Manny Pacquiao’s denies Amir Khan claims over Saudi Arabia bout


Manny Pacquiao’s publicist has denied a deal has been agreed to fight Amir Khan in Saudi Arabia in November.

Khan claims the bout in Riyadh on 8 November is “signed off and done” following his stoppage win over Australia’s Billy Dib in the Middle East on Friday.

But Pacquiao’s spokesperson Fred Sternberg told BBC Sport: “Manny has not signed any contract.

“As far as I know it hasn’t been even discussed,” Sternberg added on Tuesday.

A proposed fight between Khan and Pacquiao fell through in 2017 and the 40-year-old icon is scheduled to fight American Keith Thurman in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Khan emphasised Pacquiao has “signed” for the fight, although he was uncertain how things may play out if Thurman was to pursue any rematch with the Filipino in the event he loses his WBA super-welterweight title on Saturday.

“I hope it is him but we will have to look at back-up plans,” Khan added. “I’ve always wanted to fight him. It’s the biggest fight out there for me.”

But Sternberg said his man is solely focused on Thurman.

“He’s been in training camp for the past eight weeks, four in the Philippines and four in the States, and he hasn’t met with Amir Khan during that time.”

He also said he did not know where Khan’s claims had come from: “That’s a question you need to ask Amir Khan”.

Khan has long sought the chance to face Pacquiao, one of the sport’s most decorated fighters.

Khan earned a reported £7m in beating Dib in Saudi Arabia over the weekend and said criticism of his move to fight in the Middle East stems from “jealousy”, adding fighters “would be stupid not to” take advantage of fighting there.

Since returning to the sport after almost two years out of the ring in April 2018, Khan has three wins and lost a controversial world-title shot against Terence Crawford when he was pulled out by his corner after a low blow.

The Bolton fighter was forced to answer questions on whether he quit in the bout but he returned to the ring to beat Dib and now believes he will again feature in an eye-catching contest against former sparring partner Pacquiao.

“When I sparred with him he was at his peak,” said Khan. “I got good rounds with him and did really well. I have probably sparred between 200 and 300 rounds with him. He has slowed down a bit.”

Pacquiao holds a record of 61 wins, seven defeats and two draws in a 24-year professional career while Khan has 34 wins and five defeats to his name.

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