by Ronnie Nathanielsz
What appeared to be an overly ambitious plan for Manny Pacquiao to fight in Manila with WBO super bantamweight champion Nonito Donaire and WBO/WBC flyweight champion Brian Viloria on the same card on April 20 - has been scuttled.
Pacquiao himself has said the planned comeback fight will not take place in Manila.
Pacquiao’s adviser Michael Koncz confirmed that should the fight push through - the venues being considered are Singapore, Macau and Abu Dhabi.
Top Rank president Todd duBeof visited Macau to discuss possibilities with the big hotel and casino operators in the gambling capital of Asia, while Koncz is preparing to speak to tourism officials in Singapore and representatives of the ruling family in Abu Dhabi.
Asked about possible opponents Koncz said “we have a list of nine possible opponents but will only discuss who Manny will fight after we have settled the issue of the venue.”
Under the original proposal from a Team Pacquiao member undefeated junior welterweight Brandon “Bam Bam” Rios and welterweight Humberto Sotto were mentioned.
However, one of the front-runners appears to be Ukraine’s 35 year old Vyacheslav Senchenko, who has a record of 33-1 with 22 knockouts and scored a 9th round TKO over Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton in his comeback fight last November 24.
The Ukraine fighter sent Hatton into retirement for the second time in his career after the British fighter announced his retirement following his brutal 2nd round knockout at the hands of Pacquiao on May 2, 2009.
Also considered a leading prospect for Pacquiao is undefeated welterweight Jessie Vargas who has a record 9 knockouts in 22 wins.
Vargas, a 2008 Mexican Olympian is a protégé of Floyd Mayweather Jr.