For those who love boxing fiction, the Daily Mail in London is the website to read. Unfortunately, it's not a place for serious boxing news.
The Daily Mail's Jeff Powell, the same reporter who in 2013 reported "exclusively" that Amir Khan had signed a deal to fight Floyd Mayweather and that Lennox Lewis was coming out of retirement to fight heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko, reported Tuesday that Khan had signed a deal to fight Manny Pacquiao on April 9.
Khan is one of two contenders, along with 2014 Fighter of the Year Terence "Bud" Crawford, still in the running to be Pacquiao's next opponent.
After seeing Powell's "exclusive" report, Yahoo Sports reached out to Pacquiao promoter Bob Arum for comment. Arum didn't even say hello when he picked up the phone.
Instead, he said, "It's total bull-[expletive]. It's complete bull-[expletive]. I'm sitting here trying to figure a way to sell tickets to my fight [Saturday in Las Vegas between Timothy Bradley and Brandon Rios] and now my phone is ringing off the hook becuase this lunatic made some [expletive] up."
Arum said he has had talks with Khan's attorneys, but no deal is close. He said he sent tapes of Crawford's victory over Dierry Jean to Pacquiao manager Michael Koncz and that Pacquiao will watch that tape before deciding which of the two he wants to fight.
Arum said he hasn't heard from Pacquiao and that, in any event, he's not close to a deal with anyone.
"This summer when I was on vacation in Spain, I went to England and I had breakfast with Khan's uncle and his attorney," Arum said. "Since then, we've been talking back and forth, this and that, this and that. I've never talked to the kid, Amir, never. Never have I spoken to him. He's in the running, yes, but we're nowhere near a deal with anyone, let alone him."
Give Powell credit because when he comes up with "exclusives," they're always big ones.
On Oct. 2, 2013, a story by Powell reported that Khan would be paid a minimum of $6 million to fight Mayweather on May 3, 2014. Powell wrote, "The official announcement will be made in the next few days and Khan has already pulled out of his challenge to world welterweight champion Devon Alexander, scheduled for December 7 in New York, to ensure that his dream fight with Mayweather is not jeopardised."
A week later, Powell was at it again. On Oct. 9, 2013, the headline over yet another Powell exclusive read, "Lennox Lewis ready to make shock comeback at 48 to fight one of the Klitschko brothers in $100m super fight"
That was quickly debunked as well.
It's sad because these kinds of stories spread quickly via social media and people believe them. And then when they hear Arum deny them, they'll accuse Arum of lying when the entire thing was made up by a newspaper that has a notorious history for doing exactly that.
Let's make this as simple as possible: Khan has not signed to fight Pacquiao on April 9. He could do so at some point in the future, but there is no deal now, not with Khan, not with Crawford nor with anyone else.
"He has my number and we've talked many times over the years," Arum said of Powell. "But he never even bothered to do the bare minimum. Pick up the phone and call me."
Had he done so, Powell wouldn't have had a story that would have gotten a lot of clicks. He got people to click on it, but at what cost? Clearly, it doesn't enhance his reputation or that of the Daily Mail's.
At the end of the day, Powell's story is a complete work of fiction, and no more.