Dubai: Manny Pacquiao revealed on Sunday that his April fight against Jeff Horn will be in the UAE, but Horn’s promoters are adamant it will still be in Australia as initially planned.
Pacquiao, 38, posted: “See you in UAE for my next fight,” across all his social media accounts on Sunday morning.
It came a day after the Filipino boxer’s adviser Michael Koncz held a press conference in Abu Dhabi with event organisers Al Afaq Tourism on Saturday claiming that the fight would be held somewhere in the UAE in April.
This contradicted earlier claims that the contest would be staged in Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium in Australia on April 23. “We have executed the agreement and 100 per cent the fight will be here in the UAE,” Koncz had told Gulf News. “I apologise to the people of Australia and their government there for all the confusion.
“It took us a while to get this deal together, there was a lot of confusion as to whether this was going to happen here in the UAE, but I’m here with full authority and power,” he added.
Koncz’ claims were quickly rubbished by Horn’s promoter Dean Lonergan on Sunday, who said only Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum had the authority to represent the fighter.
“For the last six weeks I’ve been dealing with Bob Arum and Top Rank, since he’s the promoter of Manny Pacquiao, to put this together,” Lonergran told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“We now get to the point where we think we can get close to closing it so it’s going to be in Australia.
“As far as I’m concerned this has totally come out of the blue. We’re just going to have to wait and see if there’s any substance to the story.
“I’m talking today to Brad Jacobs, the COO [chief operating officer] of Top Rank, and the other people from the Top Rank team and we continue to organise the fight and until I’m told otherwise by Bob Arum, as far as I’m concerned, we’ll just keep moving forward with Brisbane and trying to get the deal done here.”
Koncz had earlier said that Australia was just a back-up plan and that it wasn’t up to Arum to decide. “When Bob said it will happen there [Australia] I asked him ‘what are you talking about?’ A promoter works for the boxer, but the boxer doesn’t work for the promoter.
“We have had a successful bond with him [Arum] but Manny is the boss. I told him why are you speaking to the media when it is just a backup plan?”
Either, Koncz and Arum are genuinely at odds, or both men are feigning disagreement in order to use UAE speculation to get more money out of Australia.
Until Arum speaks, or until an official from the UAE confirms a date and venue, the confusion will continue.
Several claims of big fights being held in the UAE have never materialised. The last serious bout in the UAE involving a big name was when Britain’s Chris Eubank Senior fought Colombia’s Camilo Alarcon at Dubai Tennis Stadium in 1997.