Plans for December event included building a temporary venue at the base of Burj Khalifa
Plans to stage a major boxing match in Dubai this December after British champion Amir Khan said his American rival Devon Alexander was reluctant to sign on the dotted line, it was reported.
Earlier this summer boxing organisers revealed they were in talks with the Dubai government to stage a match between Khan and Alexander on December 7 and were planning to travel to the emirate in July to scout for potential venues
“We have opened discussions with the ruling family of the Emirates who have made it very clear that they are keen to put on a major boxing event,” Richard Schaefer, chief executive of organisers Golden Boy, told the Daily Mail.
Schaefer said 26-year-old Khan, who is Muslim, was eager to bring the sport of boxing to the Middle East, but Alexander’s reluctance to sign put puts the plans in jeopardy.
“I am ready 100 percent to fight Devon Alexander in Dubai,” Khan told the Daily Mail this week. “But it seems [Alexander] and his team are coming up with excuses every other day and they have not agreed to the fight.
“I do have a lot of fans in the Middle East and especially in the UAE. Maybe he does feel that everyone will be against him if we fight in Dubai. But I can assure it will be a fair fight, obviously. If it happens, it will be a global event.
“They are doing big things in Dubai and UAE and it will be beneficial for all … if we fight in Dubai.”
Despite Alexander’s tardiness and Khan’s concerns, organisers are still hopeful the December 7 fight in Dubai will go ahead.
"I met with the right people, they made all the presentations and they are very interested," Schaefer told ESPN.com. "Now it's a matter of evaluating if the financials make sense for them and for us. But when I was there I looked at potential venues, and if it does come through, it's going to be spectacular."
If the fight does go ahead in Dubai, Schaefer said it was likely they would build a temporary facility at the base of the Burj Khalifa.
"It's right in the middle of downtown Dubai, surrounded by an unbelievable skyline," he said. "It's one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen. They could build a 20,000- or 30,000-seat venue. This fight would have a tremendous impact on Dubai."
Mike Tyson previously attempted to set up a match in Dubai three years ago but talks also stalled at the last minute.