Monday, March 20, 2023  |



Bob Arum: Manny Pacquiao prospects improve with Golden Boy union


Top Rank Promotions CEO Bob Arum considers the talent pool to be "larger than before" in regard to potential rivals for Manny Pacquiao in advance of the eight-division titlewinner's planned Nov. 22 return in Macao, China, given Arum's improved relationship with longtime rival and Golden Boy Promotions President Oscar De La Hoya.

Arum informed on Monday that he is in discussion in Los Angeles with Pacquiao's advisor, Michael Koncz, saying there is "no rush" in naming an opponent, which may not happen "until August."

In May, Pacquiao and his company, MP Promotions, announced the signing of an extension to the fighter's promotional contract with Top Rank Promotions through December 2016.

Although no specific details were provided, in April, Arum and Pacquiao had announced their mutual negotiations for a contract that would entail five fights through 2016. Pacquiao's current contract extends through the end of 2014.

Pacquiao, 35, was last in action for a unanimous decision victory over previously unbeaten Tim Bradley. With the win, Pacquiao regained the WBO welterweight belt he had lost by split decision to Bradley in June 2012.

Prior to Bradley, Pacquiao lost by sixth-round stoppage to Juan Manuel Marquez, against whom he is 2-1-1, but rebounded with November's unanimous decision over Brandon Rios.

The WBO had mandated that Pacquiao fight the winner of the May 17 welterweight bout between Marquez and Mike Alvarado. Marquez won by unanimous decision in a fight during which he dropped Alvarado in the eighth and was floored himself in the ninth.

Arum had previously sought former WBO 140-pound beltholder Ruslan Provodnikov as a potential rival for Pacquiao before Provodnikov was dethroned following a split decision loss on June 14 to unbeaten Chris Algieri, who rose from two first-round knockdowns.

Algieri and his promoter, Joe DeGuardia, have since clamored for a fight with Pacquiao, who is unlikely to soon land a fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. given Mayweather has said he will not fight Pacquiao if he remains aligned with Arum.

"We want the fight, we'd love the fight, but ultimately, the decision is up to Manny," said DeGuardia, who is also considering a potential return bout against Provodnikov.

"There are a lot of possibilities, and a rematch is one of them. But the No. 1 priority would be a fight with Manny Pacquiao, because that's the biggest mountain to clime at this point."

Another potential opponent could be Argentina's hard-hitting Luis Carlos Abregu. Abregu has won seven straight fights, six of them by stoppage, since falling by unanimous decision to Bradley in July 2010 and was last in action for an eighth-round technical knockout of previously unbeaten Jean Carlos Prada in April.

Arum had earlier mentioned the potential for a rematch between Pacquiao and Miguel Cotto, whom Pacquiao dethroned as WBO 147-pound titleholder following a 12th-round knockout in November 2009.

On June 7, Cotto's 10th-round stoppage of Sergio Martinez dethroned the latter as RING and WBC middleweight champion, earning his fourth title belt over as many different divisions.

But Arum told on Monday that he is more likely to pursue a clash between Cotto and junior middleweight Saul Alvarez, who is promoted by Golden Boy, should Alvarez get beyond a July 12 bout against southpaw Erislandy Lara.