LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum played down a report that a prince of the United Arab Emirates is interested in staging the highly anticipated Manny Pacquiao- Floyd Mayweather match in Dubai.
According to an earlier report, the president and royal family of the United Arab Emirates have given the green light to hold talks for a possible staging of the mega-fight in Dubai.
Prince Amir Shafipour also expressed confidence that they have the formula to bring to the negotiating table the handlers for both Pacquiao and Mayweather.
But in an exclusive interview with ABS-CBN North America Bureau, Arum pointed out his previous experiences with Middle East promoters.
“I don't know who this fellow is and he's never talked to me or anybody in the Pacquiao camp. But over the years, we have met more alleged princes from Dubai than there are princes from Dubai," Arum said, recalling a man who once presented himself as a prince "started hanging out" with Pacquiao's business adviser Michael Koncz and gave him an iPhone.
"But he was as much a prince as you are,” he said. “The last guy says he was a prince from Dubai. Turned out he was born from Brooklyn, New York.”
According to the report, Prince Amir has yet to leave for the United States to finalize the negotiations but expects to do so in in the next two to three weeks.
But Arum is generally suspicious, noting that he has dealt with "phonies" before.
“It’s a scam," he said, but quickly added: "I don't know about this fellow. Maybe he is honest, maybe he is not honest.”
While Arum has his doubts, he said he is willing to talk to Prince Amir for the dream match to happen.
“If they're legitimate, why wouldn't we be willing to talk with them and negotiate with them? But I’m very, very skeptical,” he said.
Meanwhile, Arum also denied rumors that fighter Juan Manuel Marquez is demanding $20 million for a fifth fight with Pacquiao.
He said there is no truth to these speculations as he is still trying to get the Mexican to discuss business.
“Marquez hasn’t asked for $2 million, $10 million or $20 million. He has never asked for anything or discuss the fight with us. Those stories are also made up. Marquez was supposed to meet up with me in New York last weekend at the Cotto fight. He couldn’t make it because there was a death in his family,” he said.
“I haven’t talked at all with Marquez. That’s just made-up nonsense and they’re negotiating on the Internet,” he said.
Arum confirmed that he and Pacquiao will officially discuss details about the boxer’s next fight on the last week of June.