Pacquiao set for a ring comeback in mid-February next year

Pacquiao set for a ring comeback in mid-February next year

By Cip D.C. Cabrera

MAKATI CITY, Metro Manila — It’s not over for Pinoy boxing sensation and former eight-division-world champion Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Pacquiao as he is set for a ring comeback against French superstar Zaber Zayanin in a non-sanctioned eight-round exhibition match tentatively scheduled in mid-February next year at the prestigious King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

It may be recalled that the 43-year-old boxing icon and former legislator hailed as ‘the fighting senator’ last fought in August last year (2021) in an attempt for a return but bowed unfortunately to Cuban pugilist Yordenis Ugas in Las Vegas.

“I personally negotiated with the senator together with my team and after months of talks, we finally agreed to a face off next year. He already signed the contract so it is a go,” Zayani disclosed.

The French champion was accompanied by his Filipino business manager Nico Rojas.

He admitted that the exhibition bout was finalized through the help of former Ilocos Norte governor Luis ‘Chavit’ Singson, who is known to be an avid Pacquiao supporter and fan.

“Call it an exhibition or something but when the senator signed the deal, I told him to prepare well because I’m going to give him a real fight. He then told me, ‘you better be prepared’,” Zayani enthused after signing the contract which stipulates the use of the regular eight-ounce gloves in the bout.

The 31-year-old French boxer is a native of Saint-Martin-d’Hères in Isère, France, who once served as the Pac-Man’s spar mate when the People’s Champ trained for his 12-round world welterweight fight against Keith Thurman in July 2019.

Carrying an 18-0 record with 11 knockouts, the unbeaten Zayani recently signed a five-year multi-million promotional deal with Saudi Prince Al-Walid Ben Talal who has assigned Dhaka, Bangladesh-based business tycoon Abdullah Al Murad to be at the forefront of the momentous event through their entity Elite Sports Athletes.

“I was honest with the senator that I’m looking at this as my biggest break which I will surely maximize. I aim to create a buzz and become a household name. Sure, the organizers are calling this an exhibition but for me, it’s a chance to exhibit my talent as a future world champion,” the Frenchman ended saying. (ai/mtvn)

Former eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao (left) and unbeaten lightweight French fighter Jaber Zayani display their signed agreement that finalized their eight-round exhibition match in February in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Photo courtesy of Jaber Zayani)

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