Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 24 October 2019

Manny Pacquiao’s UAE fight with Amir Khan ‘not going to happen, the deal is dead’

Manny Pacquiao’s proposed “super fight” with Amir Khan will not take place in May in the UAE.
Manny Pacquiao’s proposed fight with Amir Khan will not happen in the UAE or perhaps anywhere else as Bob Arum weighs up other opponents for the Filipino fighter. Steve Marcus / Reuters
Manny Pacquiao’s proposed fight with Amir Khan will not happen in the UAE or perhaps anywhere else as Bob Arum weighs up other opponents for the Filipino fighter. Steve Marcus / Reuters

Manny Pacquiao’s proposed “super fight” with Amir Khan will not take place in May in the UAE.

The Emirates had been the front-runner to host the bout since the clash between the eight-division champion and his former training partner was announced last month, with the Dubai International Stadium believed to be the leading candidate to stage it. The two fighters had originally agreed to an April 23 date, but it was later moved to May 20.

However, promoter Bob Arum insisted late on Tuesday that the deal was dead given the supposed $38 million (Dh139.5m) required to put on the event never materialised from UAE investors. The Top Rank CEO said he has offered Michael Koncz, Pacquiao’s advisor, another potential fight for June or July, and that Koncz was travelling to the Philippines to put that proposal to his client.

Koncz had been driving the push for the UAE bout, telling The National last month that it would definitely take place. That was later corroborated by Khan’s camp.

Yet Arum was quoted in the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday describing the $38m as an “outlandish sum” that “made no sense”.

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Read more

■ Steve Luckings: Why the failed UAE Pacquiao-Khan ‘super fight’ is not surprising

■ Amir Khan: Agrees to date change for UAE fight with Pacquiao

■ Podcast: Pacquiao v Khan the biggest sporting event in UAE history

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“When they contacted me, I told them it was pie in the sky, that this is crazy, it’s not going to happen,” Arum said. “Manny wanted to roll the dice. He rolled the dice and it came up snake eyes. If something is too good to be true, it’s too good to be true.

“That deal is done for now. They were talking to the wrong people.”

Although it remains unlikely, Arum did not rule out the possibility of Pacquiao, 38, and Khan, 30, fighting in the UAE later this year. When the idea of putting on the fight in the UAE was first mooted in January, the original plan had been November or even early 2018, giving the respective camps sufficient time to prepare and the organisers the opportunity to promote it properly.

A possible rescheduling to late June or early July had been mentioned, but given that falls just after Ramadan — Khan is a British-born Muslim — and would take place in an outdoor stadium during the UAE summer, Arum said it was not an option.

Speaking to ESPN.com, he said: “UAE would not happen until November, if it happens at all, but I doubt it will. Michael is on his way back to meet Manny, but it’s [over] for the UAE deal. It’s dead. I’m talking to him about another proposal for another fight, not Khan. Khan won’t be Manny’s next opponent.”

Pacquiao acts as a senator in the Philippines House of Representatives, but returned to the ring last November, sealing a unanimous-decision victory against Jessie Vargas following a short retirement to pursue his career in politics. His record stands at 59-6-2.

Khan, meanwhile, last fought last May, when he suffered a sixth-round knockout to Saul Canelo Alvarez. The Englishman, a two-time world champion, has 31 victories and four defeats.

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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Updated: March 8, 2017 04:00 AM

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