By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Eight-division world champion and Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao will face either of the two men, who beat him in his last two fights — Juan Manuel Marquez, who scored a sixth round knockout last Dec. 8, or Timothy Bradley, who won a widely condemned split decision on June 9.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum ruled out Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios as a possible opponent for Pacquiao in a planned September bout in either Macau or Singapore.
“Rios lost his last fight and is not in consideration as an opponent for Manny,” said Arum.
He was reacting to Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz, who told BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard a day earlier that while Rios lost, “it was a good fight and was close and entertaining.”
Koncz added that he didn’t think the defeat reduced the chances of Rios fighting Pacquiao.
“I don’t want to comment on that. I’m the one who raises the money,” said Arum.
Speaking from Hong Kong in a three-way conversation with Australian promoter Peter Maniatis and his co-hosts on the weekly boxing show on SEN Radio in Melbourne, Arum said: “Rather than Rios, it would be Marquez or Bradley, who will face Pacquiao in his next fight.”
Arum added that”driving the engine are the people at the Venetian,” which will stage its first blockbuster fight card on Saturday, headlined by China’s two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time world amateur flyweight champion Zou Shiming.
Arum said there is a “little internal dispute” between the Venetian people in Macau and Singapore, who both want Pacquiao’s next fight planned for September.
In the meantime, boxingscene.com quoted Marquez’s Hall-of-Fame trainer Ignacio Beristain, who said that while Marquez showed interest in fighting Bradley, the only fighter, who could bring in the kind of money Marquez wants, is Pacquiao.
“I think Juan can be well prepared to fight Brandon Rios or Timothy Bradley, but definitely the best fight out there for him is Pacquiao because he is going to bring a lot of money. Brandon Rios is a very strong fighter but to be very frank, Mike Alvarado is also on the list. But Pacquiao guarantees big profits to the promoter and the fighter. That fight would bring a very substantial purse that benefits everyone involved in the event — and that is something that neither Brandon Rios or Timothy Bradley is able to bring.”