Manny Pacquiao 'in negotiations' to fight Amir Khan
MANILA, Philippines – Philippine boxing hero Manny Pacquiao on Thursday said he was "in negotiations" to face British fighter Amir Khan, after weeks of conflicting reports over his next bout.
"My team and I are in negotiations with Amir Khan for our next fight. Further announcements coming soon," Pacquiao, 38, said on his official Twitter feed.
Pacquiao's post follows various accounts from different sources over who he will be facing next and where the fight will be held.
Last month, Pacquiao's American promoter Bob Arum was widely quoted as saying the Filipino would next face Australia's Jeff Horn in April, although Pacquiao's aides insisted nothing had been confirmed. (READ: Making Pacquiao great again)
A business adviser of the fighter nicknamed "Pacman" said this week that his next opponent would "most likely" be Khan in Dubai, but other aides declined to comment.
Khan (31-4, 19 knockouts) is 8 years younger than Pacquiao at 30 and is a former junior welterweight and welterweight titleholder. Khan has not fought since last May, when he was knocked out in 6 rounds by Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. Khan and Pacquiao trained together under Freddie Roach from 2009-2012, with Khan even spending time in the Philippines.
Pacquiao, the WBO welterweight champion, tweeted on February 11: "See you in UAE for my next fight. #TeamPacquiao".
He also posted a poll on his Twitter feed asking his 108,000 followers to choose either Horn, Khan, American Terence Crawford or Briton Kell Brook as his next opponent. Of the nearly 45,000 respondents, 48% preferred Khan while just 7% answered Horn.
Horn's manager Glenn Rushton says he has has been following reports of Pacquiao pursuing a deal in the United Arab Emirates and says he's waiting to find out if his fighter will get a shot at Pacquiao next.
"I trust this is all resolved fairly quickly between Pacquiao, his advisers, and Bob Arum, his promoter, as it is frustrating for all concerned," said Rushton.
Arum tells ESPN that Australia is out of the picture now, and that the party pitching the UAE deal prefer Khan, a Briton of Pakistani descent, to face Pacquiao.
"The Australian deal is not going to happen now because Manny is trying to get a fight done in the United Arab Emirates," Arum told ESPN.
Arum says he has "some reservations" over whether enough money can be raised to pay both Pacquiao and Khan, but says he would "aid and abet the fight happening."
Pacquiao announced a brief retirement last year but made a successful comeback against Jessie Vargas in Las Vegas in November, saying he still felt like a youngster.
Pacquiao initially 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. – with reports from Ryan Songalia/Rappler.com
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