Talks broke down between the former super-lightweight king and UK rival Kell Brook over split terms of their purses and Khan is moving on in his quest to land a world title shot at welterweight.
In his most recent interview with WBN, Khan said the following about a return:
“I was looking to fight end of December or January but with the hand injury and the healing process, I didn’t want to rush into it,” Khan exclusively told World Boxing News.
“I think I’ll be back out again in March or April next year and I’m happy to go straight into a tough fight. I’ll go for a hard fight as I don’t want to be taking an easy route.
“I’ve just come off a big fight against Canelo, so there’s no point going down a step too much to where I’m going to be taking a tune-up fight. I think I’m passed that now and ready to stay at that top level of boxing.
“I want to fight the top guys being the number one with the WBC. I’m also highly ranked with the WBA so there are few big options open, even with me coming back from injury. But it has to be a big name as I think that’s where I belong. It has to be someone decent and reputable.”
Despite that high ranking with the WBC Khan speaks of, the opportunity to fight for the coveted green and gold belt may not be possible until at least the late summer.
WBN list the main options for Khan below:
Robert Guerrero – Despite Guerrero losing to David Peralta in a shock last summer, ‘The Ghost’ remains a big name and has never been stopped. His performance against Danny Garcia would reflect favorably should Khan decide to go down that route.
Errol Spence Jr – Gazumping Brook to face Spence in an eliminator for the WBC belt would be the ultimate insult for his long-term adversary.
Leonard Bundu – The Italian is in need of a big win after linking up with Al Haymon and Khan would be his last chance to impress the PBC chief.
Shawn Porter or Andre Berto – Rumours are rife Porter and Berto are set to collide at 147 pounds in the spring, although Khan would be an appealing contest for all concerned – against either boxer.
Josesito Lopez – Defeating Todd Manuel in late 2016 put Lopez back in the win column, and having only lost to world champions over the last five years, could be in Khan’s thoughts for this year.
Looking at Khan’s recent record tells us he will probably be pitted against a fellow member of the Premier Boxing Champions team before moving on to a more lucrative bout, probably against the winner of Garcia v Thurman and by the end of 2017.