Pacquiao Ready to Rumble with Britain’s Amir Khan in Dubai on May 20

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FIGHTING SENATOR Manny Pacquiao at the Wild Card Gym in Los Angeles is visited by Philippines Today editor in chief Alfred Gabot and Philippine tourism officer Manny Ilagan during a training years ago. (Photo of Nick Sagmit)

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (via PhilAmPress) — The camp of world boxing champion, Senator Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao, has finalized a deal for a welterweight title fight not on April 23 but on May 20 with British brawler Amir Khan in Dubai.

The “fighting senator” confirmed on Twitter the fight with his former sparring partner in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Pacquiao, 38, tweeted: “Negotiations between team Pacquiao and team Khan have come to terms for the April 23 bout as this is what the fans wanted.#PacquiaoKhan.”

Khan, 30, a few minutes later posted on his official Twitter feed: “My team and I have agreed terms with Manny Pacquiao and his team for a super fight #pacquiaokhan #April23rd”.

The venue for the match has not been named but a source in Pacquiao’s office said the bout would be in the United Arab Emirates, possibly Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

Khan was the landslide winner in a poll ran by Pacquiao through his Twitter account, wherein the “Pacman” asked his fans who they wanted him to fight next.

Neither fighter named a venue for the fight; Pacquiao’s adviser, Michael Koncz, said last week that it will be held either in Dubai or Abu Dhabi.

Pacquiao’s American promoter, Bob Arum, has previously been quoted as saying on the ESPN that “Manny is trying to get a fight done in the United Arab Emirates, and the people there favor him fighting Amir Khan.”

Spokesmen for the World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Pacquiao could not immediately be contacted for comment.

The 38-year-old senator (59-6-2, 38 KOs) currently holds the World Boxing Organization welterweight title.

Khan, who is of Pakistani descent, had sparred numerous times with Pacquiao when both were trained by Freddie Roach.

Khan (31-4, 19 KOs), 30, last fought in May last year when he was stopped in the sixth round by Canelo Alvarez in a middleweight bout

Prior to the confirmation, Pacquiao said he was negotiating for the fight against Khan in UAE.

“Mayroon, possible. April din. Still ongoing yung negotiations (There is, possible. It will be in April. The negotiations are still ongoing),” he said of the discussions with Khan’s camp.

Pacquiao, who was guest of honor in the inauguration, blessing and groundbreaking of several building projects at the Police Regional Office-12 headquarters in Barangay Tambler here, said the initial talks were positive but they have yet to finalize the details.

He declined to give any details regarding the negotiations, pending the formal forging of agreements.

“Saka na siguro pag nabuo na para hindi ma-frame yung usapan (I’ll just reveal the details later if a deal is set so the talks will not be framed),” he said.

Pacquiao earlier dashed reports of his scheduled fight on April 22 in Brisbane, Australia with welterweight contender Jeff Horn after confirming that his camp had been negotiating with an unnamed group for a fight in the UAE.

He went on to post a question in his Twitter account asking boxing fans whom they would want him to fight next in the UAE.

The twitter poll showed Khan as the top favorite, followed by Kell Brook, Terence Crawford and Horn.

Michael Bren Evangelio, a Pacquiao aide, confirmed that the senator was supposed to fly late last week to Dubai, UAE for the fight negotiations.

But he said Pacquiao cancelled his trip as he wanted some basic details to be ironed out first before going to the UAE.

Pacquiao’s promoter, Top Rank’s Bob Arum, was reported to have told ESPN sports network that he was sceptical about a Khan fight.
“Manny seems to believe they will come up with the money. I have some reservations whether it will happen or not,” American Arum was quoted as saying on the ESPN website.
Arum had been seeking a deal with Duco Events, a New Zealand promotional company he has close ties to, for Pacquiao to defend the 147-pound belt against Australia’s Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Australia.
“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 favour him fighting Amir Khan,” Arum reportedly said.
Since January, Arum had been widely quoted as saying the Filipino would next face Horn in April, although Pacquiao’s aides insisted nothing had been confirmed.
A business adviser of the Filipino ring icon nicknamed “Pac-man” said this week that his next opponent would “most likely” be Khan in Dubai, but other aides declined to comment.
Pacquiao, the WBO welterweight champion, tweeted on February 11: “See you in UAE for my next fight. #TeamPacquiao.”

Meanwhile, boxing analyst Ed Tolentino said Pacquiao needed an impressive, if not jaw-dropping knockout victory, to regain fans’ interest for a rematch against American record holder Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Pacquiao, who rose to superstardom by toppling the likes of Ricky Hatton, David Diaz, and Miguel Cotto, has not knocked out anyone since 2009 and was knocked out himself once by his nemesis, the Mexican fighter Juan Manuel Marquez.

This is one of the possible reasons why Pacquiao’s handlers chose Amir Khan as his next foe, according to Tolentino.

“Pacquiao needs a riveting knockout win to revive interest in a rematch with Mayweather,” explained Tolentino. “Another ho-hum win will just convince many that he has, to paraphrase a song, ‘lost that glovin’ feeling.’ ”

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