Top Rank promoter Bob Arum remains unsure if the proposed Manny Pacquiao-Amir Khan fight in the United Arab Emirates will happen, but he said that if it does it will not be on April 23 (April 22 in the United States) as the fighters have said it would be.
Nor is Arum sure if it will happen on May 19 (May 20 in the U.S.), the date Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz told Yahoo Sports it was being moved to. In fact, there is nothing quite certain about the fight, Arum said.
"The point is that this is all so premature," Arum told ESPN on Wednesday. "It's all bulls---. But Manny is not going to fight in April. I don't even know if May is feasible. I haven't even talked to Manny. All it is right now is a discussion. It's like somebody saying, 'Hey, let's build a new stadium for the Raiders in Las Vegas.' You can say anything, but we're a long way from it being done."
Arum and Koncz met for dinner on Tuesday night in Las Vegas, where Arum lives, to talk about the possible deal with an unnamed investment group interesting in bringing Pacquiao to the UAE -- at a site to be determined in Dubai or Abu Dhabi -- to defend his welterweight world title against Khan, whose Muslim background makes him the group's preferred opponent.
Koncz told Yahoo Sports that instead of April 23 the fight would instead take place on May 20 -- meaning a rare Friday night pay-per-view in the U.S. time zones -- in order to allow more time to promote the event. But Arum said that although he and Koncz talked about the new date it is not even close to being set in stone.
"We had a nice meeting, but there's a lot of work to do before anything materializes," Arum said. "A lot of work. As of now, other than the fact that Michael and I are on the same page as far as the fight not happening in April and that we hope to make something happen, who knows? I have absolutely nothing to report definitively and I am not f------ around."
Arum said that the investment group in the UAE was dangling $38 million at Pacquiao to fight there, which is the reason he declined to go through with a fight against Australia's Jeff Horn, which Arum had negotiated for April 22 in Brisbane, Australia, although for much less than $38 million.
"After I met with Koncz I realized everything was up in the air as far as the money [in the UAE]. They punted to me and said, 'Go find the money.' So far it hasn't surfaced," Arum said, laughing. "Did I discuss a date in May with Michael? Yes. But I've got to talk to the people in the Middle East to see if this is real, to see if they can even go on that date in May, to see what venue would be available. Nobody has checked with them. I suggested the date to Koncz, but to say it's done, again, it's ridiculous."
Initially, Arum said the 38-year-old Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) would not be available to box in May because he serves in the senate in the Philippines, which will be in session then, and Pacquiao has promised not to miss any sessions. On Wednesday, Arum said that he thought the senate would adjust its schedule to allow Pacquiao to train and fight in late May.
Arum said the Muslim holy month of Ramadan also had to be considered because of where the fight would take place and the fact that Khan (31-4, 19 KOs), 30, the former unified junior welterweight titleholder from England, would not fight during Ramadan. It begins May 26 and ends June 25.
A May fight would also mean it would compete with the Canelo Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. HBO PPV fight, which is scheduled for May 6 in Las Vegas, and having two major pay-per-view cards in the same month is something promoters generally shy away from.
However, it does happen, such as in November when Top Rank put on its own pay-per-view -- Pacquiao against Jessie Vargas -- a couple of weeks before the HBO PPV card headlined by the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev light heavyweight world title fight.
Arum, however, said he is not getting ahead of himself with regard to Pacquiao-Khan.
"This could all go away like the breeze," he said. "If you can find the money, if you can find that $38 million, I'll give you 10 percent, make it 20 percent. The point is a lot of these deals take time to put together, to find money and everything. We're not there."