Manny Pacquiao to face Jaber Zayani in exhibition bout in Saudi Arabia
The former Filipino senator and now retired boxing legend will be back in the ring in February against an unbeaten fighter, Jaber Zayani from France.
Former eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao is back. The 43-year-old legend has signed on for an eight-round exhibition fight that will take place with eight-ounce gloves against French boxer Jaber Zayani at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in February.
According to the Manila Times, the contracts for the match were signed early last week at Pacquiao’s home in Makati City.
The ‘Pac Man’ will be back in the ring after retiring last year, following a unanimous decision loss to Cuban boxer Yordenis Ugás.
Pacquiao’s opponent taking the bout seriously
Zayani served as Pacquiao’s sparring partner in 2019, helping the Filipino superstar prepare for his title fight with Keith Thurman. He said he told Manny personally to “prepare well,” telling him that he will be giving him a “real fight.”
“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”, stated Zayani.
Zayani, a 31-year-old with an unbeaten 18-0 (11) record who fights at 135 pounds, admitted he is looking at this bout as his way to make a name for himself. “The organizers are calling this an exhibition, but for me, it’s a chance to exhibit my talent as a future world champion,” he said.
It will be Pacquiao’s second exhibition match since he hung up his gloves, as he had already signed up for a six-round exhibition bout against Korean YouTuber DK Yoo, on December 10 in Seoul, South Korea.