.

“What has Kell done? He’s fought bums his entire career, went to the US, won a fight against Shawn Porter, which was a very close fight and many thought he lost that fight. He is fighting unknown fighters like Jo Jo Dan and Frankie Gavin, and I am fighting top-10 fighters and world champions.

“Why should I give him a payday? Our fight will only happen if he goes on and fights two or three top boxers and beats them, then I am here and he will get his fight.”

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Updated: June 23, 2015 04:00 AM

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