MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao met with former junior welterweight champion Amir Khan on Friday, January 23 in the latter’s backyard of London, England to begin talks to bring the two together in a matchup of former gym mates.
Pacquiao, who squeezed in time to have dinner with Prince Harry at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, appears to be taking the first steps past Floyd Mayweather Jr. negotiations after the two broke their media silence to point fingers in various directions over stalls in talks.
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The two met at the legendary Fitzroy Lodge Amateur Boxing Club to pose for photos in front of the press and fans.
Pacquiao and Khan had trained together for years under the tutelage of Freddie Roach at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, and Khan had even ventured to Pacquiao’s home country of the Philippines to hold camps on occasions.
Like Pacquiao, Khan (30-3, 19 knockouts) too had been chasing a meeting with Mayweather, who brushed aside Khan’s talk of a deadline for making the fight. The 28-year-old native of Bolton, England has won four straight bouts since suffering a fourth round knockout loss to Danny Garcia in 2012.
Khan began working with Roach in 2008 but split with the 6-time BWAA Trainer of the Year following the Garcia loss and hired Virgil Hunter, a North California-based trainer best known for guiding the career of super middleweight kingpin Andre Ward.
His most recent bout, a shutout decision win over Devon Alexander in December, was among Khan’s most complete performance to date as he kept the two-division champion at bay with his long jab and combination punching.
Khan has had practice against fighters who, like Pacquiao, fight out of a left-handed stance. Khan outclassed left-handed former champs Alexander and Luis Collazo in his last two fights, while also holding a knockout over Zab Judah.
Pacquiao (57-5-2, 38 knockouts) is coasting on a three-fight win streak following back-to-back losses to Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez. Pacquiao’s last performance, a 6-knockdown decision win over Chris Algieri in Macau this past November, rejuvenated talks of a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, which Pacquiao’s camp isn’t closing its doors on just yet.
“Just in case Floyd doesn’t come through we regard Amir as the best possible alternative,” Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz told the Daily Mail. “He and Manny would make for a very exciting fight and Manny would be more than happy to do it at Wembley stadium.”
“It was great seeing Manny again,” said Khan, who stated that Abu Dhabi could also be a possible site for the bout. “We talked a bit about old times and also about the future. Although we have this friendship, if fighting each other makes sense then it can certainly happen.”
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In the recent past, Roach hasn’t been very keen to a Pacquiao-Khan bout. While in Macau for Pacquiao’s most recent bout, he shot down talks of the two ever meeting, stating that Pacquiao had knocked Khan down four times.
“There’s no point Manny fighting Amir. The reality is that it’s no big fight,” said Roach.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Khan disputed Roach’s claims. “”He never could say he got the better of me or outclassed me in a spar, let alone knocked me down. I don’t know why Freddie chose to say that because he knows what happened.” – Rappler.com
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