By Keith Idec
Nearly a month after jointly announcing through their social media accounts that they would fight, Amir Khan isn’t nearly as confident he and Manny Pacquiao actually will share a ring in the foreseeable future.
Now that supposed investors from the United Arab Emirates haven’t delivered the $38 million guarantee they promised to bring Pacquiao-Khan to that country, Khan is exploring other options for later this spring.
He told BoxingScene.com in a video interview that he expects to return to the ring sometime late in April or early in May, but the former IBF/WBA super lightweight champion didn’t name potential opponents.
“A lot of people are talking about Manny Pacquiao,” Khan said. “That fight may happen, may not happen. But I’m not even focusing on that because I’ve been let down that many times in boxing, where fights were meant to happen.
“There was a poll he did [through Pacquiao’s Twitter account], and I got 50 percent of the votes. People said, ‘You should fight Amir.’ But look, if that fight happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I’m looking at other options. I spoke to [manager] Al Haymon and he is looking at opponents for me, also. He’s also looking at a date [and] venue.”
Bob Arum, Pacquiao’s promoter, predicted all along that the money from UAE investors wouldn’t be delivered.
Arum met with Pacquiao’s adviser, Michael Koncz, recently and discussed a July fight for Pacquiao. The Filipino superstar last fought November 5, when he beat Jessie Vargas by unanimous decision to win the WBO welterweight title in Las Vegas.
Arum and Koncz are believed to have discussed a Pacquiao-Jeff Horn fight, a much-maligned match Arum initially wanted to bring to Horn’s native Brisbane, Australia on April 23.
Not even Khan knows where that leaves him as it pertains to boxing Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs).
“I left it to my team to speak to Manny and his adviser, Michael,” Khan said. “If the fight happens, it makes sense for both of us. It’s a big fight. There was talks about it happening in the UAE. Then there was talks about maybe the money’s not there, maybe the money is there. So it just got a little bit messy. So I kinda took a step back. I told my team, ‘Look, if it is gonna make sense, if we do get contracts, the fight can happen. If not, then I’m gonna carry on and fight end of April, early May.”
The 30-year-old Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) hasn’t fought since Mexican star Canelo Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) knocked him unconscious in the sixth round of their middleweight title fight 10½ months ago in Las Vegas.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.