By Edward Chaykovsky
As BoxingScene.com reported a few days ago, Manny Pacquiao's adviser, Michael Koncz, was going to have a meeting with boxer's promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, to sort out the confusion regarding the Filipino superstar's next fight.
Several weeks ago, Arum had announced that Pacquiao was going to fight Australian Olympian Jeff Horn on April 23 [April 22 in the United States], likely in Brisbane, Australia.
But then last Saturday night, a bombshell dropped when Pacquiao and Amir Khan made separate announcements, via their social media accounts, that a deal was reached to fight each other on April 23.
Arum told BoxingScene.com on Monday, that he was meeting with Koncz to ensure that everyone involved in Pacquiao's career was on the same page.
Koncz then spoke with Kevin Iole of Yahoo Sports, and said Arum was now on board with having Khan as Pacquiao's next opponent.
According to Koncz, he met with Arum for two hours and they ultimately agreed to push the fight back to May 20 in the United Arab Emirates (May 19 in the United States), in either Abu Dhabi or Dubai.
The fight will be a rare Friday night pay-per-view in the United States (Saturday in UAE due to the time difference). The huge issue with making it a Saturday pay-per-view in the United States, is staging the event on a Sunday - which is the start of the work week in UAE.
The big motivator in selecting Khan, was a recent Twitter poll that Pacquiao generated to have his followers submit their votes on who they prefer as his next opponent.
Khan was by far the big winner of the poll, with 48% of the vote. Initially, Koncz and Top Rank had assumed that most of the submitted votes in favor of Khan had come from fans who were based in the UK or the UAE - but everyone involved was shocked when they discovered that 86% of those votes were from the United States, which is the largest pay-per-view market. That discovery was a game changer.
“We decided to move it to May 19 here and May 20 in the United [Arab] Emirates so we’d have time to promote it properly and make it a huge success,” Koncz told Yahoo Sports. “I have to talk to both fighters [on Wednesday] to get them to approve going in May instead of in April. I don’t think that will be any problem.”
“When I saw Amir ran away with it, I figured most of the votes from from England and a lot of them came from the [UAE], but they told me that 86 percent of them were from the U.S. That meant a lot. Obviously, Amir’s a big name in the U.S., too, as well as in England [where he lives] and people saw it for what it is: A toss-up fight against two fast-handed guys.”
Khan has been out of the ring since last May, when he moved up to a catch-weight of 155-pounds and was knocked out in six rounds by Saul "Canelo" Alvarez. Koncz told Iole that he respects Khan's decision to take such a risky fight and felt the British boxer did very well in the early rounds.
“That shouldn’t be held against him. He took a risk and it didn’t pan out, but he was doing great in the early part of the fight. He matches up well with Manny and like I said, it’s a 50-50 fight. I certainly think Manny will win, but he’s not guaranteed to win this by any means," Koncz said.