Manny Pacquiao’s search for his opponent has now become a wild goose chase now that Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said a fight with former world champion Amir Khan is “dead.”
Arum told ESPN that the fight, announced by both Pacquiao and Khan, was not announced officially by Arum. The Pacquiao vs. Khan fight was supposed to take place at an unspecified area in the UAE on April 23, a date and venue in which Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz was actively pursuing.
"Michael [Koncz] is on his way back to meet with Manny but it's kaddish for the UAE deal. It's dead," Arum said. "I'm talking to him about another proposal for another fight, not Khan. Khan won't be Manny's next opponent. UAE would not happen until November, if it happens at all, but I doubt it will.”
This is now the second time Pacquiao had a fight set only to have it squashed. Pacquiao was originally going to fight relatively unknown boxer Jeff Horn on April 22, but once Pacquiao asked his Twitter followers who they wanted to see him fight next, fans picked Khan, Terence Crawford and Kell Brook to fight Pacquiao before Horn. Khan won the popular vote in that Twitter poll made by Pacquiao a couple of weeks back.
This prompted the fight with Horn to be called off. Khan, who used to be sparring partners with Pacquiao, came in and took the fight. Arum was instrumental in bringing the undefeated Horn into the mix for a world title opportunity.
One of the biggest obstacles in securing a fight with Pacquiao is his schedule. Pacquiao is a senator in his native Philippines and now makes his boxing schedule whenever he has free time from his political schedule.
That is why it was key for Pacquiao to get the fight around April 22 because that would be the earliest he could compete thanks to his other full-time job schedule.
Pacquiao is the current WBO welterweight world champion and hasn’t fought since winning the belt from Jessie Vargas last November. Pacquiao is the sport’s only eight-division world champion.