The next opponent of Manny Pacquiao’s illustrious career will be decided by world-renowned promoter Bob Arum.
Two consecutive losses may have placed a fork in the road of the 34-year-old Filipino champion’s career path. A number of fighters, including his latest combatants in American Timothy Bradley and four-fight rival Juan Manuel Marquez, could be next Pacquiao’s on card, but fans won’t know until Arum makes his decision Sunday, according to ESPN.
Arum said he would speak with Marquez regarding a fifth bout with Pacquiao after the Mexican picks up his 2012 Fight of Year Award at the Boxing Writers Association of America dinner Thursday. Marquez earned the hardware for his stunning sixth round knockout of Pacquiao in December.
September is the reported target date for Pacquiao’s next bout, and Macau, China, the preferred location.
Marquez has not had a fight since Pacquiao. He was supposedly waiting for the result of Bradley’s title defense against Ruslan Provodnikov and the Mike Alvarado’s epic WBO super lightweight unanimous decision over Brandon Rios last month.
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With each of those matchups decided, Marquez and his camp should have a clearer picture. However some consider the delay a negotiating tactic for Marquez to squeeze more money out of Arum and Pacquiao.
Long-time Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach has said as much, according to TheSweetScience.com.
"My gut instinct on what is next? I want it to be Marquez, Manny wants Marquez, but Marquez wants a lot, lot, lot of money," Roach said. “"I think it's a little outrageous. It may not happen. We might have to go to Mike Alvarado or Brandon Rios or a Tim Bradley rematch could be made.”
Alvarado’s win may have forced a rubber match with Rios, which could open the door for Pacquiao-Bradley II. The last fight ended in a highly disputed split decision in Bradley's favor, with fans raining boos on the ring and the judges afterwards.
Undefeated Floyd Mayweather received a license to fight in Nevada on Monday for his fight with Robert Guerrero on May 4. Depending on the outcome, and if Pac-Man has his sights set solely on September, that would give Mayweather five months to prepare for a mega-bout. Mayweather's camp had previously stated that the intention was for a fight with Pacquiao in 2013.
That scenario is highly unlikely given the fact the 36-year-old hasn’t fought twice in the same calendar year since 2007.