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Could Amir Khan Fight Manny Pacquiao in 2012?

''There’s tension in the camp.'' says Khan. ''You never know!'' 

Since joining forces with master trainer Freddie Roach in 2009, Bolton's Amir Khan has benefited from literally hundreds of rounds of sparring with the current pound-for-pound best boxer on the planet - the incredible six-weight world champion and current WBO welterweight title holder Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines.

During the past three years, the two have become much more than stablemates and sparring partners – they have become firm friends. Six months ago, suggestions that they would ever meet in the ring would have been laughed at. Freddie Roach himself referred to Pacquiao and Khan as his ''sons''.

However, in boxing as in life, things change. When Khan first joined Roach and Pacquiao, he was just a recently defeated contender, while Pacquiao was already a long established boxing superstar. Now Khan a star in his own right, and the current holder of both the WBA and IBF light welterweight titles, with five successful defenses under his belt. 

Recently Roach admitted that there was a slim chance that Pacquiao and Khan could meet in the ring eventually, although he admitted that if the two did fight each other he would find it hard to watch.

As 24 year old Khan (26-1, 18 KO's) has continued to put on outstanding performances like his recent fifth-round body-shot KO over Zab Judah, and seeing his own star continued to rise ever further, speculation as to a possible matchup between himself and Pacman has began to boil.

Interestingly, recently the Pacquiao camp specifically asked that the Filipino no longer spar with the reigning WBA/IBF light welterweight champion. One can only assume that the thinking behind this demand would be to prevent Khan becoming over-familiar with Pacquiao's fighting style. The old saying ''shutting the gate after the horse has bolted'' springs to mind!

The Khan camp obliged. However, while both men remain stablemates, interestingly Pacquiao is promoted by Bob Arum's Top Rank while Khan is handled by Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions, making the path to a Khan v Pacquiao fight a little clearer. 

When pressed as to which corner he would be in if the two ever did meet in the ring, Roach, who will always answer a direct question, said he would be in Pacquiao's corner.

In a recent interview with the Bolton News, Khan admitted that a tension has been building between the two camps in Roach's famed Wild Card Boxing Club in Hollywood, California.

''It’s strange. There’s tension in the camp. My team are cool and I’m just concentrating on (Lamont) Peterson but his (Pacquiao's) team seem to be worried. His camp don’t want me sparring with him and now we train at different times. It’s like they’re keeping us apart. We still see each other when one comes and the other goes, and have a quick chat, but it’s not how it used to be. It’s like his people are thinking there could be a fight between us.''

Both 32 year old Pacquiao (53-3-2, 38 KO's) and Khan are in intense training for upcoming bouts. Pacquiao defends his title against old rival Juan Manuel Marquez – the reigning WBA/WBO lightweight champion and a man who has given him fits in the ring twice before – at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on November 12.

Khan is in preparation for his upcoming December 11 title defense at the Convention Center in Washington DC against the once beaten local boy Lamont Peterson, the IBF's no.1 contender. It is a fight Khan has said will be his last in the 140 lb class. Khan has recently spoken openly of his desire to box a warm-up fight at 147 pounds, and then take on WBC welterweight champion Floyd Mayweather Jr.

''Manny's never been on my radar. We're good friends and I'd never want to put Freddie and Alex (Ariza) in that position. I would prefer to fight Mayweather but so many fights happened nowadays you just never know.''
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Could Amir Khan Fight Manny Pacquiao in 2012?

''There’s tension in the camp.'' says Khan. ''You never know!'' 

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