By Keith Idec
Bob Arum claims Manny Pacquiao’s tax debt won’t prevent him from coming to the United States for his next fight.
Pacquiao, meanwhile, told the Los Angeles Times for a story posted to the newspaper’s website Sunday that he wants to return to the United States for his next bout. The 39-year-old Pacquiao hasn’t fought on American soil since the Filipino southpaw out-pointed Jessie Vargas by unanimous decision 20 months ago to win the WBO welterweight title.
Since that November 2016 fight at UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center, Pacquiao’s last two bouts have taken place overseas.
Jeff Horn upset him by unanimous decision to win the WBO welterweight title from Pacquiao last July 2 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane, Australia, Horn’s hometown. Pacquiao (60-7-2, 39 KOs) ended a one-year layoff Sunday, when he knocked out Argentina’s Lucas Matthysse (39-5, 36 KOs, 1 NC) in the seventh round to win the WBA world welterweight title at Axiata Arena in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
During the ESPN+ live stream of the Pacquiao-Matthysse match, it was reported that Pacquiao owes a whopping $20 million in taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. Arum assured the Los Angeles Times that Pacquiao’s tax debt isn’t nearly that large and Pacquiao’s longtime promoter predicted that it won’t prohibit him from coming to the United States for his next fight.
“They are working through that with the IRS,” Arum said, “and they’re optimistic they’ll have a resolution. It’s nowhere near [$20 million]. The hope is a plan can be worked out so he can fight [in the U.S.] and begin to pay off what his obligations are.”
The vast majority of Pacquiao’s fights since June 2001 have taken place in the United States.
Arum’s Top Rank Inc. didn’t promote the Pacquiao-Matthysse card, which was organized by Pacquiao’s MP Promotions. Top Rank helped distribute the live stream of the fight in the United States through its partnership with ESPN.
The two best boxers Top Rank promotes – WBO welterweight champ Terence Crawford and WBA lightweight champ Vasiliy Lomachenko – were among the potential opponents Pacquiao mentioned after producing his first knockout in nearly nine years against Matthysse.
Crawford (33-0, 24 KOs) is tentatively scheduled to make the first defense of the WBO welterweight title he won from Horn last month on October 13 in his hometown of Omaha, Nebraska. Arum told the Los Angeles Time that Crawford would skip that fight if an opportunity to finally face Pacquiao became available later this year.
“Crawford is the same size as Manny, too, coming up from 135,” Arum said, referring to Crawford’s lightweight days. “Crawford is not a big welterweight.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.