LOS ANGELES, California, January 6 – Boxing promoter Bob Arum will offer four potential foes to Manny Pacquiao as his next possible opponent, but none of them are Floyd Mayweather, according to reports in ESPN and USA Today.
Fight fans have longed to see Pacquiao and unbeaten American Mayweather, regarded as the world’s top pound-for-pound fighters, matched in the ring, only to see those hopes dashed time and again and now foiled once more.
A fourth fight against Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez, a rematch with Puerto Rican southpaw Miguel Cotto and first fights against Americans Tim Bradley and Lamont Peterson are the options, Arum said.
“I will lay everything out and Manny is going to choose,” Arum told USA Today, adding to ESPN that “besides the opponent, the other thing we need to discuss is whether he’ll fight in May or June.”
Arum plans to fly to the Philippines on Sunday with Pacquiao adviser Michael Konz, who will attend the meeting with the Filipino southpaw, who has won 15 fights in a row over the past seven years.
Mayweather, who had planned to fight again on May 5, is scheduled to begin serving a 90-day jail sentence on Friday after pleading guilty to domestic abuse from an incident involving ex-girlfriend Josie Harris, the mother of his three children.
Arum said he hoped to have a chance to make a deal for Pacquiao, 54-3 with two drawn and 38 knockouts, to fight Mayweather, 42-0 with 26 knockouts, but said the earliest that such a megafight was possible would be November.
“You can’t expect Floyd, after having been in prison, to come out and go right into a big fight,” Arum told ESPN.
“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.”
Arum told ESPN that a May 5 date would be a factor only against Marquez, 53-6 with one draw and 39 knockouts, because that is when a Mexican holiday falls and a date when fights involving Mexicans are popular.
Pacquiao won a majority decision over Marquez last November in his most recent fight and has two wins and a draw over Marquez, but the action-packed bouts all had controversial decisions.
Pacquiao stopped Cotto, 37-2 with 30 knockouts, in the 12th round in 2009 but Cotto has stopped three foes in a row since, including avenging his first career loss by stopping Antonio Margarito in the 10th round last month.
Arum said a Pacquiao-Cotto rematch would be fought at the higher junior middleweight level, where Cotto is a world champion, rather than welterweight, where the prior fight was staged.
Unbeaten Bradley, 28-0 with 12 knockouts, signed with Arum last year with the idea he would fight Pacquiao at some stage. Bradley would have to move up from junior welterweight for the bout but such a move was in the works if he could not make a deal to fight Britain’s Amir Khan.
Peterson, 30-1-1 with 15 knockouts, suffered his lone loss to Bradley by unanimous decision in 2009 and comes off a controversial split-decision upset of Khan last month in Washington, the new champion’s hometown.
A Khan-Peterson rematch is also a possibility, with other fight plans waiting upon Pacquiao’s decision before plans can move forward.