Manny Pacquiao has confirmed he and his team are in talks with Amir Khan over a fight to be held this year, likely to be in the United Arab Emirates.
Pacquiao's comments come just days after his promoter Bob Arum dismissed reports of an agreement with the Briton as 'b******t'. The eight-weight world champion, who also now serves as a Congressman in his native Philippines, had been in talks to fight Australian welterweight Jeff Horn but his focus would now appear to have shifted to former world champion Khan.
"My team and I are in negotiations with Amir Khan for our next fight. Further announcement coming soon," Pacquiao tweeted through his official Twitter account.
While the UK had been touted as a possible destination for Khan vs Pacquiao, the UAE would now appear to be offering the greater deal to bring the fight to them. The latest developments also appears to dash Horn's hopes of challenging for the 38-year-old's WBO title in his hometown of Brisbane.
Speaking to ESPN after Pacquiao's announcement, Arum said: "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.
"Whether it happens or not, I just don't know, because they have to come up with a large amount of money. 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 power, I don't really know."
Earlier this month, Pacquiao conducted a poll on Twitter, asking his followers to decide his next opponent. Khan was the overwhelming favourite, collecting 48% of the vote. IBF champion Kell Brook and Terence Crawford were also more popular options than Horn, with just 7% of nearly 45,000 votes opting for him.
Pacquiao announced his retirement from boxing after victory over Timothy Bradley in April 2016 but seven months later he returned to the ring to fight Jessie Vargas and win the WBO title.
Khan meanwhile has fought just twice in the last two years, stepping up to middleweight to challenge Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in May last year. The Bolton-fighter was emphatically knocked out in the sixth round, later announcing he would return to fight at 147lbs.
Khan had been in talks with Kell Brook over a long-awaited meeting between the two British welterweights, but hopes of that fight finally happening appear to have been dashed for now with Brook now set to defend his IBF title against Errol Spence Jr.