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Arum: Pacquiao likely to return in September, might face Marquez

By all indications, Manny Pacquiao intends to keep fighting. But don’t look for the former world champion in the ring anytime soon.

According to Bob Arum, Top Rank chairman and Pacquiao’s promoter, Pacquiao might not resurface until September.

In the wake of Juan Manuel Marquez knocking him out Saturday at the end of the sixth round at the MGM Grand Garden, Pacquiao has to serve a mandatory 90-day medical suspension imposed by the Nevada Athletic Commission. That means the earliest he can be in the gym is March 9. That rules out the proposed April 20 date that Arum had in mind since Pacquiao would need more than five weeks to prepare for a rematch with Marquez. Or a fight with anyone else.

“He can’t make April,” Arum said Tuesday. “Sept. 14 is the most likely date.”

Pacquiao also has a busy political calendar in the spring. He is running for re-election for his congressional seat in the Philippines. And while he is running unopposed, he needs to be home for the election May 13. By setting a return date in September, Pacquiao has plenty of time to deal with his political obligations and then promote and train for his next fight.

Arum said Pacquiao, who turns 34 on Monday, has told him he plans to continue his boxing career. He is coming off consecutive losses for the first time in his 17 years as a professional.

“Based on what he told me, Manny wants to continue,” Arum said. “Until he tells me otherwise, I’m going under the assumption he plans to fight in 2013.”

Arum said a fifth meeting with Marquez is what Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38 knockouts) will want as he seeks to avenge the KO loss.

“That’s the best fight out there,” Arum said. “They said they were going to try and knock each other out, and it wasn’t a shock Manny could get knocked out. But not like this.”

Arum said a fifth fight could be even more lucrative for the 39-year-old Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs), who made a minimum of $6 million guaranteed from his win Saturday. Pacquiao made more than $26 million from the fourth fight.

“It’s conceivable Juan could make eight figures from a fifth fight with Manny,” Arum said. “It was a great win for him, and it definitely entitles him to a bigger piece of the pie the next fight. He’s earned it.”

The NAC reported the gate for Pacquiao-Marquez IV was $10,888,890 with 15,403 tickets sold and 908 complimentary tickets issued. NAC executive director Keith Kizer said both fighters were drug tested prior to and after the fight, and those results should be available early next week.

The HBO Pay Per View numbers still were being calculated, but Arum said the early indications are the fight did well and should be comparable to the third meeting in 2011, which had 1.43 million buys.

In the meantime, Brandon Rios (31-0-1, 23 KOs) might have to settle for a rematch with Mike Alvarado (33-1, 23 KOs) instead of facing Marquez or Pacquiao, as initially had been planned. Rios and Alvarado engaged in one of the best fights of 2012 when they met Oct. 13 at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., and Rios scored a seventh-round technical knockout.

“We’re working on Feb. 9 at Mandalay Bay for a Rios-Alvarado rematch,” Arum said. “Their first fight was great, and we’re hoping to get them back together.”

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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