Manny Pacquiao now will fight Dec. 1

Updated: August 22, 2012, 5:25 PM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Manny Pacquiao, originally slated to return to the ring Nov. 10, instead will fight an opponent yet to be determined Dec. 1, his adviser said Wednesday.

Michael Koncz said the reason for moving the HBO pay-per-view fight -- Pacquiao's first since he lost his welterweight title on a highly controversial split decision to Timothy Bradley Jr. on June 9 -- was because of issues surrounding Pacquiao's re-election campaign for the congressional seat he holds in the Philippines.

It's important to us, Manny and I, to move the date because we haven't had the greatest performances in the last two fights and he wants to stay completely focused on his training. To do that, we've requested that our promoter move the fight to Dec. 1.

-- Manny Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz

"Manny has to be in the Philippines for the filing of his candidacy in October, and I don't want to interrupt his training, nor does Manny," Koncz said. "If he fights on Nov. 10, it would interrupt his training because he would have to go back to the Philippines. You lose two days going there, and it's a long trip in the middle of camp. We don't want to have any excuses when he fights. I believe if he fought on Nov. 10 but made a trip at that time to the Philippines, we'd lose a week of physical training, and I don't want there to be any excuses. So we can't go on Nov. 10, and we have told that to our promoter (Top Rank)."

Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KOs) typically has spent the first part of his training camp in Baguio, Philippines, before relocating to trainer Freddie Roach's Wild Card gym in Hollywood, Calif., for the final few weeks before the fight.

For this camp, Koncz said Pacquiao decided a while ago that he would spend his entire camp training in Hollywood.

"Once he starts training, we're doing it all in America," Koncz said. "Once he gets here, he wants to stay here and be focused. The first time we trained in the Philippines for part of the time it was done for taxation reasons. So we started to do that, and Manny enjoyed it. But it's becoming a chore. He felt the training camp would be sufficient to do it all in L.A."

Koncz said he and Top Rank promoter Bob Arum have been discussing the change of date the past few weeks. They met in New York on Monday to talk about it some more, as well as other aspects of the deal, including potential opponents.

The names under discussion are the three fighters who have been on the list since Pacquiao's June fight -- Bradley in a rematch (which Pacquiao holds an option on if he wants it), a fourth fight with rival Juan Manuel Marquez (whom Pacquiao is 2-0-1 against in three controversial decisions) and a rematch with Miguel Cotto (whom Pacquiao stopped in the 12th round of a 2009 welterweight title bout).

Floyd Mayweather Jr., the one opponent the world is waiting to see Pacquiao face, is not on the list.

"It's important to us, Manny and I, to move the date because we haven't had the greatest performances in the last two fights and he wants to stay completely focused on his training," Koncz said. "To do that, we've requested that our promoter move the fight to Dec. 1. We're working very well with Bob on it. That was the alternative date we came up with."

Added Top Rank president Todd duBoef: "Koncz told us he wanted to see if we could move the date a couple of weeks later because of the political situation with Manny in the Philippines. For his congressional run he has to be physically present when he files for his candidacy in October. So the request we got was see what we could do about pushing back the fight, and we are looking at the options to satisfy Manny."

The November fight was supposed to be at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, and the new fight likely will be there, as well. However, Koncz said it was possible it could go elsewhere.

"Right now, they're scheduling it for the MGM Grand, but I've had discussions on it with Bob, and it depends on what opponent we pick," Koncz said.

Koncz squashed speculation that Dec. 1 could mean Pacquiao could face Cotto at Madison Square Garden in New York, where the Puerto Rican star has a significant fan base. Cotto, who lost a spirited decision and his junior middleweight title to Mayweather on May 5, has been linked to a comeback fight at the Garden on that date.

Pacquiao has not fought in New York because of the tax implications. There is no state income tax in Nevada. More likely, if there was a rematch with Cotto, it would be in Las Vegas.

Whomever Pacquiao faces, Koncz said the decision will be made soon.

"We still need to start promoting it, and we should make a final determination in the next week or so," he said.

With Mayweather recently being released from jail after serving two months of an 87-day sentence for a domestic violence conviction, speculation has been rampant about when Mayweather will return to the ring. He said prior to his win against Cotto that he intended to fight again this year, although he has made no public comments since his release.

With Pacquiao, boxing's only eight-division world champion, moving his next fight into December, it makes it more difficult for Mayweather to schedule his next fight this year because it is almost certain he would not fight before December, and it would be highly unusual for there to be two such high-profile pay-per-view fights in the same month.

The solution, of course, would be for a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight in December, but the sides have been at a stalemate for years over various aspects of a deal.

Even if they could iron things out, Koncz said he doesn't think Mayweather will fight again this year.

"As you know, we're willing and able to fight Floyd anytime he wants, but I don't believe he is ready," Koncz said. "Floyd just got out of (county jail). He's spending time with his family. He's enjoying his freedom. He has money left over from the last fight after being in jail for two months. I don't see Floyd going into the ring until next year, but who knows? I have no confirmation of his schedule. I'm just glad he's out of jail. I wish him all the luck in the world and so does Manny, but I don't see Floyd fighting before us this year."

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