Filipino boxing champion Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao’s next fight will be against Britain’s Amir Khan, his adviser, Michael Koncz, disclosed on Wednesday, March 1.
According to Koncz, instead of the earlier announced date of April 23, Pacquiao’s next match was rescheduled to May.
“We decided to move it to May 19 here [in Las Vegas] and May 20 in the United [Arab] Emirates so we’d have time to promote it properly and make it a huge success,” Koncz told Yahoo Sports.
Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum earlier endorsed Pacquiao’s match against Australian Jeff Horn in April at the Suncorp Stadium, but Koncz confirmed on Wednesday that Arum is “in full support of Manny fighting Amir in the United Arab Emirates.”
“We’ll be able to properly promote it and while it will be a Friday in the U.S., it will be a Saturday there. We were going to do it originally on a Sunday there, but that’s the start of their work week and we didn’t feel at the end of the day that would make as much sense,” Koncz said.
In a poll on February 12, Pacquiao, with a record of 59-6-2 win-loss-draw, asked his Twitter followers who should be his next opponent, citing the UAE as the venue.
Khan, with a record of 31-4-0, was the runaway winner of the survey. Khan gained 48 percent of the more than 44,800 total votes.
“When I saw Amir ran away with it, I figured most of the votes from from England and a lot of them came from the [UAE], but they told me that 86 percent of them were from the U.S.,” Koncz said.
Meanwhile, Horn only received 7 percent, while Kell Brook and Terence Crawford got 24 percent and 21 percent, respectively.
“That meant a lot. Obviously, Amir’s a big name in the U.S., too, as well as in England [where he lives] and people saw it for what it is: A toss-up fight against two fast-handed guys,” Koncz added.
In an interview with ABS-CBN News, Khan shared his excitement to collide against Pacquiao, who also was also his former training partner.
“Manny and I are friends but I think I have my youth, and I’ve been a two-division champion,” Khan said.