Filipino former eight division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, left, and British-Pakistani welterweight Amir Khan. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: Filipino former eight division world boxing champion Manny Pacquiao could fight British-Pakistani welterweight Amir Khan in Abu Dhabi next year, according to reports.

Khan, 28, was twice snubbed by five division world champion Floyd Mayweather this year after the unbeaten American chose to instead fight Pacquiao on May 2 and Andre Berto on September 12.

But now the Bolton-born pugilist might still get his chance of a big money bout after Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum said a fight between the pair was possible, with Abu Dhabi early next year slated as a likely option.

“This kid Amir Khan keeps shooting his mouth off about Manny Pacquiao,” Arum told the UK’s Daily Mail. “I can arrange for Khan to fight Pacquiao.

“Amir Khan has been begging Mayweather for a fight and now he can get a major fight. I’m not a hard guy to deal with. I’m not going to mess them around. Manny’s not going to fight this year.

“He’ll fight early next year and probably in the Middle East. Vegas is a possibility, but more likely in the Middle East. It won’t be Dubai, but it will be in the Middle East. If not, we’ll do it in Vegas.”

Pacquiao is still recovering from a shoulder injury following his defeat on points to Mayweather in Las Vegas, but this should be healed in time for next year. “One thing’s for sure, Pacquiao is not ducking Khan,” added Arum. “Pacquiao will fight him. I don’t know if Khan will fight Pacquiao, but it’s available.”

While holidaying in Dubai last month, Khan told Gulf News that a UAE fight with Pacquiao was the preferred option after receiving a second snub from Mayweather. “Here in Dubai, I think, is the best option because obviously if Dubai wants it there’s a huge Filipino and Pakistani community, and there are loads of UK expatriates too,” said Khan.

“It would definitely be a big fight over here, but it’s all about the [relevant UAE authorities] getting involved. They have Formula One, horse racing, soccer and cricket, so why not have boxing? Why not have big fights over here and see how big boxing can be in Dubai?”

While Arum appears to have ruled out Dubai as a destination, Abu Dhabi is the logical next location in the Middle East, which still has a large Filipino and Pakistani expatriate population, and is just an hour’s drive from Dubai by car.

Khan and Pacquiao were former sparring partners under shared coach Freddie Roach, who last year said there was no point in the pair fighting one another.

“Manny frequently put Amir on the floor, knocking him cold four or five times,” Roach was quoted as saying last November. “There’s no point Manny fighting Amir. The reality is that it’s no big fight.”

Since Roach said that however, both fighters have run out of options. Pacquiao’s stock has lessened after his points defeat to Mayweather and Khan is likewise without an opponent having been overlooked by Mayweather.