Pacquiao-Khan title eliminator possible in 2016

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Gary Istitene/Getty Images)
Gary Istitene/Getty Images)
Gary Istitene/Getty Images)

Former eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KO’s) and WBC Silver welterweight champion Amir Khan (31-3, 19 KO’s) may clash as early as next spring.

WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman confirmed to World Boxing News this week that if Pacquiao and Khan were to fight next spring, it would be sanctioned as a WBC title eliminator, with the winner as the mandatory challenger to Floyd Mayweather, who holds the WBA Super and WBC World belts.

After missing out on a Mayweather fight yet again, the 28-year-old Khan has implied that he would be interested in fighting Pacquiao.

Calling Mayweather out and accusing the undefeated champion of being afraid of him hasn’t panned out so far, so for this alternative route to be put on the table – it serves as Khan’s final hope to get his dream match.

Pacquiao underwent shoulder surgery after his defeat to Mayweather in May of this year, with advisor Michael Koncz stating last week that we can expect Pacquiao to fight again in late February or March. This came after Top Rank promoter Bob Arum stated that the Filipino would be ready by the end of this year, which Koncz outright denied.

Khan is expected to defend his Silver title again in November, but an opponent has not yet been named. Theoretically, he could take a “stay-busy” fight to prepare for a mega-clash with Pacquiao in the spring.

Khan currently stands as Mayweather’s mandatory challenger to the WBC title following Pacquiao’s defeat. Mayweather has stated numerous times that his upcoming Sept. 12 clash against Andre Berto would be his last, and it’s advertised as such in the press releases released Wednesday.

However, Mayweather is in negotiations to fight three more times exclusively under the Showtime/CBS banner. We haven’t heard anything more than that.

When Sulaiman was asked to comment about the possibility of Pacquiao-Khan, he laid it out on the table.

“Absolutely, the fight could be a final elimination,” Sulaiman told World Boxing News.

“Amir Khan is the Silver champion and a wonderful fighter and a true representative of the best of boxing. Amir Khan has always been very loyal to the WBC, and of course, any fight with Manny Pacquiao could be a final elimination for the WBC welterweight title – without a doubt.

Sulaiman added that he wouldn’t hesistate to re-rank Pacquiao as long as he’s fit and ready to go.

“Pacquiao is an elite fighter. There are no doubts about his ability and his great stature as a fighter, so that is absolutely no issue,” he added.

“I saw that he could soon be back in the ring and Pacquiao is a fighter that deserves the opportunity because he is a legendary fighter.

“If he would have retired after the Mayweather fighter that would not have been fair to his legacy.”

Pacquiao is with Top Rank and Khan is with Haymon, which seems like the only roadblock that would keep this fight from happening.