What’s On has news of attempts to stage world championship boxing in Dubai. Floyd Mayweather v Pacquiao in Dubai is possible, say reports.

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One of the single biggest sporting events in history could be held in the UAE after a group of investors offered an eye-watering Dhs 404million to help facilitate a world championship clash between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather.

The two boxers are on the brink of agreeing the world’s richest fight after more than five years of posturing, though neither is too keen to fight in the other’s backyard. American Mayweather has never fought outside his homeland, and hasn’t even branched out beyond Las Vegas since 2005. His would-be opponent, meanwhile, has, since two losses in 2012, got back on track with two of three victories coming in Macau.

Superfights like this rarely take place anywhere other than the world famous MGM Grand in Vegas, though there is a precedent for taking such events off the sport’s beaten track; 40 years ago, Muhammad Ali and George Foreman rumbled in the jungle of Zaire.


There remains many obstacles to staging the fight in the Middle East, namely the fact it has never hosted anything of this size before, but also the restrictions the time difference to North America, from where the majority of the audience would tune in via pay-per-view, would place on audience figures.

But that hasn’t stopped the men behind the bid talking up its chances of coming to the region.

Speaking on behalf of the consortium, boxing executive M Akbar Muhammad said to sport’s website boxingscene.com: “The funding is in place, and because of this and the group’s unique and distinctive make-up and backgrounds, it has emerged as the leading and most serious group striving to secure the bout. I’ve been instructed by the group to do whatever it takes to bring this long-awaited and eagerly-anticipated fight to fruition.

“There’s absolutely no doubt that each fighter, individually, will receive more money than any other boxer has in the past. The combined purses are approaching $200million (Dhs 734million). And, rest assured, we have the resources to do just that.”

He added: “We want to be a part of Mr Mayweather’s historic march to 50-0, no matter where the fights may take place.”


Reflecting on the logistics of such a bout, Thomas Ovesen, COO of Done Events, the group behind the Justin Beiber and upcoming One Direction concerts in Dubai, said: “The revenue for the boxers is driven by pay-per-view and the American audience so that often dictates fights. So unless a local individual or government body can help, then it is unlikely to be the destination of choice. But there is nothing logistically stopping it from taking place in Dubai.”

The announcement from investors comes on the day Filipino Pacquiao took to Instagram to call out his opponent, writing: “Stop throwing punches on Instagram and let’s get in the ring! #TBE #TheBestExcuses.” The hashtags are a play on Mayweather’s self-given nickname of TBE, which stands for ‘The Best Ever’.

The pinnacle of Dubai’s boxing experience came last year when China’s Xiong Zhao Zhong defended his WBC world title against Denver Cuello at World Trade Centre.