Manny Pacquiao has signed on for yet another exhibition match.
Pacquiao will be fighting French boxer Jaber Zayani sometime in February, according to the Manila Times. The contracts were reportedly signed early last week at Pacquiao’s home in Makati City, Philippines.
The bout is scheduled for eight rounds with eight-ounce gloves at the King Fahd Stadium in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
“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 told the Manila Times.
“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.’”
Pacquiao, who served as a Philippine senator from 2016 to 2022, retired a month after his eighth loss of his pro career against Yordenis Ugas in August 2021. He lost by unanimous decision in an attempt to regain the WBA “super” welterweight title that he once held, but was stripped of him due to inactivity.
He retired with a 62-8-2 record with 39 knockouts. He is the only eight-division champion.
In July, it was announced that Pacquiao would be returning to the ring – but in an exhibition bout. He will face Korean YouTuber and martial artist DK Yoo on December 10 in Seoul, South Korea.
Zayani, on the other hand, is an undefeated lightweight contender with a record of 18-0 and 11 knockouts. He was Pacquiao’s sparring partner in 2019 when the Filipino star was training for his title fight against Keith Thurman.
“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,” Zayani added.
“Sure, the organizers are calling this an exhibition but for me, it’s a chance to exhibit my talent as a future world champion. That’s going to be a December Samgyup party for the senator but once he meets me inside the right, he’s going to get French toasted.”