By Keith Idec
NEW YORK — Bob Arum was in Manhattan on Thursday to promote the Manny Pacquiao-Timothy Bradley welterweight championship rematch.
The 82-year-old promoter expects to return to Manhattan soon to officially announce another HBO Pay-Per-View main event. Arum said Top Rank Inc. president Todd duBoef and promoter Lou DiBella are very close to finishing negotiations for the Miguel Cotto-Sergio Martinez middleweight title fight June 7 at Madison Square Garden.
“That’s going to happen,” Arum said. “The issues now are such nonsense that they don’t exist. As far as I’m concerned, I would say the fight’s done. But they still have these little issues.”
Assuming the deal is finalized, Puerto Rico’s Cotto (38-4, 31 KOs) will attempt to win a world title in his fourth weight class by challenging Argentina’s Martinez (51-2-2, 28 KOs) for Martinez’s WBC middleweight title. The 33-year-old former junior welterweight, welterweight and junior middleweight champion is coming off a three-round demolition of overmatched Delvin Rodriguez (28-7-3, 16 KOs) on Oct. 5 in Orlando, Fla.
Martinez, who’ll turn 39 on Feb. 21, hasn’t boxed since suffering hand and knee injuries during a tougher-than-anticipated win against England’s Martin Murray (26-1-1, 11 KOs) on April 27 in Buenos Aires. Though Martinez beat Murray by unanimous decision (115-112 on all three scorecards), he was knocked down during the eighth round and didn’t perform as impressively as he did during his six previous victories over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Matthew Macklin, Darren Barker, Sergiy Dzinziruk, Paul Williams and Kelly Pavlik.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.