Lem’s latest: Pacquiao to return in September?
Manny Pacquiao told The Manila Standard that his “definite” plan is to return to the ring as early as September.
“[Top Rank CEO] Bob Arum and myself have been talking and will continue talking. What is definite is they’ll see me fight again come September. Not April nor immediately after that as speculations are going,” said Pacquiao, whose advisor, Michael Koncz, informed RingTV.com that Arum is targeting the boxer’s return for sites in Singapore or Mccau.
“Tell the public that it won’t be long before I make them happy again when I fight. Tell them, too, that I appreciate very much their concern over my well-being when I lost by KO to Marquez and during the debate whether to fight in April. I treasure their concern and prayers that I recover quickly from my knockout loss. I want everyone to know that I am well and fully recovered. Thank you very much for everyone’s prayers.”
Pacquiao who was knocked out in the sixth round of the Boxing Writers’ Association’s Fight-of-The-Year in December by Juan Manuel Marquez, who was 0-2-1 against Pacquiao coming into that bout.
Prior to facing Marquez, Pacquiao was dethroned as WBO welterweight titleholder by Tim Bradley in June of last year.
Arum has recently entertained the thought of matching Pacquiao, if not against Marquez, yet again, then in a rematch with Bradley or else the winner of Saturday night’s HBO-televised rematch of October’s bloody Fight-of-The-Year-caliber clash between junior welterweights Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado.
Rios became the first man to stop Alvarado, doing so by seventh-round knockout. A week earlier on March 16, Bradley rose from a 12th-round knockdown to retain his WBO welterweight title by unanimous decision over Pacquiao’s former sparring partner Ruslan Provodnikov.
“Marquez, according to news reports, doesn’t want to fight me for the fifth time. It actually is up to him. Me? Well, everybody knows I’ll fight anyone. I am not scared of anybody. And that is the reason why boxing fans like me so much. I never avoid anyone. I don’t choose easy fights,” said Pacquiao.
“I will fight anybody, anytime, anywhere. If he doesn’t want to fight me then I don’t want to fight him either. So be it. It’s that simple. He says he doesn’t want to fight me because he won our last fight? Well, I am still ahead in the tally of our last four fights. I won two, lost one and drew one.”
ERIK MORALES’ BAN ‘MEANS NOTHING’
On Friday, the United States Anti-Doping Agency officially handed down its decision regarding Mexico’s Erik Morales, penalizing the four-division title-winner for testing positive during the first two of three drug tests prior to his rematch with junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia on Oct. 20 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Morales had tested positive for the banned weight loss drug Clenbuterol on random tests given by USADA taken on Oct. 3 and on Oct. 10, but tested negative on the final one. When the threat of suspension was first made on Feb. 11, Morales (52-9, 36 knockouts) faced “up to a two year period of ineligibility.”
At the time that announcement, however, virtually no one in the boxing industry considered USADA’s ruling to carry much impact, if any at all. That sentiment has not changed, even as USADA officially imposed its decision against Morales (52-9, 36 knockouts).
“It means nothing. The proposed ban against Erik Morales involves participation in sports sanctioned by entities that have signed off on their USADA code. The sanctioning bodies have not done so, the boxing commissions have not done so, the promoters have not done so,” said longtime boxing attorney Pat English, last month.
“Therefore, the proposed ban is meaningless. Any suspension would have to come from an athletic commission with jurisdiction. The regulation of boxing and professional boxing, by law, is charged to the athletic commission in the United States, and not to USADA.”
Arum was equally emphatic.
“It means nothing in Mexico or the United States either,” said Arum. “These people have no authority, so it doesn’t mean a thing.”
Morales, who is 36, had announced his retirement after the loss to Garcia, saying that he would only “be fighting in Mexico,” said one promoter who operates regularly in Mexico and who declined to be identified. “So they can probably sanction him all day long and it won’t mean anything.”
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]