Boxing promoter Bob Arum returns to the Philippines this month to finalize plans for Manny Pacquiao’s next battle. Most 80-year-olds would find crossing the Pacific a burden, but fight-promoting and managing around the world is natural for Arum.
And if you have the hottest fighter in the world and the biggest draw today, you do make the trips to discuss the next promotion.
With Floyd Mayweather Jr. out of the
picture for the time being (and maybe for good, until something dramatic compels the fight to finally proceed), three other candidates remain in the race to get into the ring with Pacman.
You have to agree with Oscar De La Hoya: A fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez
offers nothing new. Marquez may scream to the heavens that he was denied victory three times, but that trilogy is over with nothing more to offer in a fourth encounter.
Pacquiao may have narrowly escaped in the last two fights, but he still won those
battles, and that’s how the record books will chronicle them.
Lamont Peterson and the undefeated Tim Bradley are being discussed but neither fighter promises excitement from a promotion standpoint.
Bradley was unimpressive in a forgettable fight against Joel Casamayor in the Pacquiao-Marquez III undercard. Casamayor had seen better fight days, and the scramble to make weight for the tussle with Bradley had clearly sapped him of whatever skills he had left.
A Bradley-Marquez fight is being discussed, and that seems to be an interesting option. It won’t necessarily be an “eliminator” for the right to face Pacquiao, but it will give fight fans a good barometer to check out Bradley.
The most appealing from a box-office standpoint seems to be a rematch with Miguel Cotto, who recently avenged his loss to Antonio Margarito.
In the 24/7 HBO presentation before that fight, there was definitely bad blood between the two with Cotto irate about the alleged padding that Margarito had on his wraps.
Cotto is a tough hombre that Pacquiao stopped in 12 rounds almost two years ago. Many feel that was Pacquiao at his best as he pummeled the Puerto Rican repeatedly. It seems a good time for them to get entangled anew especially with Cotto at a high after winning against Margarito.
But Cotto will not be an easy foe for
Pacquiao and may not be the best choice if a fight with Mayweather is still being envisioned once the undefeated American is done with his legal problems and finally signs for the fight.
The long shot is really Peterson, who
recently won a close split decision against Amir Khan. Khan received two-point deductions for pushing in that fight and that may have caused him the decision.
Controversy is always an interesting ingredient for box-office success, and the fact that Peterson has lost only once in 27 fights might make him a viable and interesting option.
Pacquiao’s next opponent is always interesting fodder for his fans around the globe. It will keep everyone interested until the time the Filipino champion steps into the ring.
Arum’s marching orders after his meeting with Pacquiao on who to sign for a fight will be the next big sports headline.