Khan eyes Pacquiaio; Provodnikov talk 'complete nonsense'

Amir Khan is hoping to get a chance against Manny Pacquiao early next year. Dave Thompson/Getty Images

For the past few weeks, one of the strongest rumors in boxing -- a sport where rumors somehow are factual to many -- has been that welterweight contender Amir Khan, a former unified junior welterweight titleholder, was going to fight former junior welterweight titlist Ruslan Provodnikov on Nov. 7 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.

That would be, of course, an interesting fight that would pit Khan’s speed and skills against the sheer power and aggressiveness of Provodnikov, who is coming off April's decision loss to Lucas Matthysse in a leading fight-of-the-year candidate.

However, Khan told ESPN.com in very strong terms, the rumor is not true.

“Nah, complete nonsense, mate,” Khan said. “We going for [Manny] Pacquiao. In talks.”

Khan, blatantly passed over three times by Floyd Mayweather, who dangled the fight at Khan time and again, may instead land a fight with Pacquiao early next year.

He plans to sit out the rest of this year and then hopes to face Pacquiao in February or March. Khan knows Pacquiao well from their time training with Freddie Roach.

Top Rank promoter Bob Arum, who promotes Pacquiao, confirmed that Khan is the top target for Pacquiao’s return to the ring since his loss to Mayweather in May and subsequent rotator cuff surgery. Of course, Khan is with adviser Al Haymon. He and Arum are bitter rivals and Arum is suing him for $100 million related to his creation of Premier Boxing Champions.

But Arum and Khan (31-3, 19 KOs) both told ESPN.com that wouldn’t be a hindrance in making a fight with Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs). Arum said he has been dealing directly with Khan’s father and uncle, who are closely involved in his business. Khan confirmed that arrangement.

“We deal with Top Rank,” Khan said. “Al is cool with it if it makes sense for his fighter.”

Khan is coming off a good performance in a decision win in May against former junior welterweight titlist Chris Algieri, who controversially outpointed Provodnikov and then got dropped six times in a one-sided beating by Pacquiao.