Manny Pacquiao to hear fight options
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is headed for the Philippines on Sunday to visit Manny Pacquiao and will present him with four options for his next fight -- none of whom is Floyd Mayweather Jr.
With Mayweather out of the mix for the time being, as he is scheduled to begin serving a three-month jail term on Friday for a domestic abuse conviction, Arum said the list he will offer to Pacquiao includes Juan Manuel Marquez, Miguel Cotto, Timothy Bradley Jr. and Lamont Peterson.
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"I'll sit with Manny and explain everything to him, tell him what I think each of these fights would do on pay-per-view," Arum told ESPN.com on Wednesday. "We'll talk about what (trainer) Freddie (Roach) thinks and about what (Top Rank matchmaker) Bruce (Trampler) thinks. Then I'll let Manny make the decision on which opponent he wants to fight, which I am sure he will do while I am there."
Arum is flying to Manila with Michael Konz, Pacquiao's adviser, who will also attend the meeting.
"Besides the opponent, the other thing we need to discuss is whether he'll fight in May or June," Arum said.
Mayweather had announced that he planned to fight on May 5 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas -- and that he hoped to fight Pacquiao -- before he was sentenced last month to six months, with three months suspended, in the Clark County Detention Center near Las Vegas.
Mayweather was sentenced after he accepted a plea deal in the domestic violence case stemming from an incident with his with ex-girlfriend, Josie Harris, the mother of three of his children.
"I'm not married to May 5, so Manny could fight on another date in May," Arum said. "If Manny's opponent is Marquez, I'd be much more married to the date."
The reason is because Marquez is from Mexico and May 5 is the Mexican holiday of Cinco de Mayo, traditionally a day when major bouts involving Mexican fighters are held.
Regardless of Pacquiao's opponent, the fight will be carried on HBO PPV, Arum said.
A closer look at Pacquiao's four possible opponents:
• Marquez: He is Pacquiao's great rival. Pacquiao won a controversial majority decision against him to retain his welterweight belt on Nov. 12 in their third fight. Pacquiao now stands 2-0-1 against Marquez. All three bouts have been action-packed and ended with a debatable decision.
"All three fights were so close and this fight would be another intriguing, close fight and have a built in audience, particularly the Hispanic fans who believe that Marquez won that fight (on Nov. 12) and was robbed of the decision," Arum said.
Arum said he does not have Marquez, who is a free agent, under contract. But he says they have a good relationship and that Marquez made his biggest payday against Pacquiao.
• Cotto: Pacquiao stopped Cotto in the 12th round of a 2009 welterweight title bout, but Cotto has won three fights in a row by knockout since, including claiming a junior middleweight title and stopping Antonio Margarito in the 10th round of a dominant performance in a much-anticipated rematch on Dec 3.
"Cotto looked terrific with Margarito, he has the biggest fan base with the Puerto Rican (pay-per-view) numbers he delivers and he's the biggest name of the four," Arum said. "Also, people remember that the first four rounds of his fight with Manny were hellacious. You could sell it based on the fact that, yeah, Manny beat the old Cotto, but the new Cotto is a problem and they would be fighting at a higher weight. Last time it was a welterweight fight. This would be a junior middleweight fight with the (catch weight) a little lower than 154 pounds."
• Bradley: Last year, Arum signed Bradley, a junior welterweight titlist who would have to move up in weight for the bout, with the idea that he would be a potential future opponent for Pacquiao. Bradley, whose fights are not known for brisk ticket sales, has never headlined a pay-per-view card. He was featured on the undercard of Pacquiao's November fight with Marquez.
"Bradley is undefeated, he's considered to be a tough out and, for those looking at the most competitive fight, Bradley would be considered more competitive with Pacquiao than Peterson might be," Arum said.
Bradley owns a lopsided 2009 decision win against Peterson in a junior welterweight title fight.
• Peterson: He upset Amir Khan on a controversial split decision to win a pair of junior welterweight belts on Dec. 10. Arum does not promote Peterson, who is a free agent, but used to and has a good relationship with Barry Hunter, Peterson's manager and trainer.
"There are pluses and minuses," Arum said of Peterson, who has never headlined a pay-per-view card but drew a raucous crowd in his hometown of Washington D.C., for the Khan fight. "Clearly, Bradley whitewashed Peterson, so you have that. But on the other hand you have Peterson coming off this fight with Khan that had a lot of publicity and it was a terrific fight.
"And you also have this wonderful back story of how Lamont grew up in poverty. It's U.S. poverty versus Filipino-style poverty. Both guys came up in as much poverty as you could imagine. That would be a theme of a promotion if Peterson is selected as the opponent."
Arum said he had no particular preference on which opponent Pacquiao should select.
"I'll explain all the scenarios to Manny, but I don't care," he said. "I'm Switzerland. I'll present the opponents and we'll discuss it, but Manny makes his own decision. Now if I was leaning a particular way and I told Manny, he would probably do it because that's the kind of guy he is."
Arum said his trip to the Philippines is planned to coincide with a commercial shoot Pacquiao is doing for Hennessy cognac, which recently signed him as a spokesman.
"Hennessy is also doing a sponsorship deal with Top Rank, so I want to be there to show support," Arum said.
Although many have had their doubts over the past couple of years that a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight has gone unmade, Arum said that he still hopes to make the fight when Mayweather is available.
"You can't expect Floyd, after having been in prison, to come out and go right into a big fight," Arum said. "He won't be available to train or promote a fight in May or June. He'll probably want to have a tune-up fight.
"I just hope that he swallows his ego and doesn't get into trouble when he is in (jail), because then the incarceration can go not only the full 90 days, but he could have the 90 days added on (to his three-month suspended sentence). You know they're not looking to do him any favors in jail."
So the earliest the long-sought fight could be held is in November, Arum said. "And we still have not been told by Floyd who we should sit down with to hammer everything out. "
Arum said he feels badly for Mayweather and the victim in the case.
"I really feel sad for him. You feel sorry for the guy. I know what he did was totally unacceptable in society, but you can still feel sorry for him. You feel sorry for the victim in this (Josie Harris, Mayweather's ex-girlfriend and the mother of three of his children) but you can feel sorry for Floyd, too."
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.