Top Rank chairman and promoter Bob Arum met with Manny Pacquiao in the Philippines on Monday to begin sorting out who Pacquiao wants to fight Nov. 10 at the MGM Grand Garden.
One option not on the table: Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Arum said before leaving for Pacquiao’s homeland there are three viable options: a rematch with Timothy Bradley, who won a controversial split decision over Pacquiao on June 9; a fourth fight with Juan Manuel Marquez, against whom Pacquiao has two wins and a draw; and Miguel Cotto, who Pacquiao defeated in 2009.
“We have to get it done within this month,” Arum said. “We want to do a press tour two weeks before our Sept. 15 card at the Thomas & Mack (headlined by Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. against Sergio Martinez), and there’s a lot of details that need to be worked out.”
Which is precisely why Mayweather is not being considered.
Mayweather was released from jail Friday after serving two months of a three-month sentence for domestic battery. Arum likely would need considerable time to negotiate a deal for a Mayweather-Pacquiao megafight and then adequately promote it. And that doesn’t include the time Mayweather would need to physically prepare.
Arum repeatedly has said Pacquiao wants to fight Mayweather and that he is looking at May 2013 as an option.
“Right now, the possibilities are Bradley, Marquez and Cotto, not necessarily in that order,” Arum said. “I have to go over everything with Manny. Ultimately it’s going to be his call.”
Ultimately, it’s going to come down to money.
If pay-per-view numbers are the sole barometer, Marquez is the most attractive opponent for Pacquiao. Their 2011 meeting, which Pacquiao won by majority decision, generated 1.4 million buys. Pacquiao-Bradley did 920,000 buys.
“The other two guys are better sells,” Arum said of Marquez and Cotto, whose loss to Pacquiao in 2009 had 1.25 million PPV buys. “But Bradley has the intrigue because of the (judging) controversy. The problem with Bradley is there’s no Hispanic component. That makes it a hard sell.”
For a rematch, Bradley also is demanding more than the $5 million he made in June. Cameron Dunkin, who manages Bradley, had a lengthy discussion with Top Rank president Todd duBoef and said he’s thinking more in the range of $9 million to $10 million for his fighter.
Marquez would also want more money than the $5 million he made in 2011, especially if he agrees to fight Pacquiao in Las Vegas. He failed to get a favorable decision in all three of his meetings with Pacquiao – a draw at the MGM Grand in 2004, a split decision loss at Mandalay Bay in 2008, and the majority decision loss to Pacquiao at the MGM Grand in 2011.
Cotto, who lost to Mayweather on May 5, is reportedly looking to fight next in New York on Dec. 1. Financially, he might be the most reasonable alternative for Pacquiao.
But Arum said whomever Pacquiao decides to fight, that decision needs to be made soon.
“The clock’s running,” he said. “We need to get this settled so we can start promoting Nov. 10.”
Contact reporter Steve Carp at email@example.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.