In a year that could be filled with significant Bolton sporting milestones – there looks likely to be a major one in the ring.

A journey that started in earnest in Athens in 2004, in terms of being in the public eye at the very least, could end by the time 2020 becomes 2021.

Olympic silver medallist, unified world champion, all roads lead to Amir Khan having his last dance in the next 12 months.

There were calls for the 33-year-old to call it quits after his slightly bizarre defeat to Terence Crawford at Madison Square Garden in New York last April, Khan’s WBO World welterweight title bid coming up short after he was on the receiving end of a low blow.

He has rebounded, of sorts, professional win number 34 coming against an over-matched Billy Dib in Saudi Arabia in July.

That, in Khan’s thinking for sure, has set up for more big nights under the bright lights.

“I am in a position where I can fight the top fighters that bring a lot of money to the table and I am very lucky to be in that position,” he told this newspaper in November.

“I can go to America, or go back to Saudi Arabia and do a fight there or I do a big fight in the UK.”

His next outing will be his 40th in the paid ranks and as much as, rightly or wrongly, he divides opinion among fight fans and in his home town, there is no doubting that he has options aplenty as he navigates a route out of the most brutal of endeavours.

One name that will not go away, despite the fact a meeting has undoubtedly dipped below the level of the British superfight it once was, is Kell Brook.

The Bolton News:

Having not fought since December 2018, the Sheffield favourite will be back in the ring in February when he looks to shake off some ring rust and make a statement against American Mark DeLuca.

Victory, especially an emphatic one, would set the 33-year-old up for a big fight in the summer with another shot at a world title or a meeting with Khan, the pair having been far from cordial down the years, all that is keeping ‘Special K’ going.

After years of talking, now it would appear they need each other more than ever.

Yes, they both have different routes they can follow, but the most lucrative and fan friendly way for both to likely bring the curtain down on their careers is to face one another.

Eddie Hearn, Brook’s long-time promoter and someone who has worked with Khan over the last couple of years, believes it could still happen in a football stadium this summer.

There will be issues, it has always been thus, but they are not ones that will bother the average punter who, if they can’t enjoy a boozy night ringside, is likely to be more than happy to fork out £19.99 to watch the action on pay-per-view.

Debates will centre around purse splits and more crucially in a sporting aspect what weight the fight is contested at.

In the release announcing his return, Brook says he is ready to compete at both welterweight and super-welterweight, or light-middleweight in old money.

That 154lb class will likely prove a step too far for Khan, a more natural 147lb fighter than Brook who on more than one occasion has appeared to have outgrown it. Even if all obstacles can be overcome, the reality is that there is probably another fight higher on Khan’s agenda.

Another name never too far from his has been that of Filipino great Manny Pacquiao.

The Bolton News:

For a seeming eternity, the Bolton fighter has wanted to step through the ropes with either the eight-weight world champion or his long-time rival, a certain Floyd Mayweather Jnr.

Khan came close, really close, to facing the latter at one point but now has his eyes firmly on Pacquiao.

After his Saudi win against Dib, he even went as far as to announce that the fight was signed for the Gulf in November.

It was swiftly denied by the 41-year-old’s camp, who were rather confused by the whole event, with the first fighter to hold world titles in four different decades going on to beat Keith Thurman.

As he divides his time between the Philippine Senate and the ring, Pacquiao will have his pick of fights when it comes to his next move.

As proven by Anthony Joshua taking his rematch with Andy Ruiz Jnr to Saudi Arabia last month, meeting Khan in the Arab state will take some beating financially though.

Khan has also talked up the possibility of facing other world champions or avenging one of his five career losses in particular, the fourth-round knockout against Danny Garcia back in 2012.

Two names keep coming to the fore though and meeting either Brook or Pacquiao would potentially be truly legacy defining.

Although one could argue that for a fighter who has already shared the ring with, and beaten some great fighters, that should not be an issue for the baby-faced Olympian turned headline attraction at home and abroad.