British welterweight Amir Khan claims he is leading the race to be declared as opponent for Manny Pacquiao's final professional bout before he retires next year. The former WBO champion, who has not fought since undergoing shoulder surgery after his defeat to Floyd Mayweather in May, plans to call it quits in 2016 in order to focus on his political career in the Phillipines Senate.
"I am the front-runner," Khan, who notched his fifth consecutive victory against Chris Algieri in Brooklyn earlier this year, confirmed to BBC Sport. "Manny Pacquiao makes a good story because we've been training partners and I've been with his coach Freddie Roach.
"There's a big chance of the fight happening, it's all about making sure my team is on point with the deal and they need to make sure they get the fight that I want. It would be Manny Pacquiao's last fight and end his career in a big way, not like Floyd Mayweather where, no disrespect to (Andre) Berto, but I think Floyd finished his career on a low note."
With Mayweather seemingly set to stay retired for the foreseeable future and resist the temptation to surpass legendary heavyweight Rocky Marciano's record of 49 unbeaten career contests, talk of a potential meeting between Khan and Pacquiao in the Middle East have been on the cards for some time now. However, he is not the only candidate being considered with Terence Crawford doing his chances of securing the fight no harm at all with an impressive stoppage of Dierry Jean last weekend.
The American signalled to Bob Arum after his 27th consecutive victory that he was ready to open negotiations, with Pacquiao's promoter, stating: "It would be one hell of a fight. The next step is for Manny to review the tapes from tonight's fight, and we also have to wait for the result of November 7 [Timothy Bradley v Brandon Rios], then we'll regroup after that."
If Khan's wish for a duel against Pacquiao is not granted, then a possible rematch against Danny Garcia - the man who inflicted his third defeat back in 2012 - is likely to be a possibility. A similar contest with Lamont Peterson has also been mentioned, while there would certainly be an appetite to see the Olympic silver medallist prioritise his ongoing feud with fellow Briton Kell Brook with a lucrative bout on home soil.
Speaking specifically about Brook, Khan claims he was looking for the IBF champion to prove himself against a higher calibre of fighter following wins against Jo Jo Dan and Frankie Gavin. He added: "My body's taken all the wear and tear where I'm fighting the best fighters in the world and he's not even fighting half of them. I want him to prove himself so it's a big fight, we go into the ring 50-50 and it's a massive fight not only for Great Britain but around the world."