Manny Pacquiao said on Sunday he was still wanted a rematch with Jeff Horn after the Filipino boxing hero pulled out of their scheduled bout in Australia later his year.
Queensland’s premier, whose state government was the financial backer of a November 12 fight, announced on Friday that Pacquiao “cannot return to the ring” due to other commitments.
“It will not push through there in Australia. But we are bringing the fight here in the Philippines,” Pacquiao said on radio station DZBB, adding negotiations were ongoing.
“This will be good for our country’s tourism.”
Pacquiao, 38, had initially called for a rematch after losing his World Boxing Organization welterweight title to the 29-year-old on points Horn in a major upset in Brisbane on July 2.
Pacquiao, who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions, had demanded a review of the bout but the WBO declared Horn the clear winner after a panel of judges re-scored the fight.
Now in the twilight of a 22-year professional career, Pacquiao has not stopped an opponent in eight years and briefly quit boxing last year to pursue his long-held political ambitions and was elected senator.
But he quickly made a successful comeback against Jessie Vargas in November, saying he still felt like a youngster.
Pacquiao has defied calls to retire for good, including from his family and celebrated American trainer Freddie Roach.
Pacquiao dismissed funding concerns about hosting the multi-million dollar fight in the Philippines.
“We have lots of friends who are supporting us including our tourism (department). The president is giving his all-out support,” Pacquiao said referring to his political ally Rodrigo Duterte.
Amir Khan is awaiting a date for a return to the ring so that he can finally put his miserable year behind him.
During his inactivity following the knockout defeat by Saul Alvarez, he has twice overhauled his team, struggled with a persistent hand injury, split from his wife Faryal Makhdoom, and wrongly accused her of cheating on him with Anthony Joshua.
Khan recently met with advisor Al Haymon and hopes to fight again before the year’s end as he begins what he believes will be the final three years of his career.
He is also willing to consider an eventual fight with rival Kell Brook on the condition Brook is not working with promoter Eddie Hearn, but only after he has again won a world title and pursued rematches with Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia.
Khan’s old team is again by his side after the fighter had previously decided to work without father Shah, his uncle Taz and close friend Saj Mohamed, who were once his closest aides.
He is also again punching after his right hand required a third operation, and therefore finally looking towards the future that had once shown such promise.
“It’s always tough,” Khan responded when asked how difficult the past months had been. “This has only given me the chance now to focus more on boxing. I’m going to have to prove people wrong.
“I need my old team back, those hard days of training, be dedicated. These are the last few years in my career, where I focus and don’t make no more mistakes.
“From these fallouts, you learn to know yourself as well, and see everything around you. You get to see the real people around you, who’s really looking out for you and who’s not. I’ve got to see a lot of those things that make a lot of sense to me.
“There’s a lot of people saying ‘We can help you, we can do this for you, we can do that for you’. Your family’s always going to be there looking out for your best interests.
“There was a lot of people who wanted to help but wanted to be looked out for themselves a lot more.
“I want to fight end of November, or early December. I know it’s been a long time since the hand (injury), I had to have a third operation, but the hand’s good now.
“I want to keep busy for the next three years, work hard, and then relax.
“(The ring is) where I’m comfortable. I need one fight, get it over, and then it’s back to normal again.
“I want to win another world title and I want to get at least four to five fights, then call it a day.
“I’m left with that now and that’s what I’m going to do.”
Khan also revealed he and Joshua had spoken since he had apologised for wrongly writing that he and Makhdoon, who reportedly could receive half of his £30million fortune through their divorce, had been seeing each other before their split.
“He rang me,” said the 31-year-old, whose 2017 was also undermined by the collapse of a fight with Manny Pacquiao. “Everything’s cool. I said ‘Look, everything was a misunderstanding’. He goes ‘I want to be able to come over and shake your hand, champ. We want to keep that respect and love’.
A fight will Brook will long remain an option, but he said: “The only way I would take that fight is if he left Eddie Hearn. I just don’t like Eddie Hearn, He’s very disrespectful and he’s never come clear with me.
“Eddie Hearn said to me he knows I’d beat Kell Brook; there are levels in boxing. I don’t really rate Kell Brook. I could take that fight and beat him but why should I give him the opportunity when he just talks trash all the time?”
In the end, nothing has changed and that in itself is the best outcome for all.
Floyd Mayweather got the result boxing so richly required, MMA got the performance from Conor McGregor it so desperately needed, the fans got the entertainment they craved and everyone got paid.
Indeed, Mayweather’s 10th round stoppage of a brave, but beaten, McGregor in Las Vegas was the perfect conclusion to what seemed an imperfect match-up.
Far from the farce predicted, McGregor can hold his head high and Mayweather likewise for giving the fans what they wanted in finally hunting to take a head off.
Now, we move on with the acceptance that this megafight, an awkward marriage of two contrasting disciplines, had no negative or positive impact on either sport.
It existed and it happened, monetarily going down in the history books and culturally taking on significance as a remarkable piece of one-time entertainment – nothing more.
With the appetite satisfied, the hope now is that this is the last of the crossover clash because quite simply they don’t serve a purpose, we don’t need to see it again.
McGregor can return to his natural habitat in MMA, emboldened by his lionhearted display and bloated financially by a big boxing payday.
Whether it is this year or next, when the Dublin-native does decide to compete in MMA again his reputation is more than fortified.
He outlanded Mayweather in the first three sessions, boxed rather than brawled on his debut in the sport and will have earned a fraction of the exponential viewership to take back to MMA.
That same boxing audience will now be searching for a new pay-per-view star because Mayweather is finished – for real this time.
There was always a sense after the Andre Berto fight that he would be back, too tantalising the prospect of just sitting level with Rocky Marciano on 49-0. And his performance exemplified why the time is right to bow out.
For a 40-year-old man, Mayweather was in tremendous physical condition, strong into the deep rounds as a 29-year-old McGregor faded fast, but he looked old. This wasn’t the greatest boxer of this generation as he did, in fairness, perpetually profess in the build-up claiming, “he wasn’t the same”, but he delivered on his promise to right the wrong of his Manny Pacquiao performance.
In reality, McGregor needed a knockout before the fourth round but Mayweather did exactly what was necessary to make sure that didn’t happen.
He barely threw a punch in the first three stanzas but he didn’t blink either as he read McGregor’s unorthodox movement.
He covered up in three and four to look for counters then put the pressure on gradually until McGregor was cooked.
While the debutant delivered 111-of-430 (25.8 per cent), Mayweather contrastingly landed 170-of-320 (53.1 per cent) of his punches. Although the Irishman registered 30 more punches than Pacquiao managed in two more rounds, it must be prefaced Mayweather sacrificed his signature defensive style to make it an interesting fight.
“I wanted to go out with a bang to give the fans what they wanted to see,” Mayweather told ESPN post-fight. “I didn’t want to give the fans a boring fight.
“I kept my composure. I knew I would take some shots. We came on in the second half. We had a game plan. Our game plan worked.”
With the prestige of 50-0, he can retire rich and unrivalled while McGregor seeks a new adversary.
But like always the Irishman has option, a Russian superfight with Khabib Nurmagomedov, a lucrative trilogy conclusion with Nate Diaz or just the defence of his 155lbs title are all on the table.
“This was some buzz to come in and fight this man,” McGregor said. “There was so many things to overcome. I have many options in MMA. I am sure there will be options that will present themselves in the boxing game.
“I love competing. I love a damn good fight. I can’t tell you exactly what is next but something will be next.”
That doesn’t sound a man defeated, indeed, it’s as if nothing has changed at all.