As we seem to be rapidly approaching an announcement that will make a March 13 fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao an official reality, both men are potentially lining up some great sparring, and some of it could result in a really intriguing fight to boot.
There have been some mild rumblings that former Mayweather opponent Zab Judah may help Mayweather in training -- if the price is right. Judah, for all his flaws and faults and annoyances, is a very proud guy and still sees himself as a top fighter, and not a sparring partner. But his on-again, off-again friendship with Mayweather and his excellent style comparison would make him a wonderful sparring partner for Floyd.
And then there's Amir Khan, who will apparently be the chief sparring partner for Manny Pacquiao in the upcoming training camp in Baguio City. Khan just blew past Dmitriy Salita in 76 seconds on December 5, and with his speed, is about as good as a sparring partner could get for Pacquiao outside of Shane Mosley, who obviously is busy.
Although on that last point, Freddie Roach is now saying they'll try to get Andre Berto (Mosley's Jan. 30 opponent) in for some sparring if possible. If Berto loses to Mosley, it's unlikely he'd want to get back into sparring with a guy like Pacquiao that quickly (if he wanted to at all), and if he wins, frankly he might be in line to fight the Pacquiao-Mayweather winner later in 2010, so that'd probably shut that down, too.
There's also talk of Khan fighting Judah, which could be a magnificent undercard bout with plenty of story behind it on the March 13 PPV. For now take it with a 140-pound grain of salt, because Judah is constantly looking here, there and everywhere for someone to fight. He's called out Juan Urango, Berto and Khan in recent months, among others, and all he did in 2009 was sit around, duck Matthew Hatton, and fight a bum who hadn't fought in years on a tiny PPV.
Khan-Judah is a compelling matchup even without the potential backdrop that both served as main sparring partners for Mayweather and Pacquiao, because Khan, while impressive when he wins, still has never beaten anyone as good as Judah can be when Judah feels like being that guy. Khan is among the fastest guys in the sport, but so is Judah, even aged. And Judah has years of experience and has fought guys like Mayweather that can at least meet Khan's speed.
Also for Khan and promoter Frank Warren, this situation would be one you could not pass up. They want to get him introduced to American audiences. What better way than to stick him on the show that might potentially break all the records? Khan-Judah would wind up being an impressive performance for the winner no matter who it was, just because that's how it would seem it has to play out. Someone's speed is overwhelming the other guy at some point, and good action is bound to come out before then. It's a potentially explosive matchup.
I wouldn't expect any of this to happen besides Khan sparring with Pacquiao, because Khan has done that for a while now. But doesn't it just sound like a lot of fun?