Is Pacquiao into promoting himself nowadays?
SACRAMENTO—His ego bruised, Manny Pacquiao recently rejected a fight with former titleholder Mike Alvarado on the undercard of Jeff Horn vs Terence Crawford at the Mandalay Bay Hotel in Las Vegas April 14.
After losing his WBO welterweight belt to Horn last July, the eight-division world champion eagerly wants to fight in a main event again.
But when Bob Arum took away his headliner status by pitting him with Alvarado, a damaged ring material in a supporting bout featuring his tormentor Horn, the Pacman bailed as quickly as he could.
Pacquiao obviously can’t wait to return to the ring, but as the marquee attraction.
As I write this, the Pacman was said to be sounding out Malaysian investors in Kuala Lumpur to bankroll a face-off between him and Argentinian knockout artist Lucas Matthysse or American Danny Garcia in late June.
Matthysse is the reigning WBA welterweight titleholder while Garcia is a former two-division champion.
Manila Bulletin sportswriter Nick Giongco reports that promoter Arum, who has his hands full with the forthcoming Horn vs Crawford, will go along with the project as long as “Malaysia comes up with the money.”
Inquirer sports scribe Roy Luarca writes that should Manny’s Malaysian moment materialize, it will be held on June 24 to give him more preparation time.
Luarca said the fight date “will not interfere with his (Pacquiao’s) legislative duties since the Senate will take a break on March 24, resume on May 14 and adjourn anew on June 2.”
Arum, not skipping a beat while Pacquiao prepares to take his show on the road to Kuala Lumpur, shows that the impresario’s schedule has not been snarled by the fighting senator’s refusal to play second banana in his Mandalay Bay offering.
Which also begs the question—how will Pacquiao take Arum’s apparent nonchalance from now on?
The promoter is also lining up a bout between superfeatherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko and lightweight king Jorge Linares on May 12 to thwart rival Oscar De la Hoya’s plans.
A slew of United Fighting Championships and boxing cards on pay per view notwithstanding, Arum’s Top Rank and its new alliance with ESPN is tabbed to draw strong viewership.
ESPN’s Top Rank Boxing “nearly tripled HBO watchers on Dec. 9, when Lomachenko last fought and generated an average of 1.73 million viewers from two-plus-viewer households,” reported the Los Angeles Times.
The next HBO presentation on PPV will be the May 5 bout between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. HBO and its partner, De la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, is planning to cash in on the fight’s replay before a huge audience by staging a fight featuring Linares on May 12.
But according to the LA Times, “Top Rank presented an offer to Linares’ Japanese promoter to have him fight Lomachenko from Madison Square Garden, a fight that would give Linares his largest purse yet. That bout also would be on May 12, but on ESPN.”
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