It’s strange to think of Manny Pacquiao ever being the second-best option on the table – any table – yet, where Amir Khan is concerned, it’s probably true.
The former two-weight super-lightweight champion, last seen surviving some rocky spells en route to a win over Samuel Vargas on Saturday (September 8), has long fancied a fight with Pacquiao, for obvious (mostly financial) reasons, but it’s Kell Brook, his British rival, most feel is a more appropriate next opponent for Khan.
Certainly, that’s the view of his promoter, Eddie Hearn. Open to the Pacquiao fight, Hearn is nevertheless determined to push a Khan vs. Brook showdown over the line before the end of the year and wants to do so for a couple of reasons.
“I do want the Brook fight,” he told Boxing News on Wednesday. “I’m not going to say I don’t want the Pacquiao fight, because it’s a great fight, but I’ve always wanted the Kell Brook fight. It’s a massive fight.
“For me, Amir makes more money in the Kell Brook fight than he does in the Pacquiao fight. That doesn’t mean there’s more money in the fight, but, in terms of what Pacquiao wants…
“We’ll see. I understand Amir’s mentality. He’s always wanted to fight Pacquiao. But, for the British fans, it’s unanimous who they want to see. It’s a big fight.”
Despite Khan’s up-and-down performance against Vargas, Hearn is happy with the Bolton man’s progress and even happier with his popularity, something exemplified in the seven-figure Sky Sports audience he attracted last weekend.
“He’s a big name, he’s exciting and people want to watch,” said Hearn. “Why was the rating so high this time? Well, the ratings are continuing to rise for boxing and it came after the England (football) match. The peak didn’t come until the sixth or seventh round, so it showed it wasn’t just a carry on of audience, but that helped.”
Eddie Hearn’s happy. For Amir Khan, that too helps.
This second news story was originally a lament about David Price and his latest withdrawal from a scheduled fight on October 5 in Belfast. Within it, I was going to ponder why he’d pulled out and mention it was his second consecutive cancellation. Express annoyance, perhaps.
But now, of course, there’s no need. In fact, just moments ago, it was announced Price, 22-5 (18), will now fight Sergey Kuzmin on the huge September 22 show at Wembley Stadium, topped by Anthony Joshua vs. Alexander Povetkin.
It’s an upgrade of the highest order, both in terms of opponent (after Sean Turner’s withdrawal, Price was without one) and platform.
— Matchroom Boxing (@MatchroomBoxing) September 13, 2018
This will be Price’s second consecutive Russian on an Anthony Joshua card, following Povetkin in March, and should, on paper at least, be a more winnable task.
Kuzmin, 12-0 (9), is heavy-handed, robust and capable, but has yet to advance beyond the likes of Amir Mansour, Malcolm Tann and Jeremiah Karpency in his four-year pro career. A fight with Price, therefore, will be as much of a risk for him as it will inevitably be for the man from Liverpool.