- Dan Rafael, Boxing
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Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is headed to the Philippines on Monday so he can sit down with Manny Pacquiao to discuss the fighter's options for a planned Nov. 10 return to the ring.
Arum, who will be in Pacquiao's homeland for a week, told ESPN.com there are three candidates to face Pacquiao next -- and none of them is Floyd Mayweather Jr., who was released Friday after a two-month stint in jail for domestic abuse and whom the world wants to see fight Pacquiao.
Arum, often accused of being an impediment to a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight, said that after the November fight, "I just hope we will be able to get the Mayweather fight done. I don't think we can do it in November with Mayweather just being released from jail and so forth.
"I have had no signal from anybody on his side that he would be back so quick for a fight Nov. 10. I would think if we can make a deal it would be in the spring, in April, after March Madness."
The candidates to face Pacquiao next come as no surprise. Arum listed them as:
• Welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley Jr. in a rematch of the tremendously controversial fight they had on June 9, in which Bradley was awarded a shocking split decision.
• Junior welterweight titleholder Juan Manuel Marquez, who has already faced Pacquiao three times in exciting fights that all ended in disputed decisions -- with Pacquiao winning twice and their first bout resulting in a draw.
• Former three-division titlist Miguel Cotto, whom Pacquiao knocked out in the 12th round of an all-action welterweight title bout in November 2009.
"I gotta tell Manny what I can afford for each fight and we need to talk about each fight, but he makes his own decision," Arum said. "I've talked to him once earlier in the summer and he's been thinking about what he wants to do. He's going to fight on Nov. 10, but we'll spend some time talking through everything and getting everything ironed out, and then I talk to the opponents and try to make a deal."
Arum said Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz will be involved in the meetings and, if she wanted to be, so would Pacquiao's wife, Jinkee.
Arum has been busy crunching the numbers. He said the Pacquiao-Marquez III pay-per-view in November 2011 generated 1.3 million buys -- about 400,000 more than the June fight Pacquiao had against Bradley. Pacquiao-Cotto generated about 1.25 million buys.
"Cotto brings with him a huge fan base from Puerto Rico and Marquez also has a big fan base with the Hispanics fans," Arum said. "Marquez did 400,000 buys more than Bradley. That fight did a little better than 900,000, so I have to consider that. And Marquez is very anxious for the fight, too. With Bradley, the general sports fan, at least anecdotally, wants them to have a rematch. People I go out to dinner with or people I visit with, they all talk about the rematch with Bradley, not a fourth fight with Marquez -- but they aren't Hispanics. The Hispanic fans are the ones who want the fourth fight with Marquez."
Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) has the right to exercise his contractual option for an immediate rematch with Bradley, whom Arum also promotes, so that is an easy fight to make. Marquez is promoted by Fernando Beltran's Zanfer Promotions, but Beltran is very close with Top Rank, with whom he partners on many events.
Cotto is a free agent, although Arum promoted him for his entire career except for his May 5 decision loss to Mayweather, which took place after Cotto's contract with Top Rank had expired. Arum said he has been talking to Cotto attorney Gaby Peñagaricano.
Before Pacquiao's June fight with Bradley was finalized, Cotto had been the leading candidate, but they could not agree on the weight. Pacquiao, boxing's only eight-division world champion, wanted the bigger Cotto to return to welterweight while Arum said Cotto wanted the fight in the low 150 pounds.
"We could do a Cotto rematch, assuming we can come to an understanding on the weight," Arum said. "Cotto is talking about going to 160 to fight somebody, but we've been talking to Gaby and we'll sort it out. I think Manny would be willing to do it at 150."
Cotto, however, might not be interested. He could instead fight in New York in December against an opponent to be determined.
Whomever Pacquiao faces, Arum said time was of the essence to get an opponent locked in so he could plan a media tour next month.
"Time flies and we're going to have to the announcement and the media tour the week of Labor Day because the week after that is our other big fight," Arum said of the Sergio Martinez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. middleweight championship fight Sept. 15 on HBO PPV. "So we have a very small window."
Arum said that assuming Pacquiao gets by the November bout he is shooting for an April fight after that rather than the popular first weekend in May because Pacquiao, a congressman in his native Philippines, is running for re-election. He said Pacquiao would need May and June to campaign.
"He's definitely running again," Arum said. "(Politics) is his future."
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum is headed to the Philippines on Monday so he can sit down with Manny Pacquiao to discuss his options for a planned Nov. 10 return to the ring.