LOS ANGELES • A potentially money-spinning bout between Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao and Britain's Amir Khan has collapsed, The Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday.
The eight-division champion had previously been in advanced talks to fight Australia's Jeff Horn in Brisbane, but reversed course when approached by a group of investors to fight Khan in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The 38-year-old Pacquiao and 30-year-old Khan, who won a silver medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics, tentatively agreed to an April fight before negotiating a change of date to May 20.
However, Pacquiao's long-time promoter Bob Arum told the newspaper that the proposed US$38 million (S$53 million) fight had proven to be "pie in the sky".
"When they contacted me, I told them it was pie in the sky, that this is crazy, it's not going to happen," Arum said.
"Manny wanted to roll the dice. He rolled the dice and it came up snake eyes. If something is too good to be true, it's too good to be true."
However, Arum still held out the possibility of a fight between Pacquiao and Khan later this year, for "realistic numbers", stating that the suggested purse for the UAE fight had never been likely.
He added that Pacquiao's adviser Michael Koncz would deliver a revised proposal for a fight against an alternative opponent that could be staged in July.
"Koncz will meet with Manny, and if he accepts it, we'll go ahead. If he doesn't, there's nothing we can do," Arum said.
Both Pacquiao and Khan had announced their fight within minutes of each other on Twitter last month.
"My team and I have agreed terms with Manny Pacquiao and his team for a super fight #pacquiaokhan #April23rd," Khan tweeted on Feb 26.
Pacquiao had said he was retiring to focus on his new role as Philippine senator, after winning elections last year on the back of his sporting fame.
However, he made a successful comeback last November, saying he still felt like a youngster.
Pacquiao (59 wins, 6 losses, 2 draws) claimed the World Boxing Organisation (WBO) world welterweight title with a unanimous points victory over American Jessie Vargas in Las Vegas, while Khan (31 wins, 4 losses) has not fought since last May.
Khan made an audacious weight class move up to middleweight to take on Canelo Alvarez but the Briton was knocked out by his hard-hitting Mexican opponent in the sixth round.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS