More details regarding Manny Pacquiao's return to the ring are becoming clearer as we get closer to the date, which looks to be November 5.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said that the fight taking place on October 29, another date that was being discussed for Pacquiao's return, is no longer on the table after talking with Pacquiao and representatives of the Senate in the Philippines.
Pacquiao said his priorities as a senator are very important to him and didn't want his return to the ring to interfere with those affairs. He will be training in his native Philippines, according to a letter sent by his representative.
Arum, who was doing media rounds with World Boxing Organization light welterweight champion Terence Crawford on Monday in Hollywood, California, said Crawford, unbeaten World Boxing Council champion Viktor Postol and WBO welterweight champion Jessie Vargas are the top contenders to fight Pacquiao.
Crawford and Postol will fight this Saturday on HBO pay-per-view. The winner of that fight looks to be in the driver's seat to be Pacquiao's opponent.
While Pacquiao trainer Freddie Roach said he believes junior-welterweight is Pacquiao’s best fighting weight, Arum said he’s unsure Pacquiao will have sufficient training time to take off the additional seven pounds – which would seem to favor Vargas’ candidacy.
According to reports, WBC welterweight champion Danny Garcia is also a candidate but wanted more money for the fight. When asked about Garcia, Arum didn't acknowledge of any talks even happening.
“Nobody’s ever called me about Garcia," Arum said. "Garcia’s saying he wants more money. Who’s he talking to?”
Another thing to consider when looking at Pacquiao's potential opponent is Pacquiao's weight. Vargas is a very likely opponent as well because Pacquiao's weight is currently best suited for a welterweight fight.
“A lot of it depends on if Manny wants to go down to 140," Arum said. "If he decides to go to 140 and Crawford wins, that could be the fight, but if he says no, says, ‘Because of the Senate, I’m not going to be able to get down to 140 comfortably,’ then he’ll fight against Vargas,”
Still no word on where the fight will take place, but MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay and the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas are being looked as potential hosts.
By Carlos Toro
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