By Ronnie Nathanielsz
“Fighter of the Decade” Manny Pacquiao’s opponent for his planned April 12 fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas will be decided over the weekend with the choice narrowed down to former sparring partner and WBO light welterweight champion Ruslan Provodnikov and undefeated WBO welterweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard that he would meet with Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz at his (Arum’s) home in Los Angeles on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) to finalize details of Pacquiao’s planned fight and that “hopefully we’ll put it to bed.”
He said the choice is between former Pacquiao sparring partner Ruslan Provodnikov and undefeated WBO welterweight champion Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley as Juan Manuel Marquez “is definitely out” after the Mexican repeatedly stated he didn’t wish to face Pacquiao in a fifth fight.
Arum said he has no specific choice among the two since he is a “non combatant” and that while Bradley presents an opportunity for Pacquiao to avenge his widely criticized split decision loss in June 2012, Provodnikov could be an attraction after his last explosive showing against Bradley.
At the same time he branded the story on a “done deal” for a Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather Jr fight in September as “a ridiculous story” pointing out that - “nobody has talked to anybody on Pacquiao’s side, nobody has talked to anybody on Mayweather’s side. He (Mayweather) just came out with a statement saying that it was ridiculous. I said it was ridiculous” even as he wondered - “how these people pick it up like its real. Its crazy.”
Mayweather in an interview with Ben Thompson, a journalist friend from Fight Hype branded the story “a lie.”