Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan agree terms for April UAE superfight

Manny Pacquiao and Amir Khan agree terms for April UAE superfight
British boxer Amir Khan and Filipino superstar Manny Pacquiao have penned a deal for a mega fight in the United Arab Emirates for the WBO welterweight title.

The fight will take place on April 23 at an as-yet-unconfirmed arena in the UAE. However, Dubai is likely to be the preferred location for the fight, which will form a leg of Pacquiao’s retirement tour as he calls time on an illustrious career that has seen him win world titles in five different weight divisions.

Khan coincidentally was the fans’ choice of next opponent for 'Pac Man' when the Filipino champ himself asked his 118,000 Twitter followers who they wanted to see him face next. Khan came top with a 48 percent majority of the 44,815 votes, ahead of fellow Briton Kell Brook, American pound-for-pound star Terrence Crawford and Australian Jeff Horn.

Khan expressed his delight at the news on Instagram, where he posted a picture of the iconic game Pac Man, from where the with the caption "Time to play."

Time to play #Pacman

Публикация от Amir Khan (@amirkingkhan)

It is not the first time Pacquiao and Khan, himself a two-time light welterweight world title winner, have shared the ring. The two are former gym mates and sparring partners, having both trained together at renowned coach Freddie Roach’s legendary Wild Card gym in Los Angeles, California.

That was in the earlier stages of Khan’s career. The Athens 2004 Olympic silver medalist has only fought in his native UK twice since 2010 since he moved to LA to train with Roach, winning the IBF light welterweight title under the American’s tutelage to add to his WBA strap in 2011, before suffering back to back defeats.

The 30-year-old then regathered some career momentum by winning his next five fights before suffering a devastating six-round knockout to middleweight king Saul Alvarez in May 2016. The Bolton, Lancashire-born fighter has not boxed competitively since that date.

Pacquiao will be coming into the fight defending the WBO welterweight title he won by decision from Jesse Vargas in Las Vegas in November.

That win came after Pacquiao ended a short retirement that allowed him to pursue a career in Congress in his native Philippines, where he has served as senator. In January, Pacquiao's manager Bob Arum hinted that Russia could be a possible destination in his charge's planned curtain-closing tour. 

The 38-year-old recently courted controversy when he alleged cross-dressing by those identifying as transgender could “deceive” others and may be used to commit fraud in relation to the murder of 26-year-old Filipina transgender sex worker Jennifer Laude, who was strangled to death by US Marine James Scott Pemberton upon discovering her physical gender.

Pacquiao refused to offer an apology for his comments and instead stated they were based on his beliefs, despite being voted in during the same 2016 elections in which Geraldine Roman became the first openly transgender woman to join the Congress of the Philippines, and who is also religious.