Arum says deal for Pacquiao vs. Khan may be reached by weekend
The numbers are spellbinding. The locale is exotic. The matchup is interesting.
But when it comes to a possible title fight between Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan in the United Arab Emirates along the Persian Gulf, Arum leaned on a past Hollywood axiom to describe his reaction. “Like they said in Jerry Maguire,” said Arum. “Show me the money!”
And there may be a lot of it. Arum told RingTV.com that parties interested in staging the fight have floated a figure of $38 million to arouse interest. Arum confirmed that Pacquiao and advisor Michael Koncz are in discussions with officials in the UAE about staging such a fight while keeping Arum up to date on the talks. As a result, Pacquiao’s focus has shifted away from facing Australian Jeff Horn on April 22 in Australia — a deal Arum brokered — in favor of the situation in UAE, where Arum said Khan is the preferred opponent because of his Pakistani lineage.
“It’s not a question of moving on,” Arum said of the deal with Horn. “If these people come up with $38 million, he’s going to that deal. I would recommend for him to go for that deal and I would go over and run the show. As far as Manny is concerned, he hopes that this is real.” Added Arum, “They’ve been after Manny for him to fight in the Mideast for years.”
For now, until the money is produced, he and Koncz have their doubts, while Pacquiao is holding out hope a fight with England’s Khan, a former 140-pound champion, could actually take place there. “I think Michael is a little more skeptical and I’m way more skeptical,” Arum said. “But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to cooperate with Manny to see whether or not this is real.”
As for a date for Pacquiao-Khan in the UAE, Arum said that April 22 is still in play — if a deal can be reached by the weekend. The bout would certainly take place on pay-per-view, but Arum begged off any questions about a television network as premature. “I guess if it gets done this weekend, it will be April 22,” he said. “But if it doesn’t and then we have to go an alternate date then it might be June or July.”
Of course, if all of this falls apart like a house of cards, Arum didn’t rule out Pacquiao facing Horn in the end. “If the Khan fight doesn’t happen and we shift the date,” said Arum, “he might end up fighting Horn in Australia. It’s all in a state of flux.”