Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan's prospective fight has been thrown into deep uncertainty after promoter Bob Arum ruled out the bout taking place on the originally intended date of 23 April. The former sparring partners confirmed the clash on Twitter, with the United Arab Emirates touted as a potentially venue, but the Top Rank chief says those details are yet to be ironed out.
No official announcement has been made by either team, bar the messages on social media, and it appears unlikely a date will be set in stone for some time to come. And Arum says the fight is "a long way from being done" and has rubbished talk of an agreement having been reached.
"The point is that this is all so premature," Arum told ESPN. "It's all b******t. 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."
With the penultimate weekend in April out of the question, few options are available in May with Canelo Alvarez and Terence Crawford both in action on seperate fight nights. Khan prevailed in an online poll among Pacquiao's fans on his Twitter page, and is the preferred option to fight Pacquiao in the eyes of representatives from the UAE due to the Briton's Muslim roots.
Though Arum has confirmed an offer for $38m has been submitted by a UAE investment group and that talks have been held with Pacquiao's manager Michael Koncz, the promoter wants to see further evidence of interest from Asia to help progress negotiations.
"We had a nice meeting, but there's a lot of work to do before anything materialises," he added. "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*****g around.
"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,
The 85-year-old later warned: "This could all go away like the breeze. If you can find the money, if you can find that $38 million, I'll give you 10%, make it 20%. The point is a lot of these deals take time to put together, to find money and everything. We're not there."