The Dubai International Stadium has emerged as the chosen host for Manny Pacquiao’s proposed clash with Amir Khan, Sport360 understands.
There are still many hurdles to clear before the fight is set in stone but sources close to the deal have confirmed the 30,000-capacity stadium is the preferred stage.
And it’s a venue familiar to Khan with the 30-year-old having watched Pakistan take on the West Indies in a T20 clash last September.
However, discussions are still ongoing as to when the fight will take place. Khan has agreed to the recently mooted May 20 date, though, that night is proving problematic for Pacquiao.
The 38-year-old is scheduled to fulfill his duties in the Philippines Senate, which will be in session in May, and it is understood his preference would be to fight on the initially slated April 23 date – just under seven weeks away.
But Pacquiao’s Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told ESPN that April is out of the question.
“Manny is not going to fight in April,” he said.
“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.”
A further complication is the start of Ramadan, which is expected to start on May 26, with Khan a dedicated Muslim who traditionally does not fight in and round that time.
Pacquiao is a senator in the Philippines House of Representatives and ended a short stay in retirement to focus on those duties to take the WBO welterweight title from Jessie Vargas last November.
Khan, meanwhile, has not fought since a sickening sixth-round knockout from Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and returned to training in the New Year after undergoing major hand surgery.
The Dubai International Stadium, which opened in 2009, is situated in Sports City and has played host to Test, ODI, and T20 international cricket as well as the Indian Premier League and Pakistan Super League, plus has been a venue for the likes of well renowned music artists such as Drake.
It is also known for its spectacular system of floodlights named the ‘Ring of Fire’.