A Dubai boxing promoter has not given up on his dream of staging a 'big fight' in the UAE even as the world's attention is turned towards Las Vegas for the long-awaited May 2 'Super-Fight' between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
'Prince' Amir Shafypour, Promoter and Managing Director at Golden Cage Promotions and Events, was in contact with Team Pacquiao to bring the Filipino boxing legend for a title fight 'with or without Mayweather'.
Prince Amir had been on the line with Pacquiao's manager Freddie Roach discussing the prospect of hosting a mega-fight long before Mayweather agreed to fight Pacquiao.
"I cannot tell you what fight we will bring but we want to bring a big fight to Dubai," said Prince Amir who is founder of the $1 million Global Fighting Championship (GFC) series and has promoted Dubai as the next Las Vegas of boxing.
He even travelled to Vegas in December where he caught up with Bob Arum of Top Rank when British boxer Amir Khan outclassed Devon Alexander.
"Arum said there was too much going on the Mayweather-Pacquiao fight to take it outside. So we pulled out of it.
“Now we have to wait for the outcome of this and possibly think of hosting a rematch in Dubai," said Prince Amir who is involved in making the GFC series a success.
"We can always do a rematch or other big fights. Bob Arum is open to do business with us as a promoter. I'm waiting for this fight to be over and I'm going to work on other big fights after our (GFC) series finish before December," he said.
Prince Amir was cautious about the interest shown by British fighter Amir Khan in a dream showdown with Pacquiao in the UAE later this year.
“I want this fight. I would love to box Manny,” Khan, a former sparring partner of Pacquiao, told the Daily Mail.
“We’ve been looking at an event in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is only a short drive away. It’s a dream of mine to fight in that part of the world,” added Khan who takes on Chris Algieri in New York on May 29.
"Amir Khan wants this and it is all propaganda. These days big fighters they are smart too. They want to see which businessman will come and say here is 100 million dollars.
“At the end of the day they need a promoter or promote (fights) themselves. If they need a promoter they can sit down and talk with us," said Prince Amir.
The UAE was seriously being considered as a venue for a title fight between Manny Pacquiao and British boxer Amir Khan if the proposed May 2 showdown between Floyd Mayweather and the Filipino ring legend did not take place.
Khan emerged as the top welterweight contender after outclassing American Devon Alexander in December and emerged as a Plan B option for Pacquiao who had been chasing Mayweather for the last five years.
"We are interested in Pacquiao because there are hundreds of Filipino expatriates not only in the UAE but also around the Gulf who would fill the stadium to see their world champion," said Prince Amir in an interview earlier.
"It would be a sell out and fans in this region deserve to see Pacquiao fight before he hangs up his gloves," he added.
Staging a big fight is not only about the sale of tickets.
"It's not about being a big draw in the region. Let's say for example a Pacquiao fight would fill the stadium with 50,000 people.
“It's about pay per view, about TV, about propaganda for that fight which is the biggest attraction to the media. If media want that fight, they are going to pay. I also need millions to put the fight together. If they don't get these two, there won't be no fight, it does not matter who you are," he said.