Roach: Khan can become next superstar

FREDDIE ROACH predicts Amir Khan will become boxing’s next superstar by emulating the popularity of Manny Pacquiao.

Khan became unified world light-welterweight champion when he demolished respected American Zab Judah inside five rounds at the Mandalay Bay Events Centre early yesterday morning.

Hall of Fame trainer Roach believes the 24-year-old has the attributes to emerge as the sport’s dominant personality.

“In my mind he can be the next Manny Pacquiao, there’s no doubt about that,” said Roach. “I think he can succeed Manny as the next pound-for-pound champion. He’s struggling a little bit to make the 140lbs weight and when he moves up to 147lbs he will be stronger, more powerful and more resilient.”

Beating Floyd Mayweather would launch Khan’s profile into the stratosphere and Golden Boy, his promoters, have pencilled in that showdown for late next year. But Roach believes Khan needs just one more fight before facing Mayweather, who meets Victor Ortiz on September 17.

“I do believe Amir’s speed can trouble Mayweather but Mayweather is a very good boxer and is very slick,” said Roach. “We’d love to take on the winner of his fight with Ortiz. But it can’t happen right away, so I’d like to slip one more fight in there before then.

“We will fight again in December and then maybe go for Mayweather.

“I’d really like for Amir to clean up at light-welterweight and unify those titles first, because that hasn’t been done in a long time.”

Unifying the division means crossing swords with WBC and WBO champion Timothy Bradley, who had verbally agreed to fight Khan only to pull out despite being offered favourable terms. It is doubtful a fight with Bradley can be made but Roach still wants the 27-year-old from Palm Springs and is less keen on Mexican great Erik Morales.

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