Top Rank promoter Bob Arum spent considerable time putting together a deal for welterweight titleholder Manny Pacquiao to defend his belt against Australia's Jeff Horn in April in Brisbane, Australia, but Pacquiao decided it wasn't for him.
Instead, Pacquiao went chasing after a supposed $38 million pot being dangled by an unnamed investment group that wanted to bring him to the United Arab Emirates to fight former unified junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan in late April.
Arum was skeptical from the get-go that the UAE deal was real and made his position known, but it did not stop Pacquiao and adviser Michael Koncz from pursuing it, and it did not stop Pacquiao and Khan from announcing via social media more than a week ago that they had agreed to fight each other (depending, of course, on the cash being in place).
But on Tuesday Arum told ESPN that the UAE deal for Pacquiao-Khan was dead, that Pacquiao won't face Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) next and that Koncz was on his way back to the Philippines to tell Pacquiao that the $38 million was nothing but a fantasy.
"Michael is on his way back to meet with Manny but it's kaddish for the UAE deal. It's dead," Arum said. "I'm talking to him about another proposal for another fight, not Khan. Khan won't be Manny's next opponent."
Arum declined to elaborate on the fight or deal he was proposing to the 38-year-old Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs), boxing's only eight-division world titleholder, because he wanted Koncz to have a chance to discuss it with Pacquiao and explore it first before he made it public.
Arum had said from the beginning of the UAE dance that April was probably out anyway because time was running short. There had been a discussion between Arum and Koncz about late May, but that never went anywhere. And then Arum said Tuesday that if the investment group in the UAE could come up with the money, perhaps a fight with Khan, 30, of England, could still happen there in November.
"UAE would not happen until November, if it happens at all, but I doubt it will," Arum said, noting that doing the fight in late June or July, after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which was proposed, was also not possible because it would have taken place at an outdoor stadium and it would be far too hot in the desert during the summer.
Arum said he expects Pacquiao to fight elsewhere in June or July, depending on the schedule of the senate in the Philippines, where Pacquiao serves.