By Edward Chaykovsky
According to Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum, the next ring appearance for WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao will take place outside of the United States on a date in April or May.
His last two fights took place in Las Vegas, with the November contest against Jessie Vargas taking place at the Thomas & Mack Center.
In a recent interview, Pacquiao's adviser Michael Koncz revealed that his boxer required a guarantee of at least $20 million to face WBC/WBO junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford, who is also promoted by Top Rank.
Arum says Crawford will not be Pacquiao's next opponent, because his company is looking to stage the Filipino star's next fight outside of the United States.
“There’ll be no Pacquiao-Crawford fight in the first to six months of the year definitely,” Arum told The Manila Times via overseas call on Tuesday. “Only if the fight will be in the United States but we’re not planning the next fight in the United States so we’re also not planning on Crawford now.”
“I think Manny Pacquiao is more than just a boxer because he is representing the Philippines. It’s good for him to fight in places around the world same way Muhamad Ali fought so many fights outside of the United States.”
One possible option for Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38KOs) is undefeated rising contender Jeff “The Hornet” Horn (16-0-1 record with 11 knockouts) of Australia, who is ranked at #2 by the WBO and recently signed up by Top Rank as part of a co-promotion with Duco Events.
“Now that the New Year is over I’m going to finalize a location because we’re looking out an opponent depending on the locations like in Australia, England, Middle East or maybe even in Mexico. That’s what I want to do with the last period of Manny’s career," Arum said. “I want him to be known as a worldwide fighter. Jeff Horn is a good possibility. I will be flying soon to the Philippines once I finalized every detail.”
Another possible opponent for Pacquiao, although later on in the year, is WBO super featherweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko, if the weight limit could be worked out.
“A possible Pacquiao fight against Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko could also happen late next year in the US if ever Lomachenko goes up to the welterweight class. He is presently weighing up at 135 pounds. He’ll be fighting in March,” Arum added.