By Ronnie Nathanielsz
The world’s No.1 pound-for-pound fighter Manny Pacquiao has denied a story emanating from the publicity group that handles Shane Mosley that he had agreed to fight the reigning WBA welterweight champion on October 17.
The press release from the Entertainers and Athletes Group (AEG) which is associated with Mosley drew a caustic response from Pacquiao who said “It’s funny that I am the last man to know about this supposed fight. I know everyone wants to fight me and I have said I will fight anyone, including Mosley. But I have not heard from my promoter or have seen any contract or fight detail. So, there is no fight yet..”.
In a press release sent to us by Team Pacquiao member Winchell Campos, Pacquiao was quoted as saying he was “flattered that even the great “Sugar” Shane Mosley is now going after me by any means. I am not closing the door on any negotiations, though, and I trust my promotional and training team to make the best decision for me.”
In a joking vein the Filipino boxing hero said “For sure, my next match will be on June 18 to 21 and it will be against some of the best darters in the world.” Pacquiao, who is bankrolling the $100,000 “Pacmania II Darts Tournament” in Burbank , California said he had tried to invite Ricky Hatton to play a friendly match of darts with him complete with a prize fund, but indicated that “The Hitman” who was pulverized in two rounds last April was still on vacation, according to his handlers. Pacquiao expressed the hope that Hatton could make it “ so we can do a big side event.”
Campos reported that top darters from all over America and other countries have already signified their intention of joining the event, one of the biggest darts competitions in years. Pacquiao, an avid darter, will compete with the likes of Brad Wethington, Scott Kirchner, Rob Heckman, Chris White, Ray Carver, Scotty Burnett, Nico Depaynos and Gary Mawson, among others.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum hinted in a conversation with BoxingScene.com, insidesports.ph, Standard Today and Viva Sports that Pacquiao may wait until after the Floyd Mayweather Jr – Juan Manuel Marquez fight on July 18 before deciding on whom to fight. Arum said Pacquiao “may decide to wait and fight Mayweather” although Arum said a Mayweather victory over Marquez is not a cinch.
We have learned that Pacquiao himself is inclined to fight Mayweather next provided he agrees to an October 17 date or to wait until December.
Pacquiao is scheduled to leave for Los Angeles this week along with his family for a much-needed vacation. He will also fly out to New York to receive the 2008 Fighter of the Year award from the prestigious Boxing Writers Association of America on June 12 and attend the Miguel Cotto-Joshua Clottey Madison Square Garden fight the day after since Filipino Rodel Mayol, now managed by Pacquiao, will be in the undercard. He challenges WBO light flyweight champion Ivan Calderon.
According to Arum, Pacquiao is supposed to guest on the popular CBS Early Morning Show next Friday while Time Magazine has asked for a couple of hours with Pacquiao since they want to do a spread on the man Thai officials referred to as the “Hero of Asia.”
In his statement Pacquiao said “I am not blaming people for coming up with ideas to lure me to fight them. I have said it before and I will say it again, I will not run away from a great fight. Floyd Mayweather is even using reverse psychology, saying he will not agree to fight me for a 50-50 purse. Of course everyone wants to fight me.,”
“We will make the announcement at a proper time and a proper place after all the fight details have been discussed,” said the 30-year-old Pacquiao, a six-division champion who has won titles in the 112-pound flyweight division all the way to victories in other weight classes and over Oscar Dela Hoya at 147 pounds last December.