Saturday, March 30, 2013
Asia next for Manny Pacquiao?
By Dan Rafael
LAS VEGAS -- Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is leaving for Macau, China on Sunday to promote his company's card there next Saturday, which is headlined by the pro debut of Chinese national hero Zou Shiming, a two-time Olympic gold medalist. But this isn't likely to be Arum's last trip to promote a fight in Asia.
Arum told ESPN.com on Friday that Manny Pacquiao -- whomever he fights next -- will probably fight next in Asia.
"He is fighting in September," Arum said. "I don't know against who and I'm not exactly sure where, but it looks like Macau or Singapore."
The April 6 card in Macau will be put on at The Venetian resort, which also has a casino in Las Vegas and Singapore. Arum said casino officials are anxious to host a Pacquiao fight and would make the call as to which Asian property it would be held at -- the one in Macau or Singapore.
"They own both properties there, so it doesn't matter," Arum said.
Pacquiao's potential opponents come as no surprise. They are the same ones Arum has been mentioning for weeks: Juan Manuel Marquez, in a potential fifth meeting against the man who drilled him in a December shocker that was the 2012 fight of the year; welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr., in a rematch of the highly controversial split decision Bradley received in June; or Brandon Rios, should he defeat Mike Alvarado in their rematch on Saturday.
"It will be one of those three guys, at 147 [pounds]," Arum said. "My idea would be if [Pacquiao] fought Marquez, we do Bradley against Rios if Rios wins."
Arum added that Pacquiao's Asian fight would take place in the morning local time in order to accommodate a live prime-time HBO PPV broadcast in the United States.
Arum also touched on a couple of other topics:
• Former middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. is currently serving a nine-month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for a positive marijuana test stemming from his loss to champ Sergio Martinez on Sept. 15, but he will fight on either June 15 or June 22. The date is at issue because Arum and the commission disagree over precisely when Chavez is eligible to fight.
"There's a philosophical question -- when the nine months are up," Arum said. "Our argument is it's up June 15. They said originally it's up the 16th. But they might change that."
Arum spent time at Friday's Rios-Alvarado weigh-in huddled in deep conversation with Bill Brady, a member of the Nevada commission, discussing the issue.
Arum said the Chavez fight, which will be on HBO, will take place at the AT&T Center in San Antonio and be fought at a catchweight between middleweight and super middleweight, probably 164 pounds. Arum said the focus is on three potential opponents: Brian Vera, who won his fight Friday night and is from Austin, Texas, and two fighters from Great Britain, former title challengers Darren Barker and Matthew Macklin. However, Arum said that Macklin was offered the fight but didn't want to fight above 160 pounds.
• Mikey Garcia, who was also at Friday's weigh-in, won a featherweight title in January in dominant fashion against Orlando Salido. Garcia's first follow-up fight likely will be in July, Arum said. He said Top Rank president Todd duBoef was meeting with HBO executives on Saturday to talk about the particulars. Arum said the likely opponent will be former titleholder Juan Manuel Lopez, who will first fight on April 20.
"Mikey will fight maybe a catchweight fight against JuanMa Lopez," Arum said. Lopez has trouble making 126 pounds. His previous fight was at 128 pounds, as will be his April 20 bout.
Top Rank and HBO are talking about Garcia's fight headlining a tripleheader. Arum said the other fights that likely would be on the card are featherweight titlist Evgeny Gradovich's first defense -- a mandatory against Mauricio Munoz -- and a heavyweight fight involving prospect Andy Ruiz, possibly against fellow prospect Joe Hanks.