Shortly after his grand arrival to the city of Las Vegas on Tuesday afternoon, I had a few words with recently-reinstated WBA junior welterweight champion Amir Khan ahead of his HBO-televised bout with Danny Garcia. Khan faces off with the brash Philadelphian inside of the Mandalay Bay in a fight he is expected to win but one that isn’t without some danger.
One day later, after leaving the Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.-Sergio Martinez press stop at the Wynn, I again hit up the Mandalay Bay, and was fortunate enough to swing through shortly before Khan started his open media workout at the Mizuya Lounge. There were a few more questions that I wanted to run by the British star, specifically pertaining to his stable mate Manny Pacquiao’s controversial split-decision loss to Timothy Bradley last month.
Inside of the MGM Grand on June 9th, Pacquiao, who was looking to make a fourth successful defense of his WBO welterweight belt, got off to a strong start against Bradley and seized command of the action. Pacquiao appeared to do enough over twelve rounds to take the fight yet it would be Bradley who would walk away victorious after seeing two of the three 115-113 scorecards go his way.
For Khan, there was no doubt who really prevailed.
“I believe Manny Pacquiao won that fight,” said Khan. “Manny’s a good friend of mine, we train together and everything. I think it was just a shame. I only had him losing three rounds in that fight.”
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum was so irate with the Pacquiao-Bradley verdict that he motioned to have an investigation into the judging of the fight. Khan couldn’t rule out something shady taking place, pointing to his own personal tribulations against Lamont Peterson during their duel this past December in Washington, D.C.
“I think a little bit of corruption may have been involved,” Khan stated of the Pacquiao-Bradley melee. “The same with my fight with Lamont Peterson; I think corruption may have been involved. But we never got to the bottom of it but things happen for a reason. Justice will still be done for Manny Pacquiao. I still believe that Manny Pacquiao’s still the best fighter in the world.”
Khan was set to face Peterson on May 19th but saw the rematch fall apart after Lamont failed a pre-fight drug test, as he was found to have synthetic testosterone in his system. There was a huge letdown immediately after learning of the fight’s demise and Khan hasn’t fully gotten over it.
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“It still upsets me because it’s so bad. I think it’s bad for boxing,” said Khan. “Boxing is doing so well, we’ve got great champs like Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, and myself, and we should be [making] boxing big but little things like this, it just puts boxing back a little it. We need to clean up the sport and this testing now, I think it is cleaning up the sport. We don’t want MMA taking over; we never want that to happen.”
It was around this time last year that Khan was begging for a fight of his own with Bradley, a duel that would have served as ultimate bragging rights at 140 pounds. Bradley would pass on the fight, opting instead to let his contract with Gary Shaw run out so he could later join Top Rank and pursue the more lucrative Pacquiao clash.
Just because their career paths have drastically changed, Khan isn’t looking past an eventual meeting with Bradley.
“Definitely,” Khan would answer when asked if Bradley still interests him. “You know, I offered him twice. He didn’t want to fight me. I think he knew that there was only going to be one winner in there. But look, I’m happy to fight him after this fight. I’m happy to fight him for the WBO title and take back what belongs to the Wild Card gym.
“He was very beatable,” Khan would continue when asked what weaknesses he sees in Bradley’s recent performance. “And Manny, I believe, could have knocked him out. He had him there and just played around with him.”
As far as Pacquiao’s future, Khan still has high esteem for his friend and hints that a fourth meeting with Juan Manuel Marquez may be his best move.
“Manny’s still, in my eyes, the best fighter in the world,” Khan stated. “Just take some time off, spend with family and friends. And then maybe sign up and fight, maybe Marquez; I think it would be a great fight. Maybe a rematch with Bradley and this time I think he’d knock him out.”
Reader’s note: For an exclusive look into the world of boxing in videos, including excluvises on Manny Pacquiao, Nonito Donaire, Roy Jones Jr., Juan Manuel Marquez, Tim Bradley, Marco Antonio Barrera, Robert Garcia, the Mayweather Boxing Club, and much more, please visit Chris Robinson’s CRHarmony YouTube Page
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Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. He can be reached at Trimond@aol.com, www.Twitter.com/CRHarmony, and www.Youtube.com/CRHarmony