More than two months before his fight with Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez, Top Tank Promotions head and Manny Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum, has already announced the next fight for the Filipino fighting congressman.
Arum told Nick Giongco of Manila Bulletin Wednesday, Pacquiao will return to the ring on April 20 after his fourth fight with Marquez which is set for December 8 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Arum's early announcement did not mention who Pacquiao will face on April 20, but he said a fifth fight with Marquez is not in his calendar. Arum did not say also that Pacquiao's potential foe Floyd Mayweather, Jr. will be Pacquiao's next opponent, despite his earlier disclosure that a Mayweather fight could take place in 2013.
After his trip to Manila in early August, Arum said, he discussed with Pacquiao about the long-overdue fight, saying "we are optimistic for April next year."
Arum told Boxing Scene via SI, he "discussed the feasibility of doing a Mayweather fight in April after "getting Pacquiao's ideas on schedules and when he is going to have to start campaigning next year" for the May elections in which Congressman Pacquiao is expected to run for governor of Sarangani province." Read more.
Although Arum did not discount the possibility of a Mayweather match, fight fans believe he is skirting the issue by placing the date of the fight at this time without consulting whoever is negotiating on Mayweather's behalf. This action can be construed to mean Arum is not really serious in pursuing a Mayweather fight.
Fight Hype's Ben Thompson says, its not surprising to see a Manny Pacquiao vs. Lamont Peterson fight in lieu of the anticipated super fight between Mayweather and Pacquiao. He also sees a possibility of a Marquez vs. Bradley fight next year. Note that these fighters are all under Arum's Top Rank Promotions outfit.
Bradley is expected to sign a contract with Peterson for a rematch on December 15 in Miami, Florida. Arum said, he has sent out contracts for their signature.
"It would be a fight for the WBO welterweight championship," said Arum. "We've sent contracts out, but it's not a deal until it's a deal."
Meanwhile Pacquiao is set to leave on or before October 13 to start his formal training at the Wild Card Gym, with long-time trainer Freddie Roach who is expected to devise a new strategy to neutralize Marquez' counter-punching speed and power.
Pacquiao has already filed his certificate of candidacy for reelection as congressman of Sarangani province where he is the incumbent and sole district representative.
Marquez has also started training early for his fourth encounter with Pacquiao at the Romanza Gym in Mexico while doing his workouts in the Mexican mountains of Toluca