Philippine boxing hero Manny Pacquiao on Thursday said he was “in negotiations” to face British fighter Amir Khan, after weeks of conflicting reports over his next bout.
“My team and I are in negotiations with Amir Khan for our next fight. Further announcements coming soon,” Pacquiao, 38, said on his official Twitter feed.
Spokesmen for Pacquiao could not be contacted for comment.
Pacquiao’s Tweet follows various accounts from different sources over who he will be facing next and where the fight might be held.
Pacquiao’s promoter, Top Rank’s Bob Arum, told ESPN sports network that he was skeptical about a Khan fight.
“Manny seems to believe they will come up with the money. I have some reservations whether it will happen or not,” American Arum was quoted as saying on the ESPN website.
Arum had been seeking a deal with Duco Events, a New Zealand promotional company he has close ties to, for Pacquiao to defend the 147-pound belt against Australia’s Jeff Horn in Brisbane, Australia.
“The Australian deal is not going to happen now, because Manny is trying to get a fight done in the United Arab Emirates, and the people there favor him fighting Amir Khan,” Arum reportedly said.
Since January, Arum had been widely quoted as saying the Filipino would next face Horn in April, although Pacquiao’s aides insisted nothing had been confirmed.
Meanwhile, in an interview with The Manila Times, Arum said that the Horn fight would push through if the amount of money promised by the Middle East group did not materialize.
“Pacquiao is waiting for the promise to be put up by the Middle East group in Dubai or in Abu Dhabi,” Arum told The Times in an overseas call. “If that offer materializes, Pacquiao will be fighting Amir Khan but it is up to the people who will put up the money. Only if they put up the money.”
“Yes, if the money doesn’t come up then there is still an offer from Australia to fight Jeff Horn.”
“The money offered in the Middle East is greater than the money offered in Australia, but it should be known at the end of this week. So let’s see,” said Arum
A business adviser of the Filipino ring icon nicknamed “Pac-man” said this week that his next opponent would “most likely” be Khan in Dubai, but other aides declined to comment.
Pacquiao, the WBO welterweight champion, tweeted on February 11: “See you in UAE for my next fight. #TeamPacquiao”.
He also posted a poll on his Twitter feed asking his 108,000 followers to choose either Horn, Khan, American Terence Crawford or Briton Kell Brook as his next opponent.
The poll has since been taken down.
Pacquiao announced a brief retirement last year but made a successful comeback against Jessie Vargas in Las Vegas in November, saying he still felt like a youngster.
Pacquiao had said he was retiring to focus on his new role as Philippine senator, after winning elections last year on the back of his sporting fame.
with report from Josef T. Ramos