AMIR Khan is eyeing a showdown with Manny Pacquiao - and believes fighting in Saudi Arabia could help make it happen.

Khan was back in Bolton this week preparing for his WBC Pearl fight with Neeraj Goyat in Jeddah on July 12. The following week in Las Vegas, 40-year-old Pacquiao will challenge Keith Thurman for the WBA World title at 147lb.

A fight between Khan and Filipino Pacquiao has been mooted for some time and with both coming towards the latter stages of their career, would need to happen sooner rather than later.

The Middle East has been touted as a possible venue and Khan says a successful event next month could see that become a reality down the line.

Khan is coming back to action just three months on from his defeat to WBO, and pound-for-pound king, Terrence Crawford and believes a big fight could happen at the end of this calendar year or early in 2020.

The Bolton News: The pair pose for a picture back in 2015The pair pose for a picture back in 2015

“There’s always about that fight and there’s been even more talks lately,” he said of Pacquiao.

“Let’s hope he wins that fight against Thurman, it’s a good fight, and then we’ll see what happens.

“Then hopefully I win and we move on from there.

“Anything can happen in boxing. I have to be switched on and I have been working very hard.

“This is the last chapter of my boxing career and there are very few fights I want left, and I want to take this avenue because I might not get the chance again.”

Khan, who has 33 wins from his 38 fights, says Pacquiao, a 12-time world champion across eight divisions, would help to cement his legacy in what is a packed  record.

He added: “A fight with Manny Pacquiao I think would set up boxing in the Middle East forever.
“It’s such a big fight and that would definitely do it.

“It would be great for me to say that I’ve fought the best up and down the divisions.

“I’ve fought Crawford, Maidana, Judah, sometimes I look at the list of fighters I’ve fought and think ‘wow’ and have to sometimes pinch myself.

“There would be two big names. Normally when it’s like that it’s in Vegas so to have that in the Middle East would be huge for boxing and hopefully lead to them hosting more championship fights in the future.”

The fight with Goyat has drawn criticism, with the Indian fighter having won 11 and lost three of his 14 fights, with only two knockouts, against unknown opponents.

Khan is refusing to write off the challenge however, and after defeat to Crawford, believes he is deserving of such a level of fight as he looks to come back and get used to working under a new coaching set-up of trainer Clarence ‘Bones’ Adams and strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza.

And the 32-year-old sees plenty of benefits in fighting in Saudi Arabia, for himself, and the long-term benefits of boxing in the country.

The Bolton News:

“We could have taken this fight elsewhere and made even more money and known it was 100 per cent going to be right,” said Khan.

“It’s a risk. Is it going to work fighting in Saudi Arabia?

“We have to show the world where Saudi Arabia is in boxing.

“That’s one of the reasons why I’m taking this fight, so soon, because I know the bigger picture at the end of it.

“There could be a big name at the end of the year or early next year where we fight a big name, it could be a world title fight, and it could be in Saudi Arabia.

“We had talks with all the top ministers and Saudi Arabia is so behind it in terms of boxing.

"I couldn’t believe when I was sat with them, they back boxing so much and want to be 100 per cent behind it.

“They don’t want to do one show, they want to do many shows. 

"We want to give them the commitment that we’ll do one and show them how good it is.”