By Ronnie Nathanielsz
HIS next foe can wait. Pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao won’t rush to a decision on his next opponent. Manny is scheduled to meet with his promoter, Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum, to review the options for his next defense of the WBO welterweight crown, tentative for a date in late May or early June.
That’s what BoxingScene.com/Manila Standard learned a few hours before Top Rank promoter Bob Arum and Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz boarded a plane in Los Angeles for an early-morning arrival in Manila on Tuesday.
Arum plans to remain in the Philippines until Saturday during which he will meet with Pacquiao and lay out the options, including the all-important financial packages covering the four prospective opponents.
Arum’s list includes Juan Manuel Marquez, who has given Pacquiao a hard time, especially in their last fight on Nov. 12, 2011, in which the Filipino icon won by a majority decision.
The three other fighters mentioned by Arum are newly crowned World Boxing Association super world and International Boxing Federation light welterweight champion Lamont Peterson, whose split decision win over Amir Khan last Dec. 10 is still mired in controversy, WBA light welterweight champion Timothy Bradley and World Boxing Association light middleweight champion Miguel Cotto, whom Pacquiao soundly defeated in November 2009, winning by a 12th-round TKO.
Arum said he has his preferences, but emphasized that he wouldn’t make it known and would allow Pacquiao to decide.
Koncz has been in constant contact with Pacquiao and indicates the boxer will make a decision only after Arum leaves because “ there is no hurry.”
There is no word on when the meeting between Arum and Pacquiao will take place as the Fighter of the Decade said he will remain in his hometown of General Santos City to celebrate his wife Jinkee’s birthday on Jan. 12.
Arum said he wanted to know how well the nasty cut suffered by Pacquiao in his last fight against Marquez had healed, pointing out that the Filipino champion could perhaps start sparring only in April, which was one of the reasons a May 5 fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. had been ruled out aside from the American boxer’s legal problems.