Gerry Peñalosa wants Amir Khan for Manny Pacquiao
Joaquin M. Henson (The Philippine Star) - January 10, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — If Sen. Manny Pacquiao is shopping for an opponent in a tune-up preparatory to a big fight, former WBC superflyweight and WBO bantamweight champion Gerry Peñalosa said 2004 Olympic silver medalist Amir Khan is the perfect choice.

Pacquiao has hinted that he’ll fight again in April, his first since losing the WBO welterweight crown to Jeff Horn in Brisbane last July. Neither an opponent nor a venue has been mentioned but the speculation is it will be held in China where Pacquiao visited thrice last year. It’s no secret that Pacquiao has attempted to lure Horn into a rematch, even dangling a $3 Million purse for a return duel at the Philippine Arena. But Horn has resisted the temptation of a big payday to play safe, preferring instead to earn $750,000 in his first title defense against Englishman Gary Corcoran before 4,000 fans in a Brisbane auditorium last November. 

Peñalosa said Khan, the former WBA/IBF superlightweight ruler, would be easy to prepare for because Pacquiao is familiar with his style as they were former sparmates. “I think Manny can knock him out,” said Peñalosa. “Khan has a glass jaw. I know that Manny hasn’t stopped an opponent since (Miguel) Cotto in 2009 so he’s overdue. After Manny beats Khan, he can go for a last fight, maybe against (Floyd) Mayweather. My opinion is Manny has two fights left before retiring. I don’t want him to risk his health by fighting longer than he should.”

Peñalosa said Pacquiao’s hectic schedule as a senator is taking a toll. “It’s difficult for Manny to train 100 percent for a fight anymore because he attends to his responsibilities as a senator,” he said. “Heart and desire are important for a fighter to succeed. What I like about Manny’s situation now is he’s on his own. He doesn’t have to go through Top Rank. I felt Manny was set up in his fight against Horn. I hope that doesn’t happen again.”

Khan, 31, hasn’t seen action since he was rendered unconscious by Canelo Alvarez in May 2016. He said he wants to fight a tune-up in England in March then take on former IBF welterweight ruler Kell Brook in September before a championship bout in December. Pacquiao doesn’t seem to be in his horizon. Khan said he will make an announcement on his fight plans soon.

Khan, who stands 5-8 1/2 and has a 71-inch reach, totes a record of 31-4, with 19 KOs. He turned pro in 2005, raced to an 18-0 card then was knocked out in one round by Colombia’s Breidis Prescott. Khan has also lost to Lamont Peterson (split decision), Danny Garcia (fourth round knockout) and Alvarez. Pacquiao, 39, has a record of 59-7-2, with 38 KOs.

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