Manny Pacquiao

Manny Pacquiao Birthday Bash: Next Opponent Named?

| by Ian Palmer

Filipino boxer Manny Pacquiao celebrated his 32nd birthday in style on Dec. 17 in General Santos City when a lavish party was thrown for him. It was attended by about 1,500 guests, including many show business, sports, and political personalities. While there was a lot of celebrating going on there was also some interesting news about Pacquiao’s future boxing career.

First off, Pacquiao’s scheduled fight for April 16 in Las Vegas, Nevada has been pushed back to May 7 because he wants to spend more time on his political duties as a congressman. He also said he’ll fight at least two or three more times even though he’s being pressured by some of his family members, especially his mother, to hang up the gloves.

The biggest disappointment of the day though, was that he didn’t say who his next opponent would be. His promoter Bob Arum said there are three fighters in the running, Shane Mosley, Andre Berto, and Juan Manuel Marquez. Arum said Mosley is the most marketable, while Marquez wants too much money, and Berto is still a virtual unknown outside of the boxing scene.

But the fight most fans around the world want to see is a matchup against unbeaten Floyd Mayweather. Arum didn’t mention him, but Pacquiao did by saying he hopes Mayweather can sort out all of his legal problems soon and return to the ring.

Most fans figured Pacquiao would make an announcement at his birthday party regarding his next opponent, but according to the boxer’s adviser Michael Koncz, that will have to wait another week or two. Koncz also said the proposals from all three boxers are interesting and if Mayweather doesn’t show any interest over the next couple of weeks then Pacquiao will decide who he’d like to face out of Berto, Marquez, and Mosley.

One thing that may influence Pacquiao’s decision could be the date, since May 7 is a holiday weekend in Mexico to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. This could help promote a third fight against Marquez, after the first two ended in a draw and a split decision for Pacquiao. A fight against Marquez could still be made if the Mexican fighter and his promoters at Golden Boy lower their asking price.

Arum’s Top Rank company will meet with representatives of Marquez and Mosley in the coming week and go from there. While at least a half dozen other names have been rumored as possible opponents, including Sergio Martinez, Ricardo Mayorga, Erik Morales, and Amir Khan, it’s almost certain to be either Mosley or Marquez when the announcement’s likely made before Christmas.

In the meantime, Pacquiao will celebrate the holidays and the successful past year with fondness thanks to his wins over Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito, and his election to the Philippine congress.  

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