TOP Rank promoter Bob Arum and Manny Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz met at Arum’s home in Los Angeles on Saturday, but no decision was made on who the Fighter of the Decade will face in his planned return to the ring on April 12 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas,
“I met at Arum’s house this afternoon, but nothing is final as Manny and I are looking at all our options,” Koncz told the Manila Standard.
Arum earlier said the two possible opponents from which they are set to choose are World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Timothy Bradley, who won a highly controversial 12-round split decision over Pacquiao in June 2012, and Pacquiao’s former sparring partner, WBO light welterweight champion Russian Ruslan Provodnikov, who is coming off a losing effort to Bradley in a clash that was considered as Fight of the Year.
Arum said Juan Manuel Marquez is definitely out after the Mexican repeatedly stated he didn’t wish to face Pacquiao in a fifth fight.
Arum indicated he had no specific choice between Provodnikov and Bradley, since he is a “non combatant.”
He said while Bradley presents an opportunity for Pacquiao to avenge his widely criticized split-decision loss, Provodnikov could be an attraction after his last explosive showing against Bradley.
Meantime, boxingscene.com, in a story attributed to the Daily Star, described Provodnikov as “an exceptionally powerful puncher.”
The site reported that after Mike Alvarado lost to the Russian, he revealed after their fight: “I have got concussion. This guy is a real power puncher.
Alvarado, who beat Brandon Rios in a rematch before Rios was schooled by Pacquiao last Nov. 24, said Provodnikov “will beat any welterweight out there. One of the punches really did concuss me and left me really dizzy.”
Bradley, who gained a close points’ decision over Provodnikov in March, also testified to the Russian’s strength.
“There’s no doubt about it -- he’s more powerful than Pacquiao,” said Bradley, who had symptoms of neurological distress after the fight with the Russian.
Provodnikov, who made his professional debut in 2006, has won 23 of his 25 fights, with 16 of those coming by knockout.
It was after sparring with Pacquiao, who has won 10 world titles, that Provodnikov realized he could become a world champion.