Boxing: Pacquiao may stage next fight in UAE instead

Despite earlier statements his promoter Bob Arum made that his next fight will be in Brisbane, WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao has indicated on social media that he will instead defend his title in the UAE, starting a poll to gather feedback
Despite earlier statements his promoter Bob Arum made that his next fight will be in Brisbane, WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao has indicated on social media that he will instead defend his title in the UAE, starting a poll to gather feedback on his would-be opponent.PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA • Manny Pacquiao yesterday asked his legions of Twitter followers to choose his opponent after announcing his next world title defence will be in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

"See you in UAE for my next fight #TeamPacquiao", the WBO (World Boxing Organisation) world welterweight champion tweeted - appearing to scupper reports that he would next fight Australia's Jeff Horn in Brisbane in April.

Pacquiao also posted a poll on his Twitter feed asking his 108,000 followers to choose either Horn, American Terence Crawford, or either of Britain's Amir Khan and Kell Brook as his next opponent.

The poll received more than 38,000 votes by last night, with Khan leading by around 47 per cent. A spokesman for Pacquiao said he was due to meet his manager Michael Koncz with a statement about his next fight to be issued soon.

Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum had been widely quoted last month saying that the boxer would be getting into the ring with the unbeaten Australian Horn. But the Philippine senator posted on social media that he would be fighting in the Middle East.

Koncz also indicated he has "full authority" over Arum to act for Pacquiao. "It took us a while to get this deal together," he said. "There was a lot of confusion whether this is going to happen here in the UAE.

"We have executed an agreement in the morning and, 100 per cent, the fight will be here in the UAE."

Dean Lonergan of Duco Events, Horn's promoter, has said that he will still try his best to stage the fight in Brisbane, unless Arum tells him otherwise.

"We're just going to wait and see if there's any substance to the story," Lonergan told Boxing Scene of Koncz's claim.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2017, with the headline 'Pacquiao may stage next fight in UAE instead'. Print Edition | Subscribe