Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 August 2019

Manny Pacquiao rules out Amir Khan fight in Saudi Arabia as return to Senate beckons after beating Keith Thurman

Filipino champion successfully defended his WBA welterweight world title against Keith Thurman before insisting his next fight will not be until 2020

Manny Pacquiao appeared to rule out the prospect of fighting Amir Khan in Saudi Arabia later this year after defeating Keith Thurman on Saturday night.

Pacquiao claimed the 62nd win of his 71-fight professional career when he beat Thurman via a split decision at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, retaining his WBA welterweight world title in the process.

Post-fight, Pacquiao was asked if he plans to fight again this year, to which the Philippines senator said: "I think my next fight will probably be next year. After this fight I am going back to the Philippines to start work again in the Senate."

Pressed on which opponents he could target for his next fight - which would be the third of his three-fight contract with Premier Boxing Champions - Pacquiao said he plans to be ringside for the welterweight world unification fight between Errol Spence Jr and Shawn Porter in Los Angeles in September.

"Yes, I will be going there to watch the fight," he said.

Pacquiao spoke to Porter on Fox Sports, with the American saying he was keen to create his own "wow moment" with the Filipino after he has fought Spence.

Pacquiao's stance following his win over Thurman makes Khan's claims that a fight has been signed for November 8 in Riyadh all the more questionable.

Britain's two-time world champion, who earlier this month bounced back from his April defeat to Terence Crawford by stopping Billy Dib in the fourth round of their WBC international welterweight fight in Jeddah, said last week: "The next fight is going to be back in Saudi Arabia again, Riyadh this time. It’s going to be November 8.

“Signed off and done, to get Manny Pacquiao is amazing. To have him sign that dotted line is brilliant. No matter how he does against Thurman, I still think it’s a big fight.”

Pacquiao’s publicist Fred Sternburg told The National on the same day of Khan's announcement that “Manny has not signed a contract for that fight.”

Instead of concerning himself about potential future fights, Pacquiao was keen to focus on his most recent achievement and praised Thurman for providing a tough challenge.

"It was fun," Pacquiao said. "My opponent is a good fighter and boxer. He was strong. I want to clap my opponent. He's very tough. He can fight. This guy is a warrior."

Thurman meanwhile had few complaints in defeat, embracing Pacquiao after the final bell in recognition of an epic contest.

"I knew it was too close," Thurman said. "He got the knockdown so he had momentum in round one.

"This was a beautiful night of boxing. I wish I had a little bit more output to go toe to toe. I felt like he was getting a little bit tired, but he did have experience in the ring. I would love the rematch."

Updated: July 21, 2019 01:06 PM

SHARE

SHARE

Editor's Picks