According to Manny Paquiao’s promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank, the Pac Man will step back into the ring again on April 16 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand because he’s already booked the facility. As usual, the fight will likely be on pay per view courtesy of HBO. The one question mark? Who will Pacquaio fight that night?
Regardless of what you may believe, the final decision on April 16 -- and an opponent -- comes down to Pacquiao himself. Arum said he’s heading over to Manila on Dec. 12 to meet with his fighter to discuss the matter and to get Pacquiao’s okay.
I’m not sure what it has to do with it, but Arum said it’s a great date because it comes at the start of the baseball season, right after the Final Four college basketball tournament and close to the NBA playoffs. He might have a little competition in the fisticuff department at that time of the year though considering the NHL playoffs start around the same time. Arum feels Pacquiao will agree to the date as long as he’s not tied up with his duties as a congressman
When it comes to who Pacquiao will fight, Arum said Floyd Mayweather Jr. is still number one on the list. But realistically, this probably won’t happen for various reasons, the top one being Mayweather’s upcoming court cases. In fact, many fans believe Arum knows full well this fight’s not going to come off, so he keeps talking it up in order to build Pacquiao up in the eyes of boxing fans.
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By continuously calling out Mayweather it looks as if he really is the preferred opponent, when in reality Arum would rather find a softer touch. This could turn into a case of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf” though if Mayweather pulls a 180 and decides to take the fight.
It’s believed Arum’s major competition over the years, Don King, met with Mayweather last week, but no business agreement was compoleted. Arum said he spoke to King and was told he doesn’t have any ties to Mayweather. He added that it’d be a lot easier to work out the details of a fight if King was Mayweather’s promoter.
So, according to Arum, that leaves Andre Berto, Shane Mosley, and Juan Manuel Marquez as possible opponents. He said preliminary discussions have been held with all three of their managers, but Pacquiao must decide who he’d rather fight. Meanwhile, Pac Man’s trainer Freddie Roach said he doesn’t see a problem with any of them, but Pacquiao won’t fight below 144.5 lbs.
It’s doubtful the 27-year-old Berto will be chosen because he just doesn’t have the name to sell thousands of pay per views. He’s also relatively young and could pose a threat because of his skills. The 37-year-old Marquez is the most dangerous of the three, but he’s basically a lightweight. We’ve seen what happened to him at 147 lbs. when he was taken apart by Mayweather. And interestingly enough, it seems the catch weight of 144.5 lbs. will be thrown out of the window by Pacquiao’s camp if Marquez wants to fight -- and he’ll be forced to meet Pacquiao at 147 lbs.
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That leaves us with Mosley, who’ll be just shy of 40 years old on April 16. He’s looked pretty bad in his last two fights, a draw against light-hitting Sergio Mora and a definitive decision loss to Mayweather. It’s also believed Arum’s trying to sign Mosley to Top Rank. So if you were Arum, Roach, and Pacquiao who would you rather fight?
I guess we can’t really blame Pacquiao since he just keeps on beating whoever’s put in front of him. But if he beats the rapidly aging Mosley he’s not going to earn any brownie points with those who say he fights hand-picked opponents. But on the other hand, he’s got a hell of a lot to lose if he gets beaten.
It seems to me that Pacquiao needs Mayweather now more than ever because a win over him will solidify the Filipino’s legacy in boxing history. If he loses, there’d be no shame in being beaten by the best in the world, but a loss to any of the others mentioned will leave questions about where Pacquiao should be ranked on the all-time best list. And a win over them just won’t have the same impact as a victory over Mayweather.
Whoever the opponent is on Apr. 16, you'll be able to wager on the fight at Bodog.com and 5dimes.com.