Amir Khan says he can’t be coaxed to become an active prizefighter again, but he may make an exception for the right opponent.
The former 140-pound titlist retired last year upon getting stopped by rival countryman Kell Brook in six rounds.
But in a recent interview, ahead of his new autobiography, Khan said he would leave the door open for a fight, exhibition or otherwise, with the likes of Manny Pacquaio or Floyd Mayweather Jr.
While Mayweather retired in 2017, after stopping Conor McGregor, he has been active on the exhibition circuit. He fought John Gotti III in April, but their fight sparked a dangerous brawl that involved the crowd.
Pacquiao officially retired in 2021 but has also been making the exhibition rounds. He fought South Korean mixed martial artist DK Yoo last year and is reportedly scheduled to take on Muay Thai star Buakaw Banchamek early 2024. There have been rumors that Pacquiao is looking to return to proper prizefighting soon.
Khan, 36, spent years chasing after fights with Pacquiao and Mayweather but never succeeded.
“If I was to ever come back…no [it’s not impossible],” Khan told iFL TV. “I need a fight to motivate me. It has to be a big name. It’s a name. Say, if someone said Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao, I’d jump to that. Honestly, yeah. Nothing ever materializes because they can never get the money together. Everyone speaks a big dream. The only thing I’ve been offered is real fights. Exhibitions, yeah, but I don’t really believe it.”
Last year, Khan expressed skepticism about a fight offer he received from a member of Pacquiao’s team.
Khan (34-6, 21 KOs) said he has been involved in several Zoom calls with Pacquiao, along with a supposed investor. But Khan also admitted he has been frustrated by how long the process has dragged on.
Khan, of course, has come under fire after it was revealed earlier this year that Khan had failed a drug test that was administered immediately after his fight with Brook. The drug in question was ostarine, an anabolic agent. Khan was handed a backdated two-year ban by United Kingdom Anti-Doping, a lesser penalty that reflects the possibility that Khan had not consumed the banned substance intentionally.
Khan himself has continually maintained that he unknowingly ingested ostarine, saying recently that he might have consumed it by drinking a friend’s drink.
“I’m still f—— getting emails and messages about that (Pacquiao) fight,” Khan said. “It’s ridiculous. Listen, honestly speaking, I’ve had chats with Manny, myself, on Zoom meetings. The funding is there. I’ve had a chat with the investor. The investor said I’ve got the money there. But I dunno what’s going on. I know Manny wants it ’cause obviously Manny has been on the Zoom call with me. So now it’s come to a stage where it’s getting frustrating. ‘You said you wanted to do this on this day, this day,’ but…look, at the moment I’m a banned fighter, ’til April, which I’m trying to fight still.
“I should not be a banned fighter, really, because at the end of the day, what they found in my system, the reason why they gave me a two-year ban and not a four-year ban, because a normal ban would be four years, because … it was unintentional. The only thing is I don’t know how it got into my system.”
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.