Arum still not completely sold on Pacquiao-Khan bout

Report from Dyan Castillejo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 02 2017 11:18 AM | Updated as of Mar 02 2017 12:32 PM


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MANILA, Philippines – Top Rank chief executive Bob Arum is taking a "wait and see" approach regarding the proposed May 20 showdown between Filipino ring icon Manny Pacquiao and Britain's Amir Khan.

Pacquiao's chief adviser, Michael Koncz, announced on Wednesday that the fight will be held on May 20, in a still undisclosed location in the United Arab Emirates. The decision came nearly two months after Arum initially declared that the "Pacman" will fight unheralded Jeff Horn in Australia.

Now, the Top Rank boss said he does not want to discuss the Horn bout. "I don't want to talk about any other fights," Arum said.

"That's what we are concentrating on – the fight with Amir Khan at the UAE," he stressed.

However, Arum also made it quite clear that although he is on board the Pacquiao-Khan train, he remains somewhat skeptical, and needs to see the funds materialize before getting the ball rolling in terms of organizing the event.

"In order for the fight to happen in the UAE, funds have to be produced to enable the fight to happen and I am hoping that those funds would materialize," said Arum. "However, if they don't materialize, we have to do something else."

"But Michael is optimistic that the funds will materialize, and once they do, then Top Rank will roll up its sleeves and help put on a tremendous worldwide event," added the promoter, who has helped Pacquiao become a global sporting icon.

Arum believes he has reason to be doubtful. According to an ESPN report, investors in the UAE are supposedly offering $38 million for the Pacquiao-Khan fight, which Arum admits "trumps the Australia deal."

"If it's real, we will assist putting on the event, but I am not holding my breath, and I'm not making plane reservations," Arum told ESPN. "We'll see what we see. If the $38 million comes up, the fight will take place, and we'll all be happy."

"And if it doesn't, there will be one guy who won't be surprised," said Arum.

Arum told Dyan Castillejo of ABS-CBN News that he hopes Koncz is right, and that the UAE investors will come up with the necessary funds. However, the promoter is still bracing himself for the possibility that the deal may fall apart at any moment.

"If the funds materialized, the fight will go on. If they don't materialize, then we'll have to search for a viable alternative," Arum said.

"It is not accurate to say that the fight is on. It is also not accurate to say that the fight won't happen," he further stressed. "We don't know. We have to wait and see if the funds materialize."

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