On late Saturday night, two of boxing’s biggest stars made a surprise announcement on Twitter as Manny Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KO’s) and Amir Khan (31-4, 19 KO’s) announced that they have agreed to square off on April 23 in the United Arab Emirates.
Negotiations between team Pacquiao and team Khan have come to terms for the April 23 bout as this is what the fans wanted. #PacquiaoKhan
— Manny Pacquiao (@mannypacquiao) February 26, 2017
— Amir Khan (@amirkingkhan) February 26, 2017
Pacquiao, 38, was expected to fight undefeated Australian contender Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11 KO’s) on April 22 in Brisbane, but an offer to fight in the United Arab Emirates intrigued the Filipino superstar. The former eight-division world champion last fought in November when he defeated Jessie Vargas (27-2, 10 KO’s) by unanimous decision to win the WBO welterweight title.
He will be making the first defense of that belt against the 30-year-old Khan, who has been out of the ring since May. In his last fight, Khan moved up in weight to challenge Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KO’s) for the WBC middleweight title. Khan gave a great account of himself with his boxing skills and speed but was brutally knocked out by an Alvarez right hand in the sixth round.
Khan, the star from Bolton, England, is of Pakistani descent and is a big star in the Middleast, where this fight is expected to take place in April, but no official location has been announced. This date fits well in the schedule of Pacquiao, who is a senator in the Philipines and has a senate recess period during that time.
If this fight does indeed take place, it will be a nice treat for boxing fans. The prior announcement of the fight between Pacquiao and Horn disappointed many because Horn is a virtual unknown on the global stage. With this matchup, we will see a terrific display of hand speed and boxing skill between two fighters that know each other very well, as Khan used to train with Freddie Roach at the Wild Card gym where Pacquiao trains.
Pacquiao’s promoter, Top Rank’s Bob Arum, has not officially announced this fight but with both fighters announcing an agreement, it appears it will be made official sooner rather than later.