The United Arab Emirates is reportedly offering $38 million to stage a fight between Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan in Dubai this April.
Manny Pacquiao has been flirting with retirement for years, presumably to focus on his burgeoning political career in the Philippines. He retired after beating Timothy Bradley last April, then returned seven months later to defeat Jessie Vargas. It turns out $38 million for a fight with Amir Khan can further delay his shift to full-time senator.
Bob Arum, head of Top Rank Promotions, prefers Pacquiao fight Australian contender Jeff Horn. He told ESPN he isn’t convinced the $38 million dollar offer from United Arab Emirates investors is legitimate.
“Manny seems to believe they will come up with the money. I have some reservations whether it will happen or not,” Arum said. “The Australian deal is not going to happen now, because Manny is trying to get a fight done in the United Arab Emirates, and the people there favor him fighting Amir Khan.”
That hasn’t stopped Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) from announcing on Twitter that he’d agreed to terms with Team Khan.
Negotiations between team Pacquiao and team Khan have come to terms for the April 23 bout as this is what the fans wanted. #PacquiaoKhan
— Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) February 26, 2017
Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) immediately followed suit, confirming Pacquiao’s post with a tweet of his own. Interestingly enough, the bout is listed on BoxRec with no set location.
— Amir Khan (@amirkingkhan) February 26, 2017
Dubai has become some mythical big fight host-city in recent years. Before the bout was finalized in 2015, Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather were rumored to stage their megafight in Dubai. Recording artists Chris Brown and Soulja Boy were also said to be taking their beef to the UAE’s biggest city. Ultimately, neither fight took place.
Arum’s skepticism and Pacquiao’s commitment indicate yet another power struggle over the direction of Manny’s career. This isn’t the first time the two sides have been on different frequencies regarding an opponent.
For as great as Pacquiao is in the ring, it is Arum who usually prevails in these situations.