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Abu Dhabi unlikely site for big fight

There is no shortage of suitors who want to be part of a proposed super fight between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao in 2015.

Jerry Jones wants the fight at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium. The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., wants to host the fight. Of course, the MGM Grand is interested. And last week, a group of businessmen from the United Arab Emirates said it wanted to bring the fight to Abu Dhabi.

Akbar Muhammad, speaking for the unnamed consortium, said it would pay $200 million in purses to the fighters, with Mayweather getting 60 to 70 percent. Muhammad said he has not spoken directly to Mayweather, his manager, Al Haymon, or Leonard Ellerbe, the CEO of Mayweather Promotions.

Top Rank chairman Bob Arum is aware of the proposal but said it’s unlikely to come to fruition.

“Nobody’s met any of these guys,” he said. “Can you go to the bank with any of them? Of course not. If they were serious, Mayweather would make them put the money in an account, and from what I understand, Floyd hasn’t talked to these guys.

“From where I sit, it’s a nonstarter. Frankly, I don’t want any more proposals for Pacquiao. I’m dealing with (CBS chairman) Les Moonves. That’s the road I chose to travel. Where it leads? I don’t know.”

Arum said there’s nothing new to report. He said there is communication between Moonves and Mayweather and between himself and Moonves.

“We’re talking, and as long as there’s dialogue, you have a chance,” Arum said.

■ SUCCESSFUL SURGERY — The 9-year-old daughter of former world cruiserweight champion Steve Cunningham underwent successful heart transplant surgery Friday in Pittsburgh.

Kennedy Cunningham was born with a heart defect, and the family knew she eventually would need a transplant. She was put on the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh transplant list in June.

“This day is so very special to us, and the promise of a better and longer life for our daughter trumps any victory boxing could ever give us,” Cunningham and his wife, Livvy, said in a statement issued through his promoter, Main Events. “This is the ultimate championship right here.”

■ CLASS OF 2015 — The International Boxing Hall of Fame’s 2015 induction class doesn’t include any Las Vegans, but Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini and Riddick Bowe had memorable fights at Caesars Palace that are part of local boxing history.

Mancini, a former world lightweight champion, might be best known for his 1982 fight with Duk Koo Kim. Mancini scored a 14th-round knockout, and Kim ultimately died from injuries suffered in the fight.

The death caused the sport to change championship fights from 15 to 12 rounds.

Bowe, a former world heavyweight champ who had a trilogy of title fights against Evander Holyfield from 1992 to 1995, was in the ring during the infamous “Fan Man” incident in 1993, when James Miller parachuted into the ring at Caesars’ outdoor stadium to disrupt the rematch in the seventh round.

The fight was delayed for 21 minutes. Holyfield then won a majority decision to avenge his 1992 loss to Bowe at the Thomas &Mack Center.

Another inductee, former world featherweight champion Prince Naseem Hamed, fought once in Las Vegas. He lost to Marco Antonio Barrera in 2001 at the MGM Grand.

The rest of the class comprises former light flyweight champion Yoko Gushiken, manager Rafael Mendoza, referee Steve Smoger, broadcaster Jim Lampley and journalist Nigel Collins.

Ceremonies will be June 11 to 14 in Canastota, N.Y.

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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