With apparent confirmation of the deal for a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan in the United Arab Emirates, which can happen as soon as April of this year, I thought the whole thing was interesting and had started writing notes about the match-up while the news was still just rumors in the periphery. What particularly intrigues me with Pacquiao vs. Khan is their similarities and differences coming in as it’s not the usual young vs. old match-up like Michael Moorer vs. George Foreman.
Take note that it’s not set in stone just yet since they’re still figuring out the venue and the date of April 23 is most likely tossed around to hype things up at the moment. Things like this have happened before wherein everything falls apart later on and fights don’t happen as expected. Therefore, take the news and this post with a grain of salt. With that said, I’m still quite excited for Pacquiao vs. Khan, so I had to write about it.
UPDATE (2017.03.09 5:50AM): The fight has gone to the dogs. Turns out the promise of dirty Dubai money that got these talks started was never there in the first place.
UPDATE (2019.06.25 6:00AM): Over two years later, looks like this rumor is relevant again. Pacquiao’s fight with Keith Thurman fell through.
Pacquiao vs. Khan Comparisons and Contrasts
The two have a lot alike. Both are big names in boxing. Both are known for their speed. Both have their share of fans and haters. Both have become wealthy through boxing. Both trained under Freddie Roach until Khan moved to train under Virgil Hunter in 2012.
Both have been brutally knocked before—Pacquiao by Juan Manuel Marquez back in 2012 and Khan by Canelo Alvarez just nine months ago.
There are also plenty of differences between the two.
One is a Christian from the Philippines, the other is a Muslim from Britain. The former came up the amateur ranks in relative obscurity, while the latter qualified for the 2004 Olympics as Britain’s youngest Olympic boxer and took a silver medal.
The Filipino is a senator who thinks homosexuals are worse than animals and crossdressing leads to criminal behavior. The British Pakistani recently got exposed for masturbating over Skype in an ill-advised bout of libido-fueled tomfoolery, presumably around 3AM.
But the biggest one is the age gap—8 years. That’s a big one when it comes to boxing, especially since they’re both speed-focused fighters. Pacquiao has a decisive advantage in experience, while Khan is just about to reach his physical peak.
What We Know So Far About Pacquiao vs. Khan
There is a video of them sparring, which may tell a few things about this match-up, albeit mostly obsolete information at this point. Freddie Roach has mentioned that Pacquiao used to knock Khan out in sparring all the time. Mind you, this video was most likely from 2008—nine years ago.
You can hear Pacquiao’s seconds giving him instructions in Tagalog. If this really is from 2008, it could be in preparation for fighting against either Juan Manuel Marquez, David Diaz, or Oscar De La Hoya.
Pacquiao has become more strategic as a fighter due to his advancing age and slowing reflexes. After being flattened by Juan Manuel Marquez in their fourth fight, he can’t take as many risks as he used to. Meanwhile, Amir Khan isn’t fighting a powerhouse and is the bigger man this time, thus could better pressure the Filipino than he did with Canelo.
As far as speed goes, the edge most likely goes to the younger fighter. However, it’s not merely speed that makes Pacquiao dangerous, but his masterful feints and movement as a southpaw. Meanwhile, Khan is much like Pacquiao during his younger days, finding his range with swift jabs and then overwhelming his opponents with prodigious speed and numerous combinations.
Khan went to Wild Card in 2008 to curtail his recklessness and refine his defense. He may have since picked up much from Pacquiao. This is what makes the match-up so intriguing as both fighters know each other quite well, but the five-year gap may have resulted in Khan picking up a few more tricks that Pacquiao hasn’t seen before.
Then again, Pacquiao and his camp is surely watching Khan’s fight against Canelo from last year over and over again. That loss is so recent that it could potentially be bad for Khan to have taken this fight, even with all the potential earnings. With two losses in a row, his stock can dramatically go down, even if you can say there’s no shame in losing to an eight-division champion and pound-for-pound great.
I have no idea how much PPV buys Pacquiao vs. Khan will get, but it’s certainly not to sleep on.
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