It was the In­evitable Fight

The Economic Times - - Sports: The Great Games - Steve Bunce

The fight be­tween Amir Khan and Manny Pac­quiao was guar­an­teed to take­placeat­some­point­fromthe­first time the pair sparred to­gether in Oc­to­ber2008atFred­dieRoach’sgym.

Roach is a harsh man to hire as a new­trainerand­hethrewKhan,who was­fresh­fro­masixty-sec­ond­knock­out loss, to Pac­quiao as a sac­ri­fice on the boxer’s open­ing day in the gym. “Peo­ple in the gym asked me if I was do­ing the right thing,” said Roach. “I was do­ing the only thing; I needed to know if Amir still wanted to be a boxer. I found out he did.”

Khan will fight Pac­quiao on April 23 after an on­line poll re­jected an Aus­tralian called Jeff Horn as Pac­quiao’s next op­po­nent, and voted over­whelm­ingly for a fight against Khan. The fight is set to take place on a Sun­day, which would sug­gest that ei­ther Ma­cau, the gam­bling is­land a short boat jour­ney from Hong Kong, or the UAE is the lo­ca­tion.

In the­ory, Pac­quiao’s WBO wel­ter­weight ti­tle will be the se­condary prize to the cash avail­able, which would mean Khan fight­ing back in a weight di­vi­sion that makes sense; Khan fought in May last year when he gained nearly ten pounds (about 4.5kgs) and lost to Saul Canelo Al­varez at mid­dleweight. “When I sparred with Manny he was dan­ger­ous,” said Khan. “They were hard rounds and I knew then that one day I would fight him. I have been ready­fora­long­time­andIthoughthe was go­ing to avoid me like (Floyd) May­weather.” Khan was twice matched with May­weather and ne­go­ti­a­tions col­lapsed both times.

Pac­quiao has not stopped an op­po­nent since 2009 and dur­ing the last few years there have been poor per­for­mances and in­creas­ing con­cerns about his com­mit­ment to box­ing be­cause of his full-time work as a sen­a­tor in the Philip­pine govern­ment. How­ever,sincetheMay­weath­er­loss, when Pac­quiao suf­fered a shoul­der in­jury, hist­wowin­shave­proved­heis still a top op­er­a­tor.

The match be­tween Amir Khan and Manny Pac­quiao was sure to take place

Amir Khan (in­set) will fight Manny Pac­quiao (above) on April 23 after an on­line poll voted over­whelm­ingly for the fight

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