Manny Pacquiao still hoping for Abu Dhabi fight

Talks for Pacquiao-Margarito bout in UAE failed last year, but adviser hopes to return.

LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 14: Manny Pacquiao celebrates his 12 round TKO victory against Miguel Cotto during their WBO welterweight title fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on November 14, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.   Al Bello/Getty Images/AFP
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ABU DHABI // The Filipino boxing champion Manny Pacquiao, who has been nominated for his first Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award, is still hopeful that Abu Dhabi will be the venue for his next fight.
"I tried to negotiate ... to have Manny's last fight [in Abu Dhabi]," said Pacquiao's Canadian adviser, Michael Koncz said today.
There were talks to stage his WBC super welterweight bout against Antonio Margarito in the capital last Novermber.
Bob Arum, the head of Top Rank Promotions, which represents Pacquiao, and Mr Koncz met an Abu Dhabi official on July 14 to discuss the possibility.
The fight went instead to the Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas - with Pacquiao emerging victorious.
"But I haven't given up on it," said Mr Koncz. "I hope to come back in the near future to continue negotiating for it.
"I am aware that in the United Arab Emirates, there are 425,000 Filipinos employed, but it looks like his next fight is in Singapore, because I was there last week negotiating with people there."
After fighting Shane Mosley in Las Vegas on May 7, Pacquiao may stage his next world title fight in Singapore, he said. "We're 90 per cent done," he said, adding that no date has been agreed on.
"If it's a difficult fight then Manny would probably fight in November but if it's a short fight and Manny wins by an early knockout it could be much sooner," Mr Koncz said in comments published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer in Manila earlier this month.
Mr Koncz said Pacquiao had asked him to relay a message to the Laureus World Sports Awards organisers that due to a scheduling conflict, "he regrets that he can't make it and that he is looking forward to going there in Abu Dhabi".
"He is very honoured and feels privileged to be a nominee in this prestigious award," he said. "He would just like to thank the group for nominating him."
Considered the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world, Pacquiao was named Fighter of the Decade for the 2000s by the Boxing Writers Association of America.