WORLD welterweight champ Manny Pacquiao is looking dynamite in his gym workouts ahead of his Battle of Brisbane against Jeff Horn and British fighter Amir Khan says Australians can forget about celebrating at Suncorp Stadium on July 2.
Khan, whose negotiations with Pacquiao for a fight in Dubai earlier this yearthreatened to derail the Horn bout, says he is back in talks with Pacquiao for a fight at the end of the year.
He says Pacquiao was “looking for a way out’’ of their fight the first time and wanted an easier opponent.
“We have known each other since 2008,’’ Khan told boxingscene.com.
“We used to spar together all the time. But since then, I’ve changed my fight style. He knows it is going to be a very hard fight for him, that’s why he’s probably thought I’ll fight somebody easy.
“That’s why he’s fighting Jeff Horn, who is an unknown fighter really. But I still think our fight will happen, because it makes good money. It’s a big financial fight.”
Pacquiao has shown this week in his gym workouts with co-trainer Buboy Fernandez that he still has plenty of speed and power.
Pacquiao hard at work in preparation for the Battle of Brisbane.
His promoter, 85-year-old Bob Arum, who has staged fights for the likes of Muhammad Ali, Floyd Mayweather, Sugar Ray Leonard and Marvin Hagler, says he has never seen a fight generate so much interest in a country as Pacquiao-Horn has done in Australia.
Arum expects ticket sales to exceed 40,000 by next week and that Suncorp will host its biggest ever crowd of 55,000 by fight time.
“Tremendous, absolutely tremendous, never seen anything like it, really,’’ Arum said.
“The whole country is engaged in it. The ticket sales have been absolutely enormous. It’s trending towards a sell-out.
“Horn has resonated with the public in Australia. I think Pacquiao is an icon. The reception that they gave Pacquiao was unbelievable and Pacquiao appeals to the Australians because of his humble nature and they fell in love with him.’’