Manny Pacquiao talking extension
Manny Pacquiao and longtime promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank are discussing a five-fight contract extension that would take the Filipino superstar through 2016, which would coincide with Pacquiao's wish to fight for two more years.
"Yes, we are talking about the extension," Arum told ESPN.com. "We are working it out. We are talking about a lot of things. How many fights would be in Macau, how many would be in the United States, how many in other places. But we are talking about five fights."
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Arum said if the deal is completed, it would likely mean a fight this fall followed by two fights each in 2015 and 2016.
Pacquiao's existing promotional agreement with Top Rank runs out at the end of this year, but he has stated time and again that he is loyal to Arum and hopes to finish his career with him, perhaps even to the detriment of making the biggest fight in boxing, a match with pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr., who has steadfastly refused to do business with Arum, his former promoter.
Arum has promoted Pacquiao since 2005, just before he began his historic run up the scale that saw him win world titles in five of the record eight weight classes he has claimed belts in.
"I have had conversations with Bob about an extension, but nothing has been finalized," Michael Koncz, Pacquiao's adviser, told ESPN.com. "Do we fight again this year or take some time off and fight next year? There are a lot of things to work on, but the new agreement we are discussing would entail five fights. That's our intention, barring injury."
Koncz said that although Pacquiao and Arum have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship, they are still exploring other options. He said they are permitted to do so before the end of the agreement because technically Top Rank co-promotes Pacquiao with Pacquiao's own company, MP Promotions.
"Bob has been good to us over the years and we have been good to him. We may sign with him or we may not," Koncz said. "We have other offers on the table and we will look at all our options and decide what's best for Manny, but I don't want to discuss the particulars because I don't want to offend other people."
Koncz did say that he was not having discussions with Top Rank rival Golden Boy Promotions, which was once embroiled in litigation with Top Rank over Pacquiao's contract after he signed with both companies simultaneously, a situation that became one of the central reasons for the bad blood between them.
Koncz said he is going to the Philippines this week for a fight card MP Promotions is putting on and plans to talk business with Pacquiao while he is there, as well as to congratulate him on the birth of his son on Sunday. Jinkee Pacquiao gave birth to the couple's fifth child, a boy they named Israel.
Koncz said whether Pacquiao, 35, re-signs with Top Rank or not, a fight with Mayweather "isn't the driving force."
"I don't believe Floyd not fighting us has to do with Bob," Koncz said. "Why did he wait until he exhausted all other excuses before saying he wouldn't fight Manny if Bob was involved? First he brought up the drug testing [during the initial 2009 failed negotiations]. Then he wanted Manny to sign with him. Then he wanted to pay Manny only a flat fee of $40 million for the fight instead of sharing a percentage [of the revenue], and now he can't fight Manny because Bob would be involved?
"Why did he wait so long to bring that up? If that's true, why not use that excuse a few years ago?"
Pacquiao (56-5-2, 38 KOs) regained his welterweight title on April 12 with a clear unanimous decision against Timothy Bradley Jr. in the rematch of Bradley's extraordinarily controversial split-decision win in 2012. After the victory, Pacquiao said he wanted to fight for two more years.
If Pacquiao fights again in the fall, the possible opponent is the winner of the May 17 title elimination fight between Juan Manuel Marquez and Mike Alvarado. Pacquiao is 2-1-1 in four classic fights with Marquez, most recently Marquez's one-punch sixth-round knockout victory in December 2012.
But Koncz also said that Pacquiao, a small welterweight who began his fighting career at 106 pounds in 1995, is considering a move down to the 140-pound junior welterweight division in an effort to increase the field of opponents.
"We may move to 140 pounds. We have a lot of options and have to be careful with our final decision," Koncz said. "This is Manny's career and it's winding down. That's another option we have, of going to 140 to find other opponents."
Koncz said that whomever Pacquiao signs with, Pacquiao likes the idea of fighting in different places.
"We love fighting in America and we wouldn't mind going back to Cowboys Stadium [where Pacquiao fought twice in 2010]," he said. "But we're also looking at different venues and countries. Macau was beneficial to everyone involved. In Macau we didn't have such a heavy dependence on the American pay-per-view money. We'd love to fight in Macau again, whether we re-sign with Bob or not."
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