Top Rank: Pacquiao’s next foe is not Floyd

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Saturday, January 4, 2014


MANNY Pacquiao’s opponent for his ring return on April 12 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas could be named today.

“We are down to business now,” Top Rank head honcho Bob Arum said in a report on ESPN.com. “Michael (Koncz) is coming over to my house and there will certainly be progress made on Manny's next fight. Then I need some time to finalize a deal with the opponent.

“I think we will select the opponent on Saturday (Sunday RP time) and then I will go close a deal with that guy.”

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However, one thing’s for sure, Pacquiao’s opponent won’t be Floyd Mayweather Jr., which was reported by a website this week that stirred up the boxing world.

The frontrunners as Pacquiao’s next opponent are World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight champion Timothy Bradley and WBO light welterweight titleholder Ruslan Provodnikov.

Bradley owns a controversial win over Pacquiao in 2012. He walked away with a close split decision victory.

The 30-year-old Bradley, 31-0 with 12 knockouts, is off a split decision win over Juan Manuel Marquez.

Provodnikov, on the other hand, is a friend and sparring partner of Pacquiao. Both he Pacquiao share the same gym, Wild Card Gym in Hollywood, and also the same coach, Freddie Roach.

The 29-year-old Provodnikov, 23-2 with 16 knockouts, is off the biggest win of his career a stoppage over Mike Alvarado.

Pacquiao is hoping for another rematch with long-time rival Marquez, however, the 40-year-old Mexican superstar has declined it.

“Marquez has put himself out of the running because he doesn’t want the fight,” said Arum. “He hasn't priced himself out of the fight, he's just not interested at any price. What he’s saying for him, it makes a lot of sense. He’s like, ‘How can I do any better against Pacquiao than knocking him out?’”

Marquez finally avenged his three razor-thin losses to Pacquiao by knocking him out cold in the sixth round of their fourth bout in 2012.

Pacquiao successfully bounced back from that devastating loss with a one-sided unanimous verdict over banger Brandon Rios last November in Macau.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on January 05, 2014.

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