NEW YORK — Eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao will challenge WBO welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley on April 12th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Top Rank announced on Saturday. Pacquiao-Bradley will be a rematch of the controversial 2012 fight that Bradley won in a highly disputed decision.
Posts Tagged ‘Bob Arum’
NEW YORK — Former unified junior welterweight titleholder Amir Khan — the leading candidate to face Floyd Mayweather next May — sat down with SI.com on Wednesday to discuss Mayweather, his pairing with Virgil Hunter and the criticism that his weak chin will prevent him from ever becoming an elite fighter again
SI.com: So, you are fighting Floyd Mayweather…
Amir Khan: That’s your first question, huh?
SI.com: Well why beat around the bush?
AK: Well it’s a fight I’d love to have. That’s what I’m supposed to say, right? Floyd is the best fighter out there and you would love to see how you fight against the best. I’m not going to shy away from that fight. Styles make fights and I know for a fact that I will do better than most of the guys that he has fought. I’ll beat him. My speed and movement will give Floyd problems. I’m not taking any time off. I know that’s a fight that will change my life. That’s why I’m so focused on winning it.
SI.com: What about the argument that you have not earned the fight?
AK: Well who else out there can give Floyd problems? No one. Danny Garcia? Floyd has fought many opponents like him. I have a style that has given him problems before. I’m an orthodox fighter who is quicker than him and faster than him. And if Floyd wants to be a global superstar, he has to fight me. It will make him popular in the UK and the Asia area.
With promoter Bob Arum announcing that Manny Pacquiao will return to the ring in April, let’s look at some of the potential opponents.
Floyd Mayweather – Even if the issues of network, financial split and drug testing could be worked out — and hitting the lottery three straight days is more likely than that — Mayweather and Pacquiao would still find reasons not to fight. These two are just destined to dance around each other. Moreover, making Mayweather-Pacquiao now — as I’ve noted on Twitter — would irritate as many fans as it pleased. It still would do big business, but it would be a fraction of the ridiculous numbers it would have done in 2010, when Mayweather and Pacquiao were at the top of the sport. Not that it matters. After a month or so of public sabre rattling, both sides will do what they always do. Move on. Probability of it happening: Very low.
Juan Manuel Marquez — If a Mayweather bout doesn’t happen, this is the fight Pacquiao’s team wants. Freddie Roach has noted on numerous occasions that before he was stopped, Pacquiao was boxing beautifully and likely would have stopped a battered Marquez in the later rounds. The future of this fight depends on Marquez, who at 40 and coming off a loss to Tim Bradley, may not be interested. But for those claiming Pacquiao-Marquez fatigue, remember this: Every round of their first four fights was entertaining, and a fifth installment — perhaps in Mexico – would virtually guarantee more than one million pay-per-view buys. Probability of it happening: High.
Tim Bradley — Despite losing a controversial decision to Bradley last year, Pacquiao has little interest in a rematch. Perhaps it’s because most observers thought Pacquiao won a lopsided decision; perhaps it’s because the first fight was far from a financial success. Bradley has had a strong year, beating Ruslan Provodnikov in an entertaining slugfest and outpointing Marquez to bolster his résumé. And his willingness to trade haymakers with Provodnikov could make Bradley even more appealing. Still, it’s likely one or two opponents will have to fall out before Bradley gets a shot. Probability of it happening: Somewhat High.
Ruslan Provodnikov — After two fights this year, Provodnikov has established himself as a must-see attraction. Unheralded before his matchup with Bradley, Provodnikov rebounded from a close loss in that bout to pound Mike Alvarado and win a piece of the 140-pound title. An old-school slugger, Provodnikov has the ability to wear down any opponent who stands in front of him. Still, that Provodnikov is a stablemate of Pacquiao’s – both men are trained by Freddie Roach — could prove an obstacle to any deal. And HBO may want to build Provodnikov up even further in fights with Rios, Bradley or Marquez, whom Provodnikov has campaigned for a fight against on Twitter. Probability of it happening: Medium.
