Manny Pacquiao’s first fight this year against Amir Khan has been moved from April 23 to May 20 to give both camps ample time to promote the bout although the former’s promoter, Bob Arum, questioned the people who are negotiating for Pacquiao.
Eric Pineda, Pacquiao’s business manager, has already informed the reigning World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion about the change of date but the location remained the same at the United Arab Emirates (UAE), either in Abu Dhabi or Dubai.
“We already informed Senator Manny (Pacquiao) about the fight date a week ago. It’s already official now,” said Pineda.
But Pineda refused to divulge the Middle East people who will finance the fight.
“We cannot reveal our financial backer that’s a secret,” he said.
Pacquiao’s personal adviser Mike Koncz had a two-hour meeting with Top Rank Promotion boss Arum in the United States and confirmed the new date.
“We decided to move it to May 19 here [in the US]and May 20 in the UAE so we’d have time to promote it properly and make it a huge success,” Koncz told Yahoo Sports writer Kevin Iole on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).
“I have to talk to both fighters on Wednesday to get them to approve going in May instead of April. I don’t think there will be any problem,” he added.
But Arum expressed doubts on the credibility of the fight negotiation involving a group of people from the Middle East.
“I want something more,” Arum told The Manila Times. “It’s only official when the money is available to pay the expenses and the fighters. Otherwise, it’s all talk.”
Arum added that he doesn’t have any idea who is behind the negotiation.
“I don’t know who is putting up the money or if the money is real,” he added. “I’m not going to work to do this unless I know there are funds available to pay the fighters and pay all the expenses and so.”
Arum recalled that two or three years ago, even before the fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2015, there were lots of talks involving a group of Middle East businessmen who wanted to promote a Pacquiao fight but no deal materialized.
“It’s just the same old story,” Arum said. “I would love that somebody will put up the money but I’m not wrapping my arms around that this is real.”