Bob Arum: “The Australian deal is not going to happen now”

JEFF Horn’s fairytale world title bid against Manny Pacquiao appears to be on unsteady ground.

Pacquiao’s promoter, the iconic Bob Arum of Top Rank, told ESPN earlier today that the eight division titleholder and reigning WBO welterweight titleholder is pursuing a lucrative offer to fight in the United Arab Emirates after talks with Horn’s New Zealand-based promoter Duco Events failed to be formalised.

“The Australian deal is not going to happen now, because Manny is trying to get a fight done in the United Arab Emirates, and the people there favour him fighting Amir Khan,” said Arum to ESPN.

“Whether it will happen or not, I just don’t know, because they have to come up with a large amount of money,” he continued. “Manny seems to believe they will come up with the money. I have some reservations whether it will happen or not. If the money comes up, I will aid and abet the fight happening. But right now, I’m holding my powder. I don’t really know.”

The United Arab Emirates has been linked with many high-profile fights in the past. However, as is the case with relatively unfamiliar fight destinations, the funding more often than not appears to be too good to be true.

As Arum admits, the proposed offer in Brisbane for Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs) to challenge Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) at Suncorp Stadium was suitable, but it appears to be a fraction of what the United Arab Emirates consortium is offering to host a fight between future Hall of Famer Pacquiao and former unified light welterweight champion Amir Khan (31-4, 19 KOs).

The proposed date was initially April 23rd in Brisbane, but the conflicting timeline offered by Pacquiao’s advisor Michael Koncz is May 20th, which Arum was quick to dismiss due to Pacquiao’s political commitments in the Philippines.

Whether or not the Brisbane-based Horn secures his dream opportunity to challenge the legendary Filipino remains to be seen, but if Arum’s opinion is anything to go by, an agreement has not been reached for Pacquiao to face either Horn or Khan.

“May 20 is a non-starter. The senate in the Philippines is in session then,” explained Arum. “Maybe in April or maybe June, but not May.”

“The Australian deal was a lot of money, but it paled in comparison to the money they’re supposedly offering, 38 million.”

“I’m a practical man. The money in Australia wasn’t anywhere near $38 million. What do I know? We live in an alternative reality world. I don’t know what the story is. If the $38 million is real, it 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.”

“We’ll see what we see. If the $38 million comes up, the fight will take place, and we’ll all be happy,” he concluded. “And if it doesn’t, there will be one guy who won’t be surprised.”