Top Rank promoter Bob Arum strongly denied a report published Tuesday in England alleging a deal had been made for Manny Pacquiao to face Amir Khan on April 9, likely in Las Vegas, in what is supposed to be Pacquiao's final fight.
According to the report in the Daily Mail, which has published several erroneous stories about Khan, Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather in recent years, "confirmation that Khan has accepted the contract has been sent by his lawyers to Pacquiao's legendary promoter Bob Arum."
The story also quotes Shah Khan, Amir Khan's father, as saying, "Our paperwork went off to Arum on Friday, and every point is covered."
Arum, however, called the report "total bulls---."
"I haven't sent a contract to him. We haven't sent anything to him," Arum told ESPN.com on Tuesday. "Don't you think I'm the promoter of the fight and I would know if I sent a contract? It's total bulls---. It's not true. This is f---ing ridiculous. There is no deal. There is no contract. There has been no decision whatsoever."
According to Arum, the final two candidates for the fight with Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs), who is coming off surgery to repair the torn rotator cuff that followed his unanimous decision loss to Mayweather in their May 2 welterweight title unification fight (the richest in boxing history), are former unified junior welterweight titleholder Khan, whom Arum does not promote, and 2014 fighter of the year and reigning junior welterweight titleholder Terence Crawford, whom Arum promotes.
Arum said he plans to travel to the Philippines to meet with Pacquiao, who turns 37 in December, and Michael Koncz, his adviser, in the coming weeks to go over details of deals for each opponent.
"Top Rank has sent a contract to neither of them," Arum said. "Top Rank will send a contract to one of them when Manny makes his decision on who he wants to fight. Right now, what we are doing is trying to decide between Crawford and Khan for April 9. But [the reported agreement with Khan] is such bulls---. I don't know what Khan said he signed. Don't I have the right to draw up a contract with either guy? I don't know who Manny wants to fight."
While Arum was on the phone with ESPN.com at the Top Rank building in Las Vegas, he received a call on his cell phone from Cameron Dunkin, Crawford's manager, who had gotten wind of the Daily Mail report. Arum began shouting at Dunkin, "It's not true! It's total bulls---! Tell Crawford it's not true!"
Arum pointed out the Daily Mail's history of inaccurate reporting. He cited stories on a Mayweather-Khan deal being done, the premature reporting of the Mayweather-Pacquiao deal and stories claiming former heavyweight world champion Lennox Lewis was coming out of retirement. Arum said neither the reporter nor anyone at Top Rank called him to check on the report.
Crawford (27-0, 19 KOs), 28, of Omaha, Nebraska, made his case for the fight against Pacquiao in impressive fashion on Oct. 24, when he made his first 140-pound title defense in a one-sided, 10th-round knockout of Dierry Jean.
Khan (31-3, 19 KOs), 28, was twice left behind in bids for fights with Mayweather, who proclaimed him a leading candidate, only to select other opponents. Khan is coming off a competitive decision win against former junior welterweight titlist (and previous Pacquiao victim) Chris Algieri on May 29 in Brooklyn, New York.
Pacquiao, currently a congressman for his province in the Philippines, plans to fight one more time, likely at the MGM Grand, before hitting the campaign trail. He is running for a senate seat, and elections are in May.