Fresh off his latest snub from Floyd Mayweather, former unified junior welterweight champion Amir Khan is hopeful his next opponent will be Manny Pacquiao.
Khan (31-1, 19 KOs) campaigned hard for a potential Mayweather matchup on Sept. 12 in Las Vegas -- but Mayweather, as he has done multiple times now, elected to pass over Khan in favor of what figures to be a less dangerous opponent in Andre Berto.
Earlier this year, Top Rank founder Bob Arum expressed interest in promoting a fight between Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs) and Khan, who is managed by Al Haymon. Arum also has discussed promoting a November fight card in Dubai, a market in which Pacquiao would be very well-received.
Khan is coming off a unanimous decision over Chris Algieri on May 29 and says a fight against Pacquiao, while not quite the magnitude as one against Mayweather, would be "one of the biggest" of his career.
"Obviously, I want to become a world champion again and I want to be in the biggest fights in boxing," Khan told ESPN.com. "There was talk about a Manny Pacquiao fight happening and I believe Manny did say, 'Yeah, I'll fight Amir Khan.' I have a lot of respect for Manny Pacquiao. We trained in America together and we were sparring partners. We're still friends. Unlike Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao is more of a man, saying he will fight me even when it's a dangerous fight for him.
"Honestly, I stay out of the negotiations but last I heard, there were talks about it maybe happening in Dubai. If it ends up being the Manny Pacquiao fight, it would be amazing to have it happen in late November or December. If not that soon, maybe next year."
Of course, the fight would require a rare working relationship between Top Rank and Haymon. Khan, who parted ways with Pacquiao's longtime trainer Freddie Roach in 2012 after a four-year partnership, is confident the two sides could come to an agreement as long as the fighters want the matchup.
"I think if both fighters are happy to make the fight happen, then it's always possible," Khan said. "My team would be happy to take that fight and it seems to me his team wants it. I leave it up to Al Haymon, if he thinks it's the right choice for me.
"Me and Manny are both fighters. We'll fight each other any time, anywhere. We'll leave it to our teams, but I really think this fight can happen."
Pacquiao hasn't fought since suffering a decision loss to Mayweather on May 5, in what was the most lucrative fight in boxing history. Shortly after, Pacquiao underwent surgery on his right shoulder, which he said was injured going into the decision loss.
It was the Filipino star's third loss in six appearances, however Khan says he doesn't believe Pacquiao's skills are in decline.
"I still think he's a great fighter," Khan said. "I don't think he was a good fighter against Mayweather, he got the tactics wrong a little bit. Manny is a fighter who needs to throw combinations and Mayweather sort of took that away with his movement. I think having the shoulder injury as well, that was kind of in the back of [Pacquiao's] mind."
As far as that long-awaited fight against Mayweather (48-0, 26 KOs) goes, Khan will be forced to watch Berto, a current teammate of his under trainer Virgil Hunter, get it first. Mayweather, 38, has said the Sept. 12 bout will be the final act of his career. Khan remains hopeful that won't be the case.
"Mayweather not picking me again, I mean, it just shows he is afraid," Khan said. "I've been calling him out for a long, long time now. I couldn't argue against his decision to do the Pacquiao fight, but when he picks Marcos Maidana ahead of me, who I've already beaten, and now someone like Berto -- it does upset me in a sense because it is the biggest fight of my life and I really wanted it. Floyd is all about money and by fighting me, he would generate a lot of money -- but he doesn't seem interested.
"I hope [Mayweather doesn't retire]. I still want my chance. I still want to fight him and prove to the world there is a guy out there who can beat him. I mean, what's the point in retiring and having the same record as Rocky Marciano's 49-0? I'm sure he would want to do one better."