“Negotiations between Team Pacquiao and Team Khan have come to terms for the April 23 bout as this is what the fans wanted. #PacquiaoKhan”
This was the tweet from Manny Pacquiao’s camp. Likewise, Amir Khan’s camp also tweeted, “My team and I have agreed terms with Manny Pacquiao and his team for a super fight. #pacquiaokhan# April23rd.”
Pacman on his Twitter feed posted a poll for his followers asking them who they wanted him to fight – Terrence Crawford, Kell Brook, Jeff Horn or Khan. He listened to the wishes of his fans because of the 44,815 who joined the survey, 21,512 (48%) wanted Khan as Pacman’s opponent. Brook came in second with 10,755 votes (24%), Crawford with 9,411 (21%) and Horn with a measly 3,137 (7%). Of the total number of fans who wanted Khan, 86% of them were from the US and this looks good in the pay-per-view sense.
The former school teacher from Brisbane naturally fell off the radar. Horn’s promoter Dean Lonergan of Duco Events is still hopeful of the fight to happen sometime in June or July as he said he won’t believe the fight won’t push thru unless Arum personally tells him so.
Yup, Horn is unbeaten but ranged versus the Pacman is like having a one-on-one game between Russell Westbrook and Mark Caguioa. He has reached the pinnacle of his career and is among the elite of his sport. It would be an anomaly to pair him with an obscure fighter who was only given an 8% chance of winning by Las Vegas oddsmakers.
Between Horn and Khan, the latter will be easier to market especially in the Middle East because he has become popular there due to his frequent visits to the place. Horn is famous in Australia but a relative unknown overseas, whereas Khan has an international following. Both competed in the Olympics but Khan has won a silver medal. Khan is a two-division, three-time world title holder. Horn is still contending for a title. Yes, a Pacman-Khan fight definitely is more financially rewarding than a Pacman-Horn fight.
Khan’s last fight was against Canelo Alvarez, one of boxing’s top money makers and was on HBO pay-per-view. Most likely, there will be more PPV buys on this one compared to a matchup with Horn as Khan is widely known and there is not enough time for promotion on Horn’s end. This will be his first fight after almost a year, after being sent to sleep with a wicked right hand from Alvarez in the sixth round of that May fight.
As a former stable mate and Pacman sparring partner, Khan has the advantage over other boxers as he definitely knows the way Manny dances around the ring. But in sparring, there is a tendency to drop one’s guard and is completely different from the real thing. Pacman has decked Khan in at least 4 of their sessions and he can surely send Khan to dreamland, despite his diminished punching power. 8 years younger than Pacman, the British-born Muslim fighter of Pakistani lineage is confident of a win. Maybe yes, maybe no. Pacman’s WBO welterweight title is up for grabs in this one.
Recent reports now say that the fight will be on May 19 at the UAE, either at the cities of Dubai or Abu Dhabi. This was reportedly according to Pacman’s adviser Michael Koncz after a meeting with promoter Bob Arum. The date change allows both camps to properly promote the fight. A rumored $30 million to $38 million is being offered by a Middle Eastern group to have the fight done there and it looks like it’s going to push through. It will be a first in the region to host a world-class boxing match and Arum, as per reports, had always wanted to promote a championship fight in the Middle East. Looks like the mega promoter just had his wish granted.
The fight will be held Saturday morning in UAE to accommodate American fight fans as would be on prime time Friday night in the US. Traditional Saturday-Sunday weekends in not observed in Arab countries as their first day of work begins on a Sunday, not Monday. The schedule also affords the thousands of Filipino migrant workers based in the UAE to watch the fight.
This fight is simply for the fund of it. With Horn, only $5 million is guaranteed whereas the Arab group were offering at least $15 million and could probably hike to $20 million by fight night. Anyone, boxer or whatever, would always prefer the better incentive offered. Politicians included.
At least this time, things got a bit clearer. A few weeks back, Pacman and Koncz were discussing one thing and Arum completely saying another thing. The recent meeting at Arum’s Las Vegas office settled conflicting statements between camps. Now, they can all focus on the marketing aspect and let their fighters train for the coming financial showers.
Two weeks prior to the scheduled May 19 bout, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. will go up against Alvarez in a PPV bout in Las Vegas. The fight is definitely bigger than the UAE match and this is where Arum’s and the Arab group’s promotional wizardry be put to the test.
UAE, let’s get ready to rumble.