Manny Pacquiao enters the boxing exhibition circuit as he will face former sparring partner, Jaber Zayani. This bout is scheduled for February next year in Saudi Arabia. Most recently both of them signed the contracts at the senator’s house in Manila.
Manny Pacquiao’s exhibition debut
The boxing great already has another exhibition set for December 11th. He will trade blows with a Korean YouTuber, DK Yoo in Seoul. He will return to the ring a few months later to take on Zayani.
The Korean martial arts and internet celebrity should be a no challenge for the eight-division boxing world champion.
Zayani, however, has some solid boxing experience and won some minor titles. It’s worth noticing that neither of his 18 rivals had a good boxing record.
The Frenchman has mainly competed between 130 and 140lbs weight divisions and the Filipino ended his professional career at 147lbs marks. He also held titles at 154lbs. So it’s safe to say that he will have a size advantage.
However, Zayani is over ten years younger than his opponent. He also has more time on his hands, which he can dedicate to training. Pacquaio has other commitments, including the ones that come with his political office.
Zayani helped Manny Pacquiao during his preparations for his Keith Thurman fight back in 2019. So they knew one another. The exhibition is set for eight rounds with boxer fighting with 80z gloves.
Because the French boxer is managed by a Saudi prince, Al-Walid Ben Talal, the bout will take place at King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh. It has a 68,000 capacity and so it will be a much bigger deal than Pacquaio’s exhibition bout in Korea.
It looks like Saudi Arabia is putting an effort to make its mark on the boxing map. Anthony Joshua’s clash with Oleksandr Usyk in Jeddah showed, that no money or effort will be spared by Saudi Arabia’s officials.
Pacquaio’s former rival Floyd Mayweather had already fought a few exhibition bouts. He also made good money out of it. Time will only tell if Manny will follow in his footsteps.