By Edward Chaykovsky
Top Rank's CEO Bob Arum, who promotes Manny Pacquiao, says everyone is jumping the gun with articles claiming that his fighter will take on World Boxing Organization welterweight champion Jessie Vargas on November 5.
News of Pacquiao vs. Vargas exploded last week when Filipino boxer's manager Michael Koncz told the Los Angeles Times that his fighter had decided on Vargas and ruled out the possibility of facing WBC/WBO junior welterweight champion Terence Crawford.
Pacquiao (58-6-2) had announced his retirement after defeating Timothy Bradley in April and was elected to the Philippines' senate in May. Arum tweeted earlier this week that he would travel to the Philippines for a meeting on Aug. 10 to discuss the 37-year-old southpaw's return.
Last month, Crawford dominated Viktor Postol over twelve rounds to unify the WBO/WBC 140-pound titles at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. It was the first HBO Pay-Per-View headliner for Crawford and many felt it was a win that was going to springboard him to a Pacquiao meeting in the fall. Pacquiao and Postol share the same trainer in Freddie Roach.
Vargas (27-1) beat Sadam Ali in March to claim the WBO welterweight crown and has won 10 of his bouts via a knockout or stoppage, with his only defeat coming via a points loss to Bradley in June 2015.
“Not so fast [on Pacquiao-Vargas],” Arum told The Manila Times. “Everybody is jumping the gun about Manny fighting Jessie Vargas on November 5 after learning that there is a negotiation - but no agreement has been reached yet because I need to talk first to Manny when I go there in Manila. Crawford and Vargas are still the candidates.”
“Koncz’s statement only speak for himself and not Manny. The reason why I will go over there in the Philippines next week is to finalize Manny’s opponent.”
“I need to know what Manny wants.”