By Keith Idec
Manny Pacquiao told the Manila Times on Thursday that his company, MP Promotions, will put on his June 24 fight against Lucas Matthysse at an undetermined venue in Malaysia.
The Filipino icon also told the newspaper for a story posted to its website that the deal to challenge Argentina’s Matthysse (39-4, 36 KOs, 1 NC) for his WBA welterweight title has been finalized.
“It’s already final,” Pacquiao said. “I’m going to fight in Malaysia on June 24. It is against Matthysse. I’ll be ready for the preparation and it’s going to be 11 weeks.”
Pacquiao (59-7-2, 38 KOs) didn’t mention longtime promoter Top Rank’s involvement in the promotion. The story states that Pacquiao’s promotional pact with Bob Arum’s company has expired, though that wasn’t attributed to Pacquiao.
“That’s not true,” Arum told BoxingScene.com on Thursday.
Arum confirmed that it’s possible Pacquiao will meet Matthysse on June 24 in Malaysia (June 23 in the United States). The Hall-of-Fame promoter noted, though, that it’s also possible Pacquiao could fight Jose Ramirez if Ramirez beats Amir Imam for the WBC super lightweight title March 17 in The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Ramirez is promoted by Top Rank.
“They’re hoping to do a deal in Malaysia,” Arum said, referring to Pacquiao and his handlers in the Philippines. “I haven’t been handling that deal. They’ve been handling that deal themselves. Hopefully the money, in the form of a deposit, turns up. Matthysse is one of the guys that Manny is thinking about fighting. There are others. For example, if Jose Ramirez wins the 140-pound title Manny might fight him for that title. That part is up in the air.
“The Malaysia part is up in the air. I don’t know these Malaysian people. If they put up the money, it’ll happen, happily. But do I know whether the money will be put up? No, I don’t. It’s as simple as that. It’s exactly like usual. The only difference is the action has now moved from the Mideast to Asia. It used to be the Mideast. How many stories were there about [investors in] Abu Dhabi, about Dubai, about Saudi Arabia?”
While skeptical due his previous experiences with supposed foreign investors, Arum added, “There is some substance to it. It is not something to be completely discarded as ridiculous, because it might come to fruition.”
Arum offered Pacquiao an April 14 fight against Mike Alvarado, which would’ve been packaged with the Terence Crawford-Jeff Horn welterweight title fight as part of an ESPN Pay-Per-View card at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The 39-year-old Pacquiao turned down that bout, reportedly because he was insulted that Arum wanted him to fight on the Crawford-Horn undercard.
Australia’s Horn (18-0-1, 12 KOs) upset Pacquiao thanks a controversial unanimous decision and won the WBO 147-pound championship from him July 2 in Brisbane, Horn’s hometown. Pacquiao hasn’t fought since losing to Horn.
Crawford (32-0, 23 KOs), of Omaha, Nebraska, is the mandatory challenger for Horn’s title.
Arum reiterated Thursday that Crawford-Horn still will take place April 14 at Mandalay Bay. He said an official announcement is imminent for a card that would be held five weeks from Saturday night.
Arum also explained Top Rank’s involvement if Pacquiao’s fight in Malaysia actually takes place.
“Golden Boy [Promotions] has a contract with Matthysse, but Golden Boy has been told that it would a provision of service agreement for Matthysse [to fight Pacquiao],” Arum said. “They would just be supplying the fighter.
“Manny wants to be the promoter in Malaysia. We would handle the logistics there for them and we would handle worldwide television.”
If he fights in Malaysia, Pacquiao’s fight would be televised late Saturday night (June 23) in the United States.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.