Manny Pacquiao has another exhibition match booked. The 44 year old will face former sparring partner Jaber Zayani in February next year.
The two men signed the contracts and posed for photos at the senator’s house in Manila this week.
Peak of his powers
Pacquiao appears to be throwing himself into the exhibition boxing business. On December 11th he faces Korean YouTuber DK Yoo in Seoul and he will be back in the ring a few months later.
While the Korean martial arts guru poses very little threat to the eight division world champion Zayani is an undefeated boxer who is still at the peak of his powers. The 31 year old has won a couple of regional titles although it is worth noting that not one of his 18 opponents had a good record.
Pacquiao will have size on his side though. The Frenchman seems to have spent his career competing at between 130 and 140lbs whereas the Filipino finishes his career as a 147lber and even won world titles at 154lbs.
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Pacquiao sparred with Zayani to prepare for his 2019 fight with Keith Thurman so they are already familiar with one another. This exhibition match is scheduled for eight rounds and both men will be wearing 8oz gloves.
Zayani is managed by Al-Walid Ben Talal, a Saudi prince and billionaire. The bout is set for the 68,000 capacity King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh and looks set to be a much bigger event than Pacquiao’s upcoming exhibition bout with DK Yoo.
Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk recently rematched in Jeddah in a heavyweight world title fight. Saudi Arabia seems to be putting itself on the boxing map but putting up large sums of money to secure the biggest fights.
Zayani will clearly be taking this contest very seriously and stated that,
“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’,” said Zayani.
While Pacquiao clearly has the better boxing credentials his opponent is over a decade younger. Zayani can also dedicate himself full time the sport whereas the Filipino has political commitments.
We have seen Floyd Mayweather cruise through a series of one sided exhibition bouts, with another booked for Super Rizin this Sunday. It will be interesting to see whether his former opponent Pacquiao can make this one look just as easy.