PACQUIAO'S NEXT FOE: FROM ALVARADO TO MATTHYSSE THEN RAMIREZ
By Maloney L. Samaco
11 Mar 2018
Manny Pacquiao announced that he will fight Lucas Matthysse for the WBA welterweight championship in Malaysia on June 24. “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 was quoted by The Manila Times.
The fighting senator did not tell if his longtime promoter Top Rank is included in the promotion of the event. The news item stated that Pacquiao’s contract with Bob Arum’s firm has expired.
“That’s not true,” Arum denied it in BoxingScene. He corroborated that a Pacquiao fight with Matthysse on June 24 in Malaysia (June 23 in the United States) is attainable. However, the veteran promoter announced that it’s also possible Pacquiao would face Jose Ramirez if Ramirez wins over 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, alluding to Pacquiao and his group. “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 Hall-of-Fame promoter would want the partners in Malaysia to show the money and recalled what happened in the Middle East. “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?”
Arum is doubtful because of his previous experiences with the presumed partner investors, but he added it could somehow be realized. “There is some substance to it. It is not something to be completely discarded as ridiculous, because it might come to fruition," he said.
Arum also explained Top Rank’s involvement if Pacquiao’s fight in Malaysia would happen. “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."
Arum said that Pacquiao wants to be the promoter in Malaysia. "We would handle the logistics there for them and we would handle worldwide television.” If the fight pushes through in Malaysia, it would be televised late Saturday night, that's June 23, in the United States.
Eric Gomez, the president of Golden Boy Promotions, which handles Matthysse, told ESPN that Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz had communicated him about a possible Pacquiao-Matthysse fight but expressed that they have not made a formal deal yet. "Michael Koncz reached out to me and all we did was talk and that's all I can say," stated Gomez. "We're interested in the fight. It's very preliminary."
Arum disclosed the group who is interested in organizing a Pacquiao match in Malaysia should put up $15 million with $5 million advance. "If the money comes up then I've agreed to sign on," Arum said. "We would handle the logistics, we would handle the undercard and we would handle the television. All they have to do is say they got the $5 million of the $15 million. That makes it legit. [But] I'm not booking my flight [to Malaysia] yet."
However, Pacquiao told the Manila Times that MP Promotions would handle these things, spreading speculation that all is not well between Pacquiao and Arum.
When Arum had offered Pacquiao a fight with the faded former titlist Alvarado as co-feature on the Terence Crawford versus Jeff Horn title fight, Pacquiao's camp said they were insulted by the offer of an undercard of a fighter most fans and experts thought he had defeated.
In addition to that, Pacquiao has big tax problems on the hundreds of millions of dollars he earned. According to Arum that would prevent him from fighting in the United States. "He's afraid whatever deal he makes with the IRS they'll seize all the money so he can't fight here," Arum said. "We thought we could work it out with the IRS."
A Pacquiao-Ramirez fight would be complicated for the reason that Freddie Roach trains both fighters, although Roach revealed that he has not heard from Pacquiao in quite some time and is unsure if Pacquiao still wanted him to be his trainer.
If Ramirez wins the title against Amir Imam for a vacant junior welterweight belt on March 17 and his next fight is finalized, Arum said Pacquiao would move down to junior welterweight, which he said "makes more sense" than a fight with Matthysse.
A Pacquiao-Ramirez fight would be complicated for the reason that Freddie Roach trains both fighters, although Roach revealed that he has not heard from Pacquiao in quite some time and is uncertain if Pacquiao still wanted him to be his trainer.
Pacquiao also announced a kickoff news conference for March 22 in Kuala Lumpur with succeeding promotional news conferences in Beijing, Tokyo, Macau and Hong Kong.
"I like [Matthysse's] aggressive fighting style," Pacquiao said in announcing the fight. "That's what I want, to entertain the boxing fans. Besides, Matthysse is not a dirty fighter and I highly respect him for that." These words were a direct hit on Horn, whom Pacquiao has accused of being a dirty fighter after he was cut by several head butts during their fight.
Pacquiao’s team has sent out press releases about a June 24 fight with Matthysse, and it specifically mentioned that “Restituto ‘Buboy’ Fernandez, Nonoy Neri and Roger ‘Haplas’ Fernandez will take charge once the training camp starts.
The statement also said that “Pacquiao will start his training in the middle of April in his own Wild Card Boxing Gym in General Santos City. Training will transfer to Manila from May 14 to June 1 then back to Gensan from June 2 until the second week of June.”
Whoever will be Pacquiao's next opponent, either Top Rank will be involved or not, and Roach will train him or not, we just hope he would win convincingly as the curtains' fall is near to end an incredible boxing career.
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