MANILA, Philippines – Manny Pacquiao expanded his calendar of future in-ring appearances after signing up for his second post-retirement exhibition bout against undefeated French boxer Jaber Zayani set in Saudi Arabia this February 2023.
Pacquiao, who recently inked his first friendly match for December in Korea against combat sports YouTuber DK Yoo, formally signed last week in his Makati City home his Saudi match with Zayani.
“I personally negotiated with the senator together with my team and after months of talks, we finally agreed to a face off next year. He already signed the contract, so it is a go,” said Zayani, who has defeated Filipino boxers in three of his last four professional fights.
In this exhibition, both fighters agreed to an eight-round match with eight-ounce gloves, and like Pacquiao’s upcoming six-round match with DK Yoo, there is likely no set weight limit for either side.
Zayani was upfront about his intentions going to his fight with the former eight-division world champion, intending to take the match seriously and prove that he is worthy to be a “household name” and a “future world champion.”
The 43-year-old Pacquiao, at least according to Zayani, intends to treat the bout the same way.
“Call it an exhibition or something but when the senator signed the deal, I told him to prepare well because I’m going to give him a real fight. He then told me, ‘you better be prepared’,” Zayani said.
The French upstart and the Filipino icon are no strangers to each other, as they became sparmates during Pacquiao’s fight buildup against Keith Thurman back in July 2019.
Clearly looking to create as much buzz for himself as possible, Zayani had his way with words when asked what his fight prediction would be.
“That’s going to be a December Samgyup party for the senator [against DK Yoo], but once he meets me inside the ring, he’s going to get French toasted,” concluded the 31-year-old.