Partners turned rivals?

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Tuesday, December 31, 2013


THEY once shared the same trainer, the same gym, helping each other out in preparation for upcoming fights as sparring partners.

If a dream bout with pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. doesn’t push through for British star Amir Khan, he is willing to share the ring with his friend and former sparring mate Manny Pacquiao.

“I’d fight Manny,” Khan said in a report posted on dailymail.co.uk. “Look, it’s business. We are friends and respect each other, but I would definitely consider the fight, and I am sure he would too.”

The 27-year-old Bolton native is the frontrunner as Mayweather Jr.’s next opponent on May 3.

Mayweather Jr. hasn’t decided who to choose and is also considering Marcos Maidana as a possible foe.

After back-to-back losses to Danny Garcia and Lamont Peterson, Khan has won two straight fights, against Carlos Molina and Julio Diaz.

If Khan and Pacquiao decide to face each other, the former light welterweight world champion hopes to bring the fight to Dubai, in which he has a huge following.

“To bring it to Dubai, too, that would be huge. I am ready for whatever. Have I ever turned down a fight? Never. I fight whoever is put in front of me,” said Khan, who shifted trainers from Freddie Roach to Virgil Hunter last year.

Another Pacquiao sparring partner, Ruslan Provodnikov, is also willing to square off with the 35-year-old Filipino superstar inside the ring.

After rejecting the idea of trading leathers with Pacquiao in a real boxing match, the 29-year-old Russian slugger had a change of heart.

“The chances are good that we will meet Pacquiao on April 12. As you know, I originally did not want to fight with the Filipino, because we both trained under the guidance of Freddie Roach. Then, while I was on vacation at a resort – I carefully thought about the situation. And I decided that if fate is giving me the opportunity, then I need to use it. To refuse a fight with such a great boxer is stupid. I’ve always wanted to fight with the best and Pacquiao is at the top of the ceiling. I’m confident in myself. There is no doubt that I can have a real fight with him,” said Provodnikov, who is also trained by Roach at the Wildcard Gym, said in report at boxingscene.com.

Provodnikov is off an impressive 10th round demolition of Mike Alvarado, while Pacquiao bounced back with a 12-round boxing clinic against Brandon Rios.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 01, 2014.

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