The stage is almost set for Sen. Manny Pacquiao’s next fight either on Oct. 29 or Nov. 5 in Las Vegas.
Top Rank chief Bob Arum told Manila Bulletin yesterday that they are looking at three names as possible foes: Terence Crawford, Danny Garcia, and Jessie Vargas.
The venues being eyed are the MGM Grand (16,800 seats), Mandalay Bay (12,000), the T-Mobile Arena (20,000) and even Thomas and Mack Center (18,000).
Only the choice of opponent and the arena need to be finalized, according to Arum.
“I hope to get things done in a week or so,” said the 84-year-old Hall of Fame promoter, noting that owing to Pacquiao’s job as senator, he has decided to do away with the obligatory press tour that normally takes a week to do.
Instead of traveling to multiple cities to drumbeat the event, Arum will only mandate Pacquiao to stay for a maximum of three days “for the kickoff press conference in Los Angeles.”
“We’ll just do satellite interviews (when he’s here),” said Arum, who has Pacquiao under contract since 2005.
Pacquiao, whose last fight was a masterful beating of Tim Bradley last April at the MGM Grand, corrected Arum’s pronouncements that he will take a leave of absence from his legislative duties so he can train.
“There is no truth to media reports that I’m planning to take a leave from my Senate duties just to fight again,” the neophyte senator said in a statement. “I want to make it clear that my priority is my legislative work.”
But Pacquiao, who turns 38 on Dec. 17, admits that in the event he fights again, “I’ll make sure it will not interfere with my Senate duties.”
“If ever I decide to fight again, rest assured it will happen when Congress is on recess so there’s no need for me to go on leave and the entire training camp will be done in the Philippines to ensure I can attend sessions.”
During the campaign, Pacquiao promised to be present in all Senate sessions should he win. “I owe it to the people,” he stressed.
Pacquiao announced during the third Bradley brawl that he was hanging his gloves in retirement to focus on his new job as a lawmaker. His statement, though wasn’t taken seriously.
In his statement, Pacquiao seemed to beg for understanding in his change of heart. “Boxing is my only means of livelihood to support my family and to help those who are in need. Politics to me is a vocation, not a means to eke out a living.”
Arum had earlier penciled an Oct. 15 date for Pacquiao to see action at the Mandalay Bay but the date would come at a time when the Senate would be deliberating on key budget issues, forcing the Harvard-educated lawyer to make a postponement.
Under Arum’s plans, Pacquiao will spend five to six weeks in the Philippines with long-time trainer Freddie Roach before heading to Los Angeles for the final push.
Crawford (28-0 with 20 KOs) and Vargas (28-1 with 10 KOs) are under Arum’s promotional banner, while Garcia (32-0 with 18 KOs) is under Al Haymon, the man behind Floyd Mayweather.
Comebacks are not exactly unheard of in boxing.
Those who have retired and had a change of heart include the late Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard, Roberto Duran and even Mayweather.
Courtesy of Nick Giongco of the Manila Bulletin. Follow Nick on Twitter @NickSpeaks