x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Promoters trying to tempt Pacquiao to Dubai

UAE-based fans of Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao, arguably the best pound-for-pound boxer on the planet, could be set for a glimpse of their hero next month.

ABU DHABI // Fans of Manny Pacquiao, arguably the best pound-for-pound boxer on the planet, could be set for a glimpse of their hero next month with the Dubai-based KO Promotions saying they are in talks with the WBO welterweight champion to bring him to Dubai next month. Zack Taumafai, the owner of KO Promotions, said yesterday he is trying to tempt Pacquiao, fresh from making a successful first defence of his welterweight title with a unanimous points decision over a work-shy Joshua Clottey in the early hours of Sunday in Dallas, Texas, to make an appearance at the Dubai Tennis Stadium on April 9 for the Philippines versus Rest of the World event, in which his younger brother, Bobby, 29, will fight on the under card.

"We have been speaking to Manny over the last few weeks and expect to speak with him again tomorrow once he arrives back in Manila [the capital of the Philippines]," said Taumafai, who is helping to co-promote the event with the Philippine-based ALA Promotions. "The next discussion we have with him we hope to arrange the date he plans to travel to Dubai so he can be here to cheer on his little brother Bobby, who will be fighting at the event."

It would be no small coup to have the seven-weight world champion at ringside in the emirate, how-ever, it remains to be seen whether the organisers are trying to cash in on Pacquiao's popularity or if the Filipino fight king will have time in his schedule to make the trip. The man known as "Pambansang Kamao" or National Fist, indicated last week that once his fight with Clottey was out of the way he would return to his homeland to throw all his efforts into his political campaign to win a congressional seat in the Philippine elections on May 10.

sluckings@thenational.ae