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Pacquiao-Khan fight off

Manny Pacquiao (left) and Britain’s Amir Khan

LOS ANGELES:  A potentially money-spinning bout between Philippine boxing icon Manny Pacquiao and Britain’s Amir Khan has collapsed, The Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday. Pacquiao’s long-time promoter Bob Arum told the newspaper that the proposed $38 million fight staged by the United Arab Emirates in April had proven to be “pie in the sky.” “When they contacted me, I told them it was pie in the sky, that this is crazy, it’s not going to happen,” Arum said.  “Manny wanted to roll the dice. He rolled the dice and it came up snake eyes. If something is too good to be true, it’s too good to be true.” Arum still held out the possibility of a fight between Pacquiao and Khan later this year, for “realistic numbers”, stating that the suggested purse for the UAE fight had never been likely.

In the meantime, welterweight champion Pacquiao was likely to revert to an original plan to fight Australia’s Jeff Horn at a venue to be determined, the Times reported. Both Pacquiao and Khan had announced their fight within minutes of each other on Twitter last month. “My team and I have agreed terms with Manny Pacquiao and his team for a super fight #pacquiaokhan #April23rd”,” Khan tweeted on February 26. Khan, 30, has not fought since being knocked out by Mexico’s Canelo Alvarez last May. Pacquiao, 38, announced a brief retirement last year but made a successful comeback against Jessie Vargas in Las Vegas in November, saying he still felt like a youngster.

Pacquiao had said he was retiring to focus on his new role as Philippine senator, after winning elections last year on the back of his sporting fame. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Joseph Parker will defend his World Boxing Organisation (WBO) heavyweight title against Britain’s Hughie Fury in Auckland on May 6, his promoters said yesterday. It will be Parker’s first defence of the belt he won in December after it was vacated by Tyson Fury, Hughie’s cousin. “Joseph loves fighting at home in front of his Kiwi fans so we really wanted to give him that opportunity against a truly dangerous, gifted young opponent in Hughie Fury,” Parker’s Duco Events promoter David Higgins said. Both young fighters are undefeated, with 25-year-old Parker boasting a 22-0 record, 18 by knockout, and Fury, 22, at 20-0, with 10 knockouts.

Most interest in the fight will be on who the winner meets next, with potential unification bouts looming involving Britain’s IBF champion Anthony Joshua or American WBC title holder Deontay Wilder. Higgins confirmed Duco had already been in discussions with representatives for Wilder and Joshua-who fights ex-champ Wladimir Klitschko in London next month-although he insisted Parker’s main focus was Hughie Fury. Further complicating the heavyweight scene, Tyson Fury this week hinted he would return against an unknown opponent on May 13.

Duco said Tyson-who surrendered his belts in October after admitting taking cocaine to combat depression-was expected to join his cousin’s entourage in Auckland. In a promotional video released by Duco to coincide with the Parker fight announcement, Hughie Fury spoke of creating a heavyweight dynasty with his cousin. “I’ll win this title, then Tyson can come back and we can both rule the heavyweight division together,” he said. – AFP

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