x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 29 July 2017

Manny Pacquiao may fight in Abu Dhabi

Talks are underway for the Filipino to fight with either Miguel Cotto or Antonio Margarito around the same time as the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November.

Manny Pacquiao, of the Philippines, could be sparring in Abu Dhabi later this year.
Manny Pacquiao, of the Philippines, could be sparring in Abu Dhabi later this year.

Advisers to Manny Pacquiao have held talks with representatives of the Abu Dhabi royal family over the possibility of staging the Filipino boxer's next fight in the capital. Michael Koncz, the boxer's adviser, and Todd du Boef and Bob Arum of Top Rank Promotions have met a lawyer and a spokesperson for the royal family and flew into the capital on Wednesday to make a final proposal.

They expect to find out on Monday if their bid to stage the fight with Miguel Cotto or Antonio Margarito on November 13 has been accepted. A potential stumbling block could be that the possible bout would coincide with the staging of the Abu Dhabi Formula One Grand Prix - the highlight of the UAE sporting calendar. "The meeting ? went very well," Koncz told FanHouse, a sports website. "We had a meeting with the representatives of the royal family, so we will know on Monday whether the fight will actually move to Abu Dhabi and then, also, we have an opportunity to fight in Mexico," said Koncz.

"All of this, of course, we're only talking about if the next opponent is Antonio Margarito or Miguel Cotto." The move would be made, according to Koncz, only if Pacquiao, 31, does not put his WBO welterweight crown on the line against Floyd Mayweather. The Pacquiao camp has given Mayweather until today to sign the contract for a November bout. "The first thing that we have got to do is wait ? for Floyd Mayweather to make a decision," Koncz said. "We gave a gentleman's agreement that we would do that for Floyd. If Floyd signs, he signs. We've decided that if he doesn't, then we will be fighting either Miguel Cotto or Antonio Margarito."

Arum said that Pacquiao would be going after his record eighth championship in as many weight classes against Cotto, the WBA's junior middleweight champion; or Margarito, who is the No 1 contender for the WBC junior middleweight championship. Margarito and Pacquiao would fight for the WBC title vacated by Sergio Martinez. "I spoke to Miguel Cotto last week and he would take the rematch," Koncz said. "I don't want to get into the terms that we agreed to, but suffice it to say that it was a very productive meeting. Obviously, Margarito would be no problem. Fernando Beltran has him, and he'll agree to reasonable terms."

Koncz added: "Now, it's a question of whether we fight Margarito. We'd love to do that fight in Las Vegas. But if Margarito doesn't get licensed there in Las Vegas, then we have the two other options, Abu Dhabi for the entire card or we have Mexico." Elsewhere. Wladimir Klitschko will defend his heavyweight titles against the Russian Alexander Povetkin on September 11. Klitschko's management group said yesterday that the fight will take place at Frankfurt's Commerzbank Arena. "Povetkin is a very strong opponent," said Klitschko, the Ukrainian boxer, who holds the IBF, WBO and IBO belts. "That we are both Olympic champions speaks for itself. It will be a tough fight, but for me there are no doubts that I will keep my titles."

Povetkin, 30, has won all 19 of his professional bouts. He said yesterday he would "snatch the world champion belts away from Klitschko". Klitschko, 34, has 54 victories in 57 fights. * Agencies