Miguel Cotto — In 2009, in one of his finest performances, Pacquiao stopped Cotto in 12 rounds. Since then Cotto has moved up to junior middleweight and established himself as one of the best in the division. A rematch is certainly possible, but Cotto has shown little interest in dropping below 154 anymore and Pacquiao prefers to fight at 147. In addition, Cotto is now trained by Roach, who has publicly stated that it is unlikely the two will fight again. Probability of it happening: Low.
Sergio Martinez – OK, so it’s not likely. But say Miguel Cotto elects to face Saul Alvarez next. And say Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. loses his rematch with Bryan Vera. And say Martinez, who at 38 is a big-purse hunter, was willing to drop to 155 pounds. Could a chance to win a middleweight title appeal to Pacquiao? Probably not. Then again, we never thought Pacquiao would get in the ring with Oscar De La Hoya, either. Probability of it happening: Very Low. — CHRIS MANNIX
Three thoughts on Timothy Bradley’s wildly entertaining win over Ruslan Provodnikov:
Who saw this coming?
Bradley, the defending champion who has spent his career competing against top competition, was a heavy favorite coming in against Provodnikov, a 140-pounder best known for being Manny Pacquiao’s sparring partner. But from the opening bell, it was clear this was no mismatch. Both Provodnikov and Bradley came out aggressive, but while Bradley landed the higher volume of punches, Provodnikov’s carried more steam behind them. Provodnikov had Bradley rocked multiple times in the first two rounds, including a shot in the first that appeared to knock Bradley down, to the point where he stumbled twice just trying to get up. Referee Pat Russell ruled it a slip, and Bradley recovered to control the action until the 12th round, when an aggressive Provodnikov swarmed him with power punches and put him down with less than 20 seconds to go. The final scores (114-113, twice, and 115-12) were right, given that judges are handcuffed by what the referee calls. But if Russell had ruled a first-round knockdown, the fight would have been scored a draw.
LAS VEGAS — One of the biggest potential fights in 2013 — no, not Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, sorry — is a super bantamweight showdown between Nonito Donaire and Abner Mares, who for the last two years have been steamrolling through the 118- and 122-pound divisions.
The problem with making Donaire-Mares? The usual: Top Rank (which promotes Donaire) and Golden Boy (which promotes Mares) don’t get along.
Top Rank’s Bob Arum’s solution is simple: Let us do the fight, and get out of the way.
“They can have input into the promotion,” Arum said. “We wouldn’t look to put the fight in Manila. We would give them the ability to veto a site. And they could participate in the rules meeting. But they can’t run the business. We have built Donaire up. We have put an effort into it. We have companies that have committed to Donaire like Tecate, TV Azteca, HBO. If we are talking just about money, I’m sure we can come to a solution.”
That idea, as expected, doesn’t sit well with Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer.
“The first thing is Bob should not be disrespectful,” Schaefer said. “Just because he has been [promoting] for so long, he doesn’t have that right. You need to approach this in a professional way. The silly notion of just paying [us] money and then they do it, why should we be disrespected like that?”
“I think it’s important to maximize the money for the fighters. They deserve it. I do think there are some issues that I acknowledge, Bob is right. HBO invested a lot of money in Donaire and it’s not right for HBO to not have a big Donaire fight. But Mares was built by Showtime. All of his big fights were there. They invested substantially more than HBO did in Donaire, so it’s not really right for Showtime not to have the fight either.”
Schaefer’s solution: Have both sides put an offer in an envelope, and the side with the biggest offer gets to promote the fight.
“Let’s say both sides agree on a split,” Schaefer said. “Let’s say for argument’s sake it’s 50-50. Then let Arum go to the people he works with, TV Azteca, Tecate, HBO, the Filipino TV, go and talk to them and get their best offer. I’m going to do the same with Corona, with Showtime, with Televisa in Mexico and let’s see who can get more money? He puts his number in a sealed envelope, I put mine in a sealed envelope and whoever has the bigger number wins. My side can’t blame me, and Bob’s side can’t blame him.”
