With Amir Khan looking to be Manny Pacquiao’s most likely opponent in his much-awaited fight on April 22, organizers are weighing options whether to hold the match in Dubai or Abu Dhabi, The Filipino Times learned.
Diaa Al Khatib, CEO of Al Afaq Tourism, the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) has made offers.
Al Khatib, last week, signed a deal with the Pacquiao camp to have UAE as venue for the eight-division world boxing champion’s remaining fights of his 21-year career.
“Yes. It is up for consideration,” he told The Filipino Times in a phone interview from Abu Dhabi about the offers by DTCM. “But we haven’t finalized yet,” he added, explaining further that it is not entirely going to be his decision.
“It’s up to the government…it’s up to the government’s decision and my decision,” he said, adding that an official announcement will be made in the coming days.
A reliable source said, DTCM called up the organizers to make the offers. “They want it in Dubai. They called…they said, ‘We will give you all the support, the venue, the logistics,” the sources said.
Khan or Horn?
The fight was initially planned to be against Australian Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Australia on April 23. But with the venue changed to UAE, sources said, Horn’s camp sent signals they were pulling out.
“Ayaw nila ‘pag di sa kanila. Kaya nag-twit si MP,” one of the sources said.
Thirty-eight-year-old Pacquiao’s Twitter poll asked fans who they wanted him to fight next in the UAE. The four options were: Amir Khan, Jeff Horn, Terence Crawford and Kell Brook.
The 30-year-old British-Pakistani Khan got 44,000 of 108,000 votes cast – 40 percent
The move to have the fight held in the UAE was announced Feb. 12 by Michael Koncz, Pacquiao’s advisor, in a media briefing in Abu Dhabi.
“We did execute an agreement. 100 percent, the fight will happen here (in UAE),” Koncz said.
Khan is a former unified light-welterweight world champion, having held the WBA title from 2009 to 2012, and the IBF title in 2011.