Are we close to a Pacquiao vs Matthysse clash?
For the first time, Manny Pacquiao has admitted there’s nothing final regarding his announced world title fight against WBA welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse of Argentina.
This was reported by veteran sportswriter Nick Giongco, who wrote “Pacquiao said the Kuala Lumpur fight is not yet sealed, signed and delivered.”
Just the same, Giongco said Pacquiao has announced that the championship fight launch will now be held in Manila, not Kuala Lumpur, on April 4.
In his first announcement, made with resounding certainty through press relation officer Aquiles Zonio, Pacquiao said the launch was to be done in Kuala Lumpur on March 22.
Pacquiao said his MP Promotions will be handling the KL championship in a tie-up with Oscar De la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions.
Everything had seemed neat and ready, as propped up by Team Pacquiao.
Of course, there were lingering doubts. Veteran promoter Bob Arum went as far as claim the Pacquiao-Matthysse fight remained a big question mark, citing among others the absence of money supposed to be delivered by Pacquiao’s backers.
There was big puzzlement, until Oscar De la Hoya said over the weekend that the Pacquiao-Matthysse fight promises to be a fight of the year candidate.
However, De la Hoya failed to elaborate. Golden Boy also did not confirm or deny his outfit’s involvement in the announced KL title fight.
There was one thing certain: Hall-of-Fame trainer Freddie Roach would not be preparing Pacquiao for the KL fight.
Pacquiao’s trusted boyhood ally Buboy Fernandez has been promoted to full-time trainer.
Arum could also be out of the picture, based on Pacquiao’s statements and the movements inside his team.
“His people seemed on a roll,” said Philboxing.com founder and chief editor Dong Secuya, “but we can never underestimate Bob Arum.”
Members of Team Pacquiao, headed by Fernandez and Zonio continued to claim Pacquiao was no longer under contract with Arum’s Top Rank Inc.
Arum has dropped a bomb, while rejecting claims Pacquiao has become a free agent.
He told BoxingScene: “Pacquiao is under contract with Top Rank for reasonably long period of time but I don’t know when the contract will expire.”
Arum added that if the KL title fight between Pacquiao and Matthysse pushes through, Top Rank would be a participant.
“We’re going to set it up as we provide the logistics and the television,” Arum said. “It is ESPN that will air the fight.”
No rejoinder from Pacquiao as we went to press. Did he once again allow himself to be deluded?
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