It’s no longer a question of ‘if’, but a question of ‘when’, according to Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, who spoke of Filipino ring icon Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao’s return to the boxing ring. A penciled in date of October 15 held at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay later this year signifies Pacquiao’s intent to return to the sport from which he retired just a few months ago.
However, it seems front-runner, welterweight star Adrien Broner is currently out of the list of possible opponents for Pacquiao.
“That is correct,” said Arum, referring to Broner being out of talks.
“I was dealing with Al Haymon on making [the Broner] fight. Al tried but Broner was asking for crazy money that nobody can afford so he is out and Manny is looking for another opponent,” said Arum, in a recent interview with website BoxingScene.
It is common in the boxing industry to have difficult negotiations between rival camps, with some sides often airing out ludicrous demands and stipulations, not the least of which are absurd amounts of money. It is frowned upon and at times viewed as a way out of negotiations entirely.
Pacquiao’s re-emergence in boxing was previously up in the air. He even briefly considered competing at the Rio Olympics after AIBA allowed professional boxers to compete alongside amateurs. Ultimately, Pacquiao decided against it but all signs indicate his imminent return to professional competition.
“[Pacquiao] is going to fight. I don’t know what the date is. He is working with the President of the Philippines senate for an appropriate date where he can leave the Philippines for two or three weeks to prepare for the fight,” said Arum.
“In any event he is going to have to do most of his preparation in the Philippines – you know after he sits in the senate – so it is going to be an interesting thing but definitely he is looking to come back and the question is how can we arrange it,” Arum added.
With Broner out of the picture, it leaves junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford, welterweight champion Keith Thurman and even former sparmate Amir Khan in the mix. –By Carlos Miguel Cinco
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