“That doesn’t mean whoever has the smaller number doesn’t get their logo or their tickets or their press conference. This is not about disrespecting one another. If you want to really get it done, you have to do what is fair.”
In an interview with SI.com, Arum didn’t sound the least bit interested, particularly when it came to doing a deal with Showtime, which has had a frosty relationship with Top Rank since Stephen Espinoza, an attorney who worked closely with Golden Boy, took over as the head of sports programming.
“If that’s the case, the fight can’t happen,” Arum said. “I’m not going to strain my loyalty [to sponsors and networks] for a fight that doesn’t mean that much to me. Donaire can fight anyone. I pay him three times what Mares makes. I get $6 million per year from Tecate. Am I going to jeopardize it for a f—ing Donaire-Mares fight?”
“Understand, the people who support us don’t want to hear about these kind of nuances. Donaire delivers for them. Would he fight Mares? Absolutely. But Mares doesn’t move the needle for us at all. We would fight him, but not to jeopardize our business. And why would I deliver any fight to Showtime that’s run by a guy who worked for Golden Boy, who won’t take our calls, who tries to humiliate us and does business only with one promoter? Why would I give him any kind of strength. This guy [Espinoza] is a bad guy. I don’t mind saying it to anybody. He is a bad, bad guy.”
In an email to SI.com, Espinoza expressed a strong interest in being a part of a Mares-Donaire fight.
“Mares vs. Donaire is a very attractive fight, and I’ve already made it clear that Showtime would bid very aggressively for that fight,” Espinoza said. “I am sure that Bob and Golden Boy will want to make sure that they generate the most money for their respective fighters and will not let anything as petty as personal feelings get in the way. Anything less would be a disservice to the sport, and more importantly, to the fighters.
“It’s ironic that Bob would say that I don’t take his calls. I’ve been at Showtime for just over a year, and I have not received a single phone call from Bob Arum during that time. With respect to his comments about me personally, they don’t even merit a response, other than to say that I have never left any real offer from Top Rank, or anyone else, without a reply. Bob knows that. And given Bob’s track record and reputation, being called a “bad guy” by him is a badge of honor.
“I am judged by the quality of the programming I acquire. Showtime has been televising high profile, exciting and competitive fights all year, and I am confident our subscribers are very pleased with the quality of Showtime boxing this year. We welcome all dialogue and proposals from Top Rank and all other promoters that fit within our programming strategy.”
With so many obstacles and neither side likely to relent, Donaire-Mares will likely suffer a familiar fate: Never happening.
– Chris Mannix
Manny Pacquiao made his seventh appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Wednesday ahead of his Dec. 8 fight with Juan Manuel Marquez. The highlight was a parody of HBO’s 24/7, which profiled Pacquiao’s three scuttled fights with Kimmel sidekick Guillermo Rodriguez. Look for cameos from Top Rank CEO Bob Arum, trainer Freddie Roach, ESPN personality Bernardo Osuna and longtime advisor Michael Koncz.
– SI.com staff
Manny Pacquiao fans may want to circle April 20 on next year’s calendar.
That’s the date Bob Arum has booked for Pacquiao’s next fight provided he gets past Juan Manuel Marquez on Dec. 8, when the longtime rivals meet for a fourth time.
“I have talked with Manny and we agreed to hold his fight on April 20,” Arum, who promotes Pacquiao, told the Manila Bulletin on Wednesday.
In August, Arum mentioned April 2013 as a potential target date for Pacquiao’s long-awaited showdown with Floyd Mayweather.
– SI.com staff
Timothy Bradley will defend the WBO welterweight title he won from Manny Pacquiao on Dec. 15 at Marlins Park in Miami.
While an opponent has yet to be officially signed for the HBO-televised fight, former welterweight titleholder Andre Berto has emerged as the most probable candidate.
