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Saudi Arabia fight in July eyed for Manny Pacquiao

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By Nick Giongco

British promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing is keen on bringing Manny Pacquiao to fight Mikey Garcia to Saudi Arabia in early-July.

Manny Pacquiao reacts after defeating Keith Thurman by split decision in a welterweight title fight Saturday, July 20, 2019, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo / John Locher / MANILA BULLETIN)

Manny Pacquiao  (AP Photo / John Locher / MANILA BULLETIN)

Hearn, whose Matchroom outfit has a seal with DAZN, a UK-based streaming service, told ESPN MMA that he is in talks with Paradigm Sports Management (PSM) to pair Pacquiao and Garcia together for a fight in Diriyah, a town outside the capital of Riyadh where in December last year hosted the rematch starting Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua.

“All I’m concerned about is to try and make a fight between Manny Pacquiao and a top welterweight out there,” Hearn said.

“This Saturday on DAZN, we have a brilliant fight between Mikey Garcia and Jessie Vargas. Mikey Garcia has made it quite clear if he comes through on Saturday night, he would like to fight Manny Pacquiao next,” said the 40-year-old Hearn.

“I’ve had a number of conversations with (PSM head) Audie (Attar) and we would definitely like to make a play for Manny Pacquiao to fight on DAZN in Saudi Arabia,” said Hearn. “We now have a partnership with Skills Challenge Entertainment, which is our partners that we staged the Saudi fight with Andy Ruiz and Anthony Joshua to complete for a number of shows each year.”

Hearn said Pacquiao, boxing’s only eight-division champion, remains immensely popular.

“The next one is planned for early July, and Manny Pacquiao is a fighter that they would love to have onboard to box in Saudi Arabia. One of the problems with Manny Pacquiao is it seems there are 162 people claiming to represent him right now.”

But Hearn believes Attar has the authority to represent the 41-year-old Pacquiao, who beat Keith Thurman last July in his last fight in Las Vegas.

“With Audie and Paradigm looking to have the only official link, a recorded link of at least a conversation between the two of them where Manny confirms he’s being represented by Audie,” added Hearn.

About two weeks ago, Pacquiao forged a deal with Attar although Sean Gibbons, who heads MP Promotions, made it clear that Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions, still has live contract with the Filipino star.

Pacquiao, whose deal with PBC called for two fights, signed an extension with Haymon before the fight with Thurman.

PBC did the first fight when Pacquiao faced Adrien Broner in January 2019.

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