Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez to Fight on December 8?

Here is what we know for certain: Manny Pacquiao will fight on December 8 of this year. After a lot of speculation about him perhaps not fighting again in 2012, and all of the rumors about him losing interest in boxing, we now have a definitive guarantee from Manny's representatives that he will in fact be in action come year’s end.

Now it’s just a matter of who he’ll be fighting. Fortunately, even though we don’t know who Pacquiao will be squaring off against, Top Rank boss Bob Arum reportedly does. During an interview with Brad Cooney of 8 Count News (via ABS-CBN), Arum acknowledged that his boy had in fact decided on a foe, and that the announcement would be made shortly.

“We're not in liberty to tell you who [he's fighting]... that's my instructions,” the veteran promoter said.

Obviously the Top Rank team is preparing for a big rollout. It’s irritating that they’re going to make fans wait even longer, particularly given how excrutatingly long the wait has been thus far – but at least we’re moving in the right direction. On Tuesday, they officially booked the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for Dec. 8 of this year.

Why is that big? Because it means they know that a fight is going down. Via ESPN:

Top Rank, Pacquiao's promoter, formally requested that the Nevada State Athletic Commission reserve Dec. 8 for Pacquiao to fight an opponent to be determined at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, commission executive director Keith Kizer told ESPN.com.

Of course, when Dan Rafael pressed the folks at Top Rank a bit on who their guy would be fighting, he didn’t get much of a response.

"As is the customary procedure for working with the NSAC, we requested the date from them," Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti said. "The potential matchups are all being discussed with Manny and his team, and we anticipate the process to be completed in a timely fashion for all involved."

Fantastic. So when can we expect an answer?

"I've got nothing right now. Maybe we'll have something (Wednesday). Hopefully, by the end of the week," Michael Koncz told ESPN.com.

The way we were supposed to have something by the end of last week? And the week before that? And the week before that?

Well, at least we finally have an official date and Arum’s word that an opponent has been chosen.

We can trust Bob Arum, right?

For what it’s worth, the Manila Bulletin reported this yesterday:

The fight is being set for Dec. 8 and Mexican promoter Fernando Beltran, who has close ties with Top rank chief Bob Arum, said it is “95 percent” that the fight will happen.

Marquez has been the popular choice ever since Miguel Cotto bowed out of the Manny Pacquiao Sweepstakes last Friday, so that falls in line with what everyone thinks is going to happen anyway.

It’s not official until it’s official, though.

(Kudos ESPN, ABS-CBN, Manila Bulletin)

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