“We’re trying to lock in Berto,” Top Rank vice president Carl Moretti told SI.com on Friday. “HBO is working on it right now. If all things come together over the next couple days that’s what we’re looking at.”
Bradley (29-0-0, 12 KOs), currently No. 8 in SI.com’s pound-for-pound ratings, won a highly controversial split decision over Pacquiao on June 9 to capture the title. The Palm Springs, Calif., native has since recovered from injuries to his left foot and right ankle sustained in the fight.
“From a dates point of view it works out OK for him,” Moretti said.
Berto (28-1-0, 22 KOs) won the WBC welterweight title with a technical knockout of Miguel Angel Rodriguez in June 2008, making five successful defenses before losing it to Victor Ortiz in April 2011. That bout was widely regarded as a Fight of the Year candidate, prompting a much-anticipated rematch scheduled for June 23 in Los Angeles.
But the Miami native tested positive for the steroid norandrosterone in May and was dropped from the card. Berto has since had his license reinstated by the California State Athletic Commission.
Interestingly, Bradley and Berto faced off previously at the 2003 National Golden Gloves championships in Las Vegas, where Berto earned a unanimous decision in the junior middleweight final to win a national title and place in the Olympic trials.
– Bryan Armen Graham
Some quick jabs …
• How much money did Miguel Cotto leave on the table when he passed on a rematch with Manny Pacquiao? According to Bob Arum, a lot. Arum said Cotto’s guarantee for a Dec. 1 date with Pacquiao would have been around $13 million, with the possibility of going as high as $15 million if the pay-per-view numbers were strong. Instead, Cotto will settle for significantly less in a fight with unknown junior middleweight Austin Trout while Arum signed Juan Manuel Marquez for a fourth fight with Pacquiao by guaranteeing just $6 million.
• HBO was thrilled with the rating it got for the heavily promoted Sept. 8 showdown between Andre Ward and Chad Dawson. According to the Neilsen numbers, Ward-Dawson attracted 1.3 million viewers, the sixth straight World Championship Boxing telecast exceeding 1 million viewers for HBO.
• Here’s my one and only thought on the proposed partnership between Manny Pacquiao and 50 Cent: I’ll believe it when I see it.
• I’m fully expecting a rematch between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez to take place early next year. Chavez Jr. wants it and Martinez isn’t going to sniff that much money against anyone else. Hopefully Chavez will take his training a little more seriously next time. He has the talent to beat Martinez but he has to be in peak condition both mentally and physically if he expects to have a shot against a fighter as fast and skilled as Martinez.
• At 33, comebacking Ricky Hatton probably has one more big fight left in him. And perhaps the biggest one of his career could be out there: Amir Khan. They haven’t invented a word for how big Hatton-Khan could be in England and after a tune-up or two both could be ready for it.
• Little tired of strength coach Alex Ariza taking to Twitter and passive aggressively implying that a fighter would have done better had he been more involved. In the aftermath of Chavez’s loss to Martinez, Ariza, who had reduced role in Chavez’s camp this time around, in a Q&A with his followers, suggested that Chavez would have performed better had he followed his diet and that Chavez was “not in my kind of shape.” It’s not the first time Ariza has done this and it’s getting a little old.
• Arum says he plans on bringing welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley back in December. Possible opponents include Ruslan Provodnikov, Zab Judah, Lamont Peterson and Robert Guerrero. Guerrero is under contract with archrival Golden Boy but Arum told a handful of reporters last week that Bradley-Guerrero was a fight he would really like to make.
• Hasim Rahman, who held the WBC heavyweight title for a year between 2005 and ’06, is getting another crack at a world title. Rahman, 39, will travel to Germany to take on Alexander Povetkin on Sept. 29 in a fight that will be televised in the U.S. on Epix.
