By Ronnie Nathanielsz
TOP Rank promoter Bob Arum has raised the possibility of a fight between Fighter of the Decade Manny Pacquiao and undefeated pound-for-pound king Floyd Mayweather Jr. could happen in 2016, the last year of the Filipino’s extended contract with Top Rank.
One of the stumbling blocks to the fight according to Arum was that Mayweather was tied up to Showtime, while Pacquiao was on the bigger network, HBO Sports, although the American boxer has repeatedly said he won’t do business with Arum.
But he said that when Mayweather’s deal with Showtime expires, the two networks can agree to present the fight together as they did when Mike Tyson battled Lennox Lewis in a heavyweight title bout.
“HBO is willing to do it and anything can happen in 2016,” said Arum.
Mayweather’s father and trainer Floyd Mayweather Sr. told host Jenna Jay on the radio program “On The Ropes,” he believes a Mayweather-Pacquiao fight would be the last bout of both superstars and would be the biggest fight in the history of boxing.
Right now, Arum is working on a Nov. 16 Pacquiao fight in Macau, where the eight-division champion made a comeback after his crushing sixth-round knockout loss to Juan Manuel Marquez by scoring a handsome victory over former world lightweight champion Brandon Rios last Nov. 24.
Although a fifth fight against Marquez appears to be a first choice, Arum hasn’t ruled out the possibility that if the Mexican plays coy and doesn’t want another showdown with Pacquiao, which he himself declined in the past and trainer Ignacio Nacho Beristain is against, he may consider Ruslan Provodnikov.
The Russian was a one-time Pacquiao sparring partner, whose career has taken an upswing after a brutal fight against Timothy Bradley, in which he dropped the then WBO welterweight champion in the last round on March 16, 2013 and a battering of Mike Alvardo, who retired in the 10th round after being decked twice in Round 8 on Oct. 19, 2013.