If it ever happens, if United Kingdom star Amir Khan ever fights Pinoy Idol Manny Pacquiao, Coach Freddie Roach may put the blame on me.
I would admit my guilt as I may have planted a seed with the likeable Bolton Lad after Tuesday’s Khan-Paulie Malignaggi press conference at Madison Square Garden.
Charismatic Khan, who unsummarily kicked longtime Hall Of Fame promoter Fearless Frank Warren to the curb and is a Golden Boy fighter now, said he was not keen on a Pacman bout even if he made the move up from junior weterweight.
Kid Khan is not looking to give Coach Roach any needless agita, it seems.
“I have sparred 50, maybe 60 rounds against the great Manny,” Khan told me. “I use how I do with Manny as a gauge of my career and I know Freddie looks it at the way also since he handles us both. I gradually did better with Manny as time went on at the Wild Card.
“But I wouldn’t look to upset Freddie or force him to make any choice. He’s been with Pacquiao so much longer than with me, it wouldn’t be right.”
Pacquiao turned age 31 on December 18 while Khan was just 23 10 days earlier.
I mentioned that all time great trainer Angelo Dundee faced a similar Hobson’s Choice when Muhammad Ali, his star training pupil, fought Jimmy Ellis, who he managed, in the Houston Astrodome. Dundee switched corners that night as he had a bigger stake and obligation to Ali’s longtime Louisville rival, buddy and sparmate. (Ali stopped Ellis in a less than thrilling match.)
“Oh, really,” Khan said, “I didn’t know about that. Interesting, but I don’t think Pacquiao and will ever fight as we’re also at different stages of our careers.”
I quizzed Khan about 17 year old Top Rank-Roach trained Jesse Benavidez who I saw spar with the Olympic silver medalist before Pacman fought Miguel Cotto.
“The kid is talented, no doubt,” Khan said. “I flashed back to my experience at the same age. I was abler to spar with pros, with guys like Ricky Hatton. It was some experience.”
As far as Hatton hanging up the gloves, Khan said it’s the right call for the guy who was flattened by Pacman.
“It’s a danger game so Ricky is doing right now,” Khan said.
Khan and Malignaggi clash May 15 and Garden officials said that “presale tickets” for the WaMu Theater, the smaller arena in the complex, are flying out the ticket window. Golden Boy has added a Nate Campbell-Victor Ortiz co-feature.