• Predictably, the Adrien Broner-Antonio DeMarco negotiations are progressing slowly. Broner, who is represented by influential and divisive manager Al Haymon, wants the lion’s share of the money and DeMarco isn’t willing to give it to him. Like I’ve said before: Fight each other or don’t fight anyone else in your weight class on premium TV.
• How much did it cost 50 Cent to pry Yuri Gamboa away from Top Rank? That would be $1.2 million. From what I hear from Top Rank officials, that’s just about how much the company invested in Gamboa.
• The always entertaining Gabriel Rosado (20-5) is back in action on Friday night, when he headlines the next installment of NBC Sports Network’s Fight Night series against Charles Whittaker (38-12-2). This is a big fight for Rosado: If he wins, he becomes the No. 1 contender for the IBF junior middleweight title held by Cornelius Bundrage.
• While we all wait (and wait, and wait) for Pacquiao-Mayweather, it’s clear Arum is setting up the winner of next month’s junior welterweight fight between Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado as the next opponent for Pacquiao. Rios-Alvarado is expected to be a war, which should give the winner a nice bounce going into a Pacquiao fight.
• Showtime has to be pleased with the numbers for Saul Alvarez-Josesito Lopez on Saturday. According to Neilsen ratings, Alvarez-Lopez attracted 1.04 million viewers. Still, that’s a 42 percent drop from Alvarez’s HBO-televised fight against Kermit Cintron in November 2011, which drew 1.47 million viewers.
• Amir Khan is reportedly set to name Virgil Hunter, best known for training super middleweight champion Andre Ward, as his new coach. That’s a good call. Hunter has a brilliant boxing mind who believes hit-and-don’t-get-hit is the only philosophy a fighter should live by. For a shaky-chinned fighter like Khan, that’s the best kind of trainer.
• Speaking of Ward, cross Mikkel Kessler off the list of potential next opponents. Ward had expressed interest in a rematch with Kessler — whom he picked apart over 11 lopsided rounds in 2009 — but Kessler elected to face 37-year old Brian Magee, who owns a minor super middleweight title. It’s just as well: Ward-Kessler would have created no buzz in the United States.
• Last week, Arum spent a lot of time talking to reporters about junior middleweight prospect John Jackson, even going as far as to say Jackson would get a televised slot on the Pacquiao pay-per-view telecast. But on Saturday, Jackson (13-1) ran into another pretty good prospect, the Jack Loew-trained Willie Nelson (19-1-1), who beat him in a close decision. Jackson still has potential and a lot of power (12 knockouts) but needs to polish his game so he can out box fighters he can’t knock out.
– Chris Mannix
LAS VEGAS — Former welterweight titleholder Manny Pacquiao will continue his historic rivalry with Juan Manuel Marquez when the two meet for the fourth time on Dec. 8 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, an industry source confirmed to SI.com.
The Los Angeles Times first reported the deal had been completed.
Pacquiao initially wanted to face Miguel Cotto, who he knocked out in a thrilling fight in 2009. However, Cotto declined Top Rank’s offer, choosing instead to face 154-pound titleholder Austin Trout. Over the last week Pacquiao had been considering two possible opponents: Marquez and Timothy Bradley, who beat Pacquiao in a controversial decision last June. Ultimately, the decision came down to money: Pacquiao-Bradley generated an estimated 920,000 while Pacquiao-Marquez III generated 1.25 million.
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum confirmed that Pacquiao would return to the ring on Dec. 8 but declined to specify the opponent.
“We reached an agreement,” Arum said. “It’s being drawn up now. As far as who he will be fighting that will be announced on Tuesday. But everything is done, finished.”
Arum hinted that Bradley — who is also under contract with Top Rank — will return to the ring on Nov. 10.
Arum refuted speculation that Pacquiao was considering taking the rest of the year off.
“Not even a remote [possibility],” Arum said.
Marquez is expected to be in Las Vegas this weekend to work as an analyst for the international broadcast off Saturday night’s middleweight title fight between Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez.
– Chris Mannix