Boxing ace Amir Khan has hailed Manny Pacquiao as one of the greatest ever.
The Filipino superstar (57-6-2-KO38) is set to call time on his illustrious career when he faces Timothy Bradley on Saturday night at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
And Bolton’s Khan says the eight-time world champion has to be regarded as one of the best of his generation.
“What Manny has achieved in boxing is incredible,” Khan told Premier Sports. “If he does call it a day, he can look back and be very proud of what he achieved, because very few fighters have done what he has.
“He has been in top fights, won a lot of world titles and has fought for everything to get to where he has, so I have nothing but respect for that.
“It’s clear that he is one of the best fighters of this generation and I wish him nothing but the best if he does end his career against Bradley.”
The 29-year-old Briton, who is lined up to face Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in a megafight at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas next month for the middleweight world title, was in the running to be Pacquiao’s opponent this time around.
However, despite intense negotiations the fight never materialised, much to Khan’s disappointment.
“You always want to test yourself against the best and Manny is still one of the best around,” he said. “It’s a fight we tried to make happen between us but for some reason or other it never came about.
“My team met with Bob Arum in London and we had agreed everything but it didn’t happen. It would have been a great fight but we both have other big fights coming up, so we are focused on them.
“I have no doubt it would have been an explosive fight but I wish Manny luck in his fight with Bradley.”
Pacquiao, 37, will meet Californian 32-year-old Bradley (33-1-1-KO13) in a rubber match following previous meetings in 2012 and 2014.
Five-time world champion Bradley controversially won the first one before Pacquiao bounced back to win their second meeting in style, with this weekend’s clash set to be the decider.
Khan has picked the Philippines congressman to come out on top, despite acknowledging the improvements in Bradley.
“I think the fight will be closer this time around but Manny will have too much in the end,” he said. “It will be interesting to see how he bounces back from his shoulder injury though and what sort of affect that will have on him.
“Bradley has improved under Teddy Atlas but it takes time to really get to know each other and they’ve only been together for one fight, so it’s still early in their relationship.
“I’m interested to see what they have up their sleeve for this fight but I’m sure Manny will be able to deal with it.”