Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said Wednesday that he is waiting just like everyone else to hear who Manny Pacquiao wants to fight next.
The 36-year-old Pacquiao is due back in the ring on April 9 (HBO PPV) at a venue to be determined in Las Vegas for what is supposedly the final fight of his career, as he is likely to win a six-year term in the senate in the Philippines, which will keep him way too busy to continue boxing.
Arum was supposed to talk to Pacquiao, the only fighter in boxing history to win world titles in eight weight classes, to get his choice of opponent a couple of days ago, but they did not connect. On Wednesday, Arum said he spoke to Michael Koncz, Pacquiao’s adviser, and said Koncz told him a decision is imminent.
“He’s absolutely positive we’ll have an answer by Friday,” Arum said.
Arum said Pacquiao (57-6-2, 38 KOs), who is coming off rotator cuff surgery after injuring his arm in a unanimous decision loss to Floyd Mayweather in a welterweight unification fight on May 2 in boxing’s richest fight ever, has reviewed videos of the three candidates in the mix to get the fight.
They are junior welterweight titlist and 2014 fighter of the year Terence Crawford (27-0, 19 KOs), welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley Jr. (33-1-1, 13 KOs), who has split two fights with Pacquiao (including being given a massively controversial split decision in their first meeting), and welterweight contender Amir Khan (31-3, 19 KOs), a former unified junior welterweight titleholder.
Arum, who said Pacquiao’s guaranteed purse for the fight is $20 million against a percentage of the profits from the event regardless of which foe he selects, promotes Crawford and Bradley and recently told ESPN.com that he hopes Pacquiao does not pick Khan, whom Arum does not promote.
Khan is with adviser Al Haymon, whom Arum is suing for $100 million related to Haymon's creation of Premier Boxing Champions.
“I purposely kept myself out of it because at this point it doesn’t matter who Manny picks,” Arum said recently. “Would I prefer it not to be Khan? Yes, but this is Manny’s last fight. I have a duty to him to present him all of the options. Do I hope he doesn’t pick Khan though? Of course [because I don’t promote him], but I don’t think he will pick Khan. Khan was an option when we considered having this fight in April in the Middle East, so he was a guy on the table. Now the Middle East is not on the table, but he’s still one of the guys on the table.”