Boxing: Pacquiao versus Khan bout likely, talks underway

Manny Pacquiao holding up his welterweight title upon his arrival at the airport in Manila.
Manny Pacquiao holding up his welterweight title upon his arrival at the airport in Manila.PHOTO: AFP

MANILA • Two days after promoter Bob Arum had dismissed out of hand the idea of a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan, the Filipino boxing great has revealed he is in talks with the Briton, with a meeting in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) likely.

"My team and I are in negotiations with Amir Khan for our next fight," Pacquiao tweeted yesterday. "Further announcement coming soon."

Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, had said earlier in the week that reports of a fight with Khan were "total and complete b******t". But by yesterday his stance had changed, so much so that he confirmed Pacquiao, 38, was looking to set up a defence of his World Boxing Organisation welterweight belt.

It dashes any hopes Australian boxer Jeff Horn had of facing Pacquiao in an April fight in his home town of Brisbane.

"The Australian deal is not going to happen now because Manny is trying to get a fight done in the United Arab Emirates," Arum told ESPN. "The people there favour him fighting Amir Khan."

Arum has some concerns about Pacquiao's decision to line up a fight with Khan, 30.

"Whether it will happen or not I just don't know because they have to come up with a large amount of money," he said.

"Manny seems to believe they will come up with the money. I have some reservations whether it will happen or not.

"If the money comes up I will aid and abet the fight happening."

Pacquiao's adviser Michael Koncz told the media in Abu Dhabi this month that the Filipino's next fight would take place in the UAE. He even went as far as apologising to the Australian public, explaining that the UAE was always the first preference and Brisbane was merely a "backup plan".

The Horn v Pacquiao fight would have been one of the biggest in Australian boxing history.

Pacquiao and Khan are former training partners.

THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2017, with the headline 'Pacquiao v Khan bout likely, talks under way'. Print Edition | Subscribe