Three years ago this month, Amir Khan thought he’d won the lottery after being voting in as Floyd Mayweather’s next opponent for May 2014. Unfortunately for the Briton, he never landed the encounter as Marcos Maidana was eventually chosen for the fight.
Fast forward to 2017, and a similar poll has taken place for the chance to fight Manny Pacquiao in the United Arab Emirates, once again with Khan coming out on top – this time by a handsome margin.
The question is, will he get the fight?
Australia’s Jeff Horn was thought to have the contest in the bag for Brisbane on April 23, only for Pacquiao to continually ask the fans for their opinion and seemingly dismissing the fight out of hand. Horn does get a mention in Pacquiao’s recent election process, but with a minimal seven percent of the voters backing the top-rated welterweight to be in the opposite corner this spring.
Kell Brook – who came second, is now ruled out due to his mandatory fight with Errol Spence, whilst super-lightweight king Terence Crawford remains the only other option of the four-man shortlist.
The Khan fight is an intriguing one as the pair have history from their days together at Freddie Roach’s Wild Card Gym, with most at the time – including their trainer, believing a future fight was inevitable.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum favoured giving Horn his chance due to a link-up with Duco Events in December, although Pacquiao may take more convincing on the back of Khan’s triumph in the voting process.
A clash against Crawford had already been pencilled in for the end of this year as the American bids to grow into the 147 pound limit, leaving Khan and Horn as the two main protagonists moving forward.
Last May, Khan was forced to move out of his comfort zone in order to face Canelo, whilst a Pacquiao fight would be seen as a more realistic chance of scoring the career-defining win he craves.
A decision is due any moment as the supposed April date is coming around fast, and with Khan free to negotiate following the collapse of a UK super-fight with Brook, the one-time 140 pound king could now be in pole position to land the Pacquiao opportunity.