Top Rank founder and CEO Bob Arum has emphatically rejected reports that Manny Pacquiao's camp have now agreed terms on a May bout with former stablemate Amir Khan.
A report from the The Times on Tuesday morning (21 May) that was quickly picked up elsewhere suggested that, while contracts were yet to be signed, a verbal agreement had been reached to host the fight in the United Kingdom rather than the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Bolton's Macron Stadium and the Manchester Arena were cited as potential venues.
"The Amir Khan story has come out of nowhere. It is total and complete b*******," Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, was quoted as saying by Brisbane's Courier Mail.
"What's happening is that Manny is talking to these people in Dubai who have offered him an insane amount of money. Whether (the offer) is real or not real — he is determined to explore it to see if it has any validity. That's all I can say.''
As a congressman running for a seat in the Philippines Senate, eight-division world champion Pacquiao initially ended his illustrious career in April 2016 after easily winning a farewell trilogy fight against Timothy Bradley. That retirement proved to be short-lived, however, with the 38-year-old returning to the ring just seven months later and beating Jessie Vargas to claim the WBO welterweight belt.
'Pacman' was expected to face former Australian Olympian Jeff Horn next, although that fight has yet to be agreed. Pacquiao himself followed in former adversary Floyd Mayweather Jr's footsteps last week by launching a Twitter poll in order to discover who his legion of fans wanted him to fight next. Khan came out on top with 48%, ahead of domestic rival Kell Brook and unified light-welterweight champion Terence Crawford. Horn finished bottom with a measly 7%.
Negotiations regarding a meeting between Pacquiao and Horn at Suncorp Stadium in Queensland have yet to be concluded, with the former seemingly indicating that his next contest would take place in the UAE with the wording of that aforementioned poll.
Khan has not fought since undergoing right hand surgery after jumping two divisions and being subjected to a vicious sixth-round knockout by then WBC middleweight king Saul "Canelo" Alvarez in Las Vegas last May. Such an injury was said to have been afflicting the Briton for 13 years and limiting him to "30 or 40 per cent punching power".
Eyeing a return in 2017, Khan looked likely to finally settle on a high-profile all-British clash against IBF welterweight title-holder Brook. However, those talks ended due to a public disagreement over the purse split and 'Special K' is now set to defend his strap against dangerous mandatory challenger Errol Spence Jr in May.
"Brook fight happens when I say," Khan, who has also canvassed social media opinion with regards to his next opponent, tweeted over the weekend. He later revealed that he believed he could make fights against the winner of next month's eagerly-anticipated 147-pound unification clash between Thurman and Danny Garcia in addition to Brook or Puerto Rican veteran Miguel Cotto. He also expressed a desire for a rematch against Lamont Peterson after the American beat WBA regular welterweight champion David Avanesyan in Cincinnati on Saturday night (18 February).