Pacquiao’s handler: We could know next week whom he’ll fight
MANILA, Philippines — Whom, when and where is Manny Pacquiao is going to fight next? We could know the answer to that complicated question soon, according to Michael Koncz, Pacquiao’s adviser.
Koncz told Fox Sports that he and Pacquiao’s other handlers continue to work on the details for a fight, which is expected to take place April 23. More than one opponent and several possible sites seem to be in play, according to various reports.
“Hopefully by midweek, next week, we’ll have a final on everything,” Koncz said.
Pacquiao initially was expected to fight Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Australia, Horn’s hometown. Then Pacquiao Tweeted that the fight would take place in the United Arab Emirates, after which Pacquiao polled his Twitter followers on whom he should fight next.
Amir Khan won the poll. After that, reports out of the U.K. indicated that Pacquiao and Khan had reached a deal to fight in or near Manchester, England. Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, and Khan dismissed those reports as false.
That’s where we stand.
The manager of Horn, Glenn Rushton, is taking a wait-and-see approach as Pacquiao deliberates. In an email to RingTV.com, Rushton says he’s been in “constant contact” with Dean Lonergan of Duco Events, Horn’s promoter, and monitoring news reports about Pacquiao’s plans.
“I understand there is an offer out of the UAE, as has been repeatedly mentioned in the media by Pacquiao’s business adviser, Michael Koncz. However, I am not privy to the exact details or authenticity of the offer,” says Rushton.
“I do know that the offer to fight in Brisbane is genuine and I trust this is all resolved fairly quickly between Pacquiao, his advisers and Bob Arum, his promoter, as it is frustrating for all concerned.”
Pacquiao stunned many when he announced on his Twitter account on Feb. 12 that his next fight would take place in the Middle Eastern country, instead of in Australia. (READ: ‘Jeff Who?’ Jeff Horn on why he deserves to fight Pacquiao)
Pacquiao released the poll the following day, with 48 percent picking Khan, the former two-division titleholder and Pacquiao’s former gym mate. Only 7 percent picked the supposed frontrunner Horn.
Arum told the Courier-Mail that reports coming out of the United Kingdom of Pacquiao and Khan supposedly reaching an agreement to fight in the U.K. in May were “total and complete bull—t,” adding that the possibility of Pacquiao facing Horn at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia remained “up in the air.”
“What’s happening is that Manny is talking to these people in Dubai, who have offered him an insane amount of money,” said Arum. “Whether (the offer) is real or not real – he is determined to explore it to see if it has any validity. That’s all I can say.”
Rushton hopes the ball falls on his fighter’s side of the court.
“Personally, I believe that hosting the event in Brisbane would be wonderful for the sport of boxing, as Australia has a long and distinguished boxing history and Australians are huge supporters of sport. The event would be the biggest boxing event ever staged in Australia and I have no doubt that over 55,000 fans would pack the venue,” Rushton said.
“That being said, I have to wait patiently, like everyone else, and trust we get confirmation within the next week.”
Ryan Songalia is the sports editor of Rappler, a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) and a contributor to THE RING magazine. He can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @RyanSongalia.
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