Boxing / Ahead of Title Defense With 'Star of David,' Champ Rules Out Fight Against Pacquiao

WBA light-welterweight champion Amir Khan said yesterday it is unlikely that he will ever fight stable-mate and pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao. "I'm sure by the time I get to that level he will be calling it a day. We train in the same camp and I've got too much respect for Manny to fight him," Khan told the BBC.

The 22-year-old Bolton native of Pakistani descent will make the first defense of his title belt against Dmitriy Salita in Newcastle on December 5.

Salita, 27, is an Orthodox Jewish boxer based in Brooklyn with a 30-0-1 record, including 16 knockouts. The Ukraine-born fighter is known ringside as the "Star of David."

On Saturday, Pacquiao became a five-weight world champion after brutally defeating Miguel Cotto in Las Vegas in their WBO welterweight title fight.

The undercard of that fight featured Yuri Foreman - like Salita, an Eastern-European born Orthodox Jewish boxer now based in Brooklyn - being crowned WBA junior middleweight champion over Puerto Rico's Daniel Santos on points.

Foreman's performance raised the profile for Salita's upcoming fight, even if the Odessa native's stellar record is enough to speak for itself.

Khan joined Freddie Roach's 'Wild Card' gym in Los Angeles after his 60-second defeat by Breidis Prescott in September 2008. His partnership with Roach has seen him become a close training partner of Pacquiao.

Khan was ringside to see the Filipino's 12-round demolition of Cotto. Asked about Pacquiao's sublime performance, the Briton said: "Me and Manny train together, we have the same trainer and everything. I totally respect him and what a great performance he produced at the weekend.

"He was amazing, I was there to watch the fight and it inspires you. When you see a great champion do that and think about the fact I was training with the guy for five weeks, to pick up even a little bit of experience from that is going to help me in my career," Khan said.