Manny Pacquiao Next Fight: Updates on Possible Opponents for Pac-Man

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Manny Pacquiao Next Fight: Updates on Possible Opponents for Pac-Man
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Updates for Tuesday, Jan. 21

Chris Williams of BoxingNews24.com has the latest on Manny Pacquiao's next opponent:

It’s reported that Top Rank will be matching Manny Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KO’s) against WBO welterweight champion Tim Bradley (31-0, 12 KO’s) in a rematch on April 12th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Bradley-Pacquiao rematch will be announced next week, and a press tour will start on February 4th, starting in Los Angeles followed by New York on February 5th, according to Tempo.

Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz has the completed contract information for Pacquiao and Bradley. Top Rank has got to hope that the Pacquiao-Bradley II fight will bring in better PPV numbers than Pacquiao’s last fight against Top Rank stable fighter Brandon Rios last November, which brought in just 475,000.

 

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Manny Pacquiao's dominant victory over Brandon Rios on Nov. 24 helped reinvigorate his reputation among the best pound-for-pound boxers, but it seems the welterweight star is still having trouble landing a top-tier opponent.   

According to Ronnie Nathanielsz of the Manila Standard Today, Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum met over the weekend to discuss "Pac-Man's" next move. While Ruslan Provodnikov and Timothy Bradley have both been named as potential opponents by Arum in the past, neither man was identified by Pacquiao's camp—a disconcerting sign that could lead to a delay in scheduling the Filipino star's next bout.  

“I met at Arum’s house this afternoon, but nothing is final as Manny and I are looking at all our options,” Koncz said.   

Still less than two months removed from the win over Rios, Pacquiao's camp does not need to rush to a decision yet. He is locked into a date at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on April 12 regardless of opponent. With a fifth fight against Juan Manuel Marquez out of the question for now, Pacquiao's camp is understandably being diligent with the decision.

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Although Pacquiao put on a clinic during his unanimous-decision defeat of Rios in November, the fight did not do much to reclaim Pac-Man's spot atop the boxing box office. HBO reported a mere 475,000 pay-per-view buys for the bout, a disconcerting number that indicates how much Pacquiao's reputation has fallen. For reference, Floyd Mayweather's last fight against Saul "Canelo" Alvarez became the highest-grossing pay-per-view event in history with 2.2 million buys. 

Rios' relative anonymity combined with Alvarez's following in Mexico played some factor in those numbers. But even a "low" pay-per-view figure for Mayweather is typically around a million buys. The long-rumored Mayweather-Pacquiao fight is still not in the works at this time. Al Bernstein of Showtime notes, though, Mayweather's propensity for talking about Pacquiao means the fight could still be alive sometime down the line:

If Pacquiao is looking to create the highest level of intrigue, it seems obvious that Bradley would be an overwhelming favorite. Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) defeated Pacquiao in June 2012 in a highly controversial split decision that left many frustrated with the sport's judging process. The 30-year-old American has since gone on to defeat Provodnikov and Marquez, with both bouts being thrilling, down-to-the-wire contests. 

A Pacquiao rematch has been something Bradley has previously been interested in, and Arum told ESPN's Dan Rafael he has declined fighting Marquez again with the hopes of getting his wish.

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"Marquez is gonna fight but that's my partner Fernando Beltran's job, to pin him down on what he wants to do. But Marquez will probably fight late in the spring," Arum said. "The guy he wants to fight is Bradley again, but Bradley would rather fight Manny." 

Provodnikov is similar to Rios in that he lacks a massive national following but is arguably more dangerous. The 29-year-old Russian has stopped or knocked out three of his last four opponents, the lone exception being Bradley. A potential complication exists, though, with Steve Kim of MaxBoxing.com reporting Provodnikov does not want to fight without trainer Freddie Roach, who also works with Pacquiao.

Any decision that is made will be subject to negotiations regarding a purse split. 

 

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