By Keith Idec
Promoter Bob Arum has declined to comment on Floyd Mayweather Jr. getting sentenced to 90 days in jail.
Arum will, however, discuss the impact of Mayweather’s impending incarceration with Manny Pacquiao. Arum’s meeting with Pacquiao sometime during the first week of January in Los Angeles to discuss Pacquiao’s potential opponents will procede as planned.
The Pacquiao-Arum meeting was supposed to focus on finally making the long-overdue Pacquiao-Mayweather match. Now they figure to start solidifying Plan B for Pacquiao’s next fight, tentatively scheduled for sometime in June because Pacquiao needs some extra time to recover from the cut over his right eye he sustained during a narrow win against Juan Manuel Marquez nearly six weeks ago.
Marquez, Miguel Cotto and Timothy Bradley are the three possible opponents Pacquiao and Arum are expected to discuss at their meeting. Mexico’s Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs) obviously deserves a fourth fight against Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs), especially since their Nov. 12 fight in Las Vegas, which Pacquiao won by majority decision, seemingly could’ve gone either way.
Regardless, Arum and his braintrust at Top Rank Inc. are concerned that another bout between those rivals will be just as close as their first three fights and wouldn’t definitively resolve the debate about who’s better. Marquez also represents the most risk among the three possible Mayweather replacements, in terms of upsetting Pacquiao and ruining a Pacquiao-Mayweather megafight once and for all.
There would be backlash from fans and media members, though, if Top Rank instead makes a Pacquiao-Cotto rematch. Pacquiao has already beaten Cotto convincingly, by 12th-round technical knockout in November 2009, and there appears to be little reason for them to fight again.
While Bradley obviously would be an underdog against the Filipino superstar, the Palm Springs, Calif., native is undefeated and Top Rank would have at least a slightly easier time selling him as Pacquiao’s opponent than Puerto Rico’s Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs). In his first fight with Top Rank, Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs, 1 NC) stopped 40-year-old Cuban southpaw Joel Casamayor (38-6-1, 22 KOs) in the eighth round on the Pacquiao-Marquez undercard.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.