ALTHOUGH he is taking his “Clash in Cotai” with Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios very seriously, Fighter of the Decade Manny Pacquiao is planning on having two fights next year, according to Top Rank promoter Bob Arum.
Arum told the Manila Standard that he plans a fight in April and one in the fall, with one set in Macau and the other in Las Vegas or the Cowboy Stadium in Texas, Canada, or even Mexico.
The astute promoter said the possible April opponent of Pacquiao won’t be discussed until after the World Boxing Organization Intercontinental welterweight title fight against Rios, stating “let’s concentrate on this fight with Rios and then, we can determine who he should fight next.”
Arum declined to name the most likely opponent, indicating: “Those cards you have to hold close to your chest because it’s tough negotiating (should your preference be made known).”
However, he assured fight fans the planned April fight of Pacquiao “ will be a card that the people love.”
At the same time, the names that cropped up were those of Timothy Bradley, who won a hugely controversial split decision over Pacquiao in June last year; Ruslan Provodnikov, who won a tough fight against Juan Manuel Marquez recently and Marquez himself, who scored a stunning sixth-round knockout over Pacquiao in Las Vegas last Dec. 8.
Arum was confident that despite Marquez’s oft-repeated announcement that he would not fight Pacquiao for a fifth time, he “will fight Manny under the proper circumstances,” although he didn’t elaborate.
He noted that promoter Fernando Beltran wanted to stage a possible Pacquiao-Marquez fight and claimed it could draw 100,000 fight fans to the famous Azteca Stadium.
But Arum downplayed the proposal. “100,000 people paying P10 doesn’t pay the rent. I’m not concerned about the number of people he can bring in, it’s the economic factors. It will cost a lot of money because Marquez will want to be compensated more than the last time.”