- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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For many years, promoters haven't been able to help themselves, regularly invoking Dubai as a possible site for a significant fight.
The United Arab Emirates city has hosted some smaller fights, although nothing of major significance. But that could change later this year. Seriously.
Welterweight titlist Devon Alexander is being lined up to face former junior welterweight titlist Amir Khan on Dec. 7 on Showtime. The deal isn't done, but Golden Boy Promotions chief executive Richard Schaefer said he expects to wrap the fight up and is looking for a site. One of the possibilities is Dubai.
And this isn't the sort of wishful-thinking pipe dream that has come up so many times in the past with other promoters. It's real. So real that Schaefer is flying from Los Angeles to Dubai on Saturday -- after having just been in England for a week -- to meet with people interested in hosting the fight.
"I've been back and forth to Europe, but I am getting back on the plane and going to Dubai," Schaefer told ESPN.com. "I am meeting some people and we will be looking at several venues there, like five or six different venues. I’m going to see if I can pull it off. When I see opportunities, I always have an obligation to evaluate them, so we'll see."
Khan was ringside in Atlantic City, N.J., on May 18 to watch Alexander (25-1, 14 KOs), 26, of St. Louis, retain his 147-pound title by stopping Khan's British countryman Lee Purdy in the seventh round. Right after the fight, Schaefer said he hoped to make Alexander-Khan.
Khan (28-3, 19 KOs), 26, a devout Muslim from England, is very interested in fighting in Dubai. Alexander and his manager/trainer, Kevin Cunningham, aren't as interested, but Cunningham said they'd consider it as long "they show us the money."
Schaefer's close relationship with Alexander adviser Al Haymon will undoubtedly help get the deal done if the money in Dubai is there to make the fight.
"I talked to Team Alexander about going to Dubai, and it's coming down to 'show me the money.' So that's why I'm going to Dubai," Schaefer said. "Let's see if they can show us the money."