By Ronnie Nathanielsz
Ring Magazine featherweight champion Manny Pacquiao’s business manager Rod Nazario and international promoter Murad Muhammad said on their arrival last Saturday morning that Pacquiao will fight as scheduled on December 4 against WBC Intercontinental champion Gairy St. Clair of Australia and then take on WBA/IBF champion Juan Manuel Marquez in a rematch in February in the US, despite what Murad referred to as “all this confusion, these innuendos and accusations” coming out in the media. They disclosed that if Pacquiao beats Marquez and Erik Morales defeats Marco Antonio Barrera in their third encounter on November 27, then Pacquiao will clash with Morales in a super showdown later next year.
In an exclusive interview with Viva Sports/Manila Standard on their arrival aboard a Philippine Airlines flight at 4:30 a.m. Saturday, Murad said “we need to sit down and talk to Manny Pacquiao” and stressed that the southpaw from General Santos City should “stop listening to people whispering in his ears, people who have no competence and have done nothing at this level.” Murad said Pacquiao needs to “stay focused” on the fight scheduled for December 4 in Manila. Murad said “hopefully we can close this deal and announce early this week that the fight is on and cut out all this stuff that’s been happening.” Murad said Nazario had told the investors that he (Murad) “is my exclusive promoter and I’m not going in without my promoter.”
Murad who helped Pacquiao get his first big break by arranging a world title fight with IBF super bantamweight champion Lelohonolo Ledwaba and then setting up the blockbuster battle with legendary featherweight Marco Antonio Barrera disclosed that the investors group was “confused” pointing out that “while we are negotiating with them, then all of a sudden you get this bad press saying that Manny is not going to fight, I’m fired and all sorts of crazy things that don’t even exist. Hopefully we can straighten this out when Rod (Nazario) can talk some sense into him (Pacquiao.)” Murad advised Pacquiao “not to worry about when the fight is on, leave this to us, you’re gonna fight this year.” However, Murad said that when Pacquiao got to Los Angeles last month “the snakes began whispering in his ear that he didn’t have a fight. He comes home and realizes he does have a fight.”
Nazario disclosed that Pacquiao had “agreed that he’ll be back in LA on October 22 nd or 23 rd ” so they could see Z “The Dream” Gorres in his US debut against a Mexican in San Diego, California on October 28 and Philippine super featherweight champion Bobby Pacquiao in his first fight against a foreigner on November 12 against Mexican Carlo Sotto in Montecello, also in California. Both Nazario and Murad said Gorres was impressive in a sparring session with world-rated flyweight contender and former US Olympian, undefeated Brian Viloria. Nazario said Gorres ”bloodied the nose of Viloria in a one-sided sparring session” even as he revealed that trainer Freddie Roach “likes Gorres better than Bobby (Pacquiao), believe me.” Both Gorres and Pacquiao, the younger brother of Manny, will see action on the undercard of the Pacquiao-Gairy St. Clair fight in December.