Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 14 July 2020

Manny Pacquiao's team deny contract is signed to fight Amir Khan in Riyadh

British fighter told media in England that both parties had agreed to meet one another in Saudi Arabia on November 8

Manny Pacquiao's representatives have denied the Filipino has signed a contract to fight Amir Khan in Saudi Arabia later this year.

Earlier on Tuesday, Khan told media in England that both parties had agreed to meet one another in Riyadh on November 8, although the bout could be dependent on Pacquiao’s clash with Keith Thurman this weekend.

Boxing's only eight-division world champion, now 40, faces the undefeated American in a WBA world welterweight title match in Las Vegas on Saturday (Sunday UAE time).

However, when contacted for a response to Khan’s comments, Pacquiao’s publicist Fred Sternburg told The National: “Manny has not signed a contract for that fight.”

Khan, 32, fought in Jeddah on Friday, when he stopped Australia’s Billy Dib in the fourth round of their WBC International Welterweight title bout. After the fight, Khan said he hoped to return to The Kingdom to take on Pacquiao.

On Tuesday, the British boxer told PA Sport: “The next fight is going to be back in Saudi Arabia again, Riyadh this time. It’s going to be November 8. Hopefully it could be the Manny Pacquiao fight: we have both signed that the fight is done. Hopefully he gets past his fight this weekend.”

The BBC also quoted Khan as saying: “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.”

The two boxers, former sparring partners, have been tipped to fight many times before, with a proposed bout in 2017, provisionally scheduled to take place in Dubai, never materialising.

For Pacquiao, the Thurman match-up represents the second of a three-fight contract he signed last October with Premier Boxing Champions. Should he see off Thurman, Pacquiao is understood to have set sights on IBF welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. A senator in the Philippines, Pacquiao will fly back to his homeland following his appearance at the MGM Grand – his third world title fight in 12 months.

Nevertheless, Khan’s clash against Dib, who was a late replacement for the injured Neeraj Goyat, is expected to pave the way for more professional boxing in Saudi. The bout headlined Fight Night, an event organised by Khan’s Super Boxing League in conjunction with the General Sports Authority of Saudi Arabia.

Fight Night formed part of the Jeddah Season Festival. Khan, a two-time world champion, is believed to have been paid £7 million (Dh31.9m) for the fight.

Aware that any potential Pacquiao confrontation could be affected by the outcome of this weekend’s bout in Las Vegas, Khan told the BBC: “I hope it is him, but we will have to look at back-up plans. I’ve always wanted to fight him. It’s the biggest fight out there for me.”

Updated: July 16, 2019 10:19 PM



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