LONDON • Britain's Amir Khan is reported to have signed an agreement to fight Manny Pacquiao next year, which set pulses and alarm bells ringing simultaneously.
The Daily Mail said the former world champion "has agreed terms in every last detail" for a fight against the eight-division boxing champion on April 9 in Las Vegas.
The document has apparently reached the Filipino's promoter, Bob Arum, and there is no reason to believe he would not view it favourably.
It is a fight with plenty of history, given the fighters were once training partners at Freddie Roach's Wild Card gym in Hollywood and then grew apart when Khan fell out with Roach before joining Andre Ward's mentor, Virgil Hunter.
"Our paperwork went off to Arum on Friday and every point is covered," Khan's father and chief adviser, Shah Khan, said.
Pacquiao is in rehabilitation after injuring a shoulder in May on the eve of his defeat by Floyd Mayweather, a fight that proved to be one of boxing's great delayed let-downs.
He has been pencilled in for an April return with no fixed opponent, although Khan's name was in the mix, along with those of Tim Bradley and Terence Crawford, the latter an attractive but extremely dangerous match-up, the former not exactly blinding box office.
So Khan was a logical banker for Arum to maximise Pacquiao's return. However, the British boxer has been down this road before, with no result at the end of it.
In December 2013, he signed an agreement to fight Mayweather. The only problem was the American had signed nothing - and dodged Khan to fight Marcos Maidana, whom the Briton had already beaten.
There were further reports at about that time that Khan might also fight Pacquaio, feeding on the animosity between him and Roach, but that is pretty much a dead issue now.
Of more concern to supporters of the British fighter is his seeming trust in the promises of the business's main movers and shakers.
"We have been here before with Mayweather," Shah Khan admitted, "so, while we are confident the contract will be back with us in the next few days, we are holding the second Saturday in January as a fall-back date for an alternative fight."
That seems a far more likely route to follow, and his opponent then will probably be Danny Garcia, who ripped away his light-welterweight title in 2012 to instigate the messiest passage of Khan's career.