Abu Dhabi: Boxing superstar Manny Pacquiao remains hopeful that his next fight will take place in Dubai or Abu Dhabi and insists he is faster and better than potential opponent Amir Khan.
Speaking to Gulf News at Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, the 36-year-old former eight-division world champion said: “It could happen. I am ready to fight here.”
Pacquiao was at the home of the Formula One Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to support Rahma, a new charitable cancer service in Abu Dhabi, during a week-long trip to the UAE.
He signed autographs and posed for selfies with thousands of fans at the venue ahead of RahmaYAS, a charity walk and cycle around the F1 circuit.
Pacquiao also presented Rahma staff with a generous $50,000 (Dh183,647) donation for the charity, which provides practical and psychological support for people diagnosed with cancer.
Of his preferred opponent, Pacquiao said Khan, his former sparring partner and the current WBC Silver welterweight champion, the unbeaten Terence Crawford and the current WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley are all possibilities.
#MannyPacquiao bombarded by media at Yas Marina https://t.co/OvNu5n0xpx— Euan R (@EuanR1) November 7, 2015
He seemed less certain about a rematch with the man that beat him on points in the ‘Fight of the Century’ in May, Floyd Mayweather Junior, who has since retired from the sport. “I am not sure about Mayweather,” Pacquiao said.
But would Khan not be too dangerous a rival for what is likely to be Pacquiao’s final fight, given that he is eight years younger than the Filipino and renowned for his lightning speed?
“I used to fight him [in sparring],” Pacquiao said. “He’s a good boxer, a good fighter, but I am faster. It wouldn’t be easy but I am confident I would beat him.”
#MannyPacquiao at Yas Marina https://t.co/hbrOZXUmQ9— Euan R (@EuanR1) November 7, 2015
Of Pacquiao’s appearance, Al Tareq Al Ameri, Chief Executive Officer of Yas Marina Circuit, said: “It’s like what we always say: Yas Marina Circuit is the meeting place of champions. Manny Pacquiao is the people’s champion and we are thrilled he is here to support such a worthy cause.
“He is known for his charitable activities and, once we reached out to him, he was delighted to support it.”
Has he invited Pacquiao to attend the Formula One Eithad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, which takes place later this month? Al Ameri said: “I think we want to see his schedule and see if he’s going to make it or not.”
One of the scores of people taking part in RahmaYAs, Filipino Maui Jaramillo, said he had signed up for the event due to Pacquiao’s inspirational presence and the charitable aspect involved. The 36-year-old art director told Gulf News: “Manny is charitable to everybody, it’s very inspiring.”