Manny Pacquiao puts on ‘true poker face’ regarding Nov. 10 opponent, promoter says

Kevin Iole
Boxing Experts Blog

Promoter Bob Arum met with former welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao in Los Angeles on Monday and said the only news of substance to come out of the meeting is that Pacquiao will fight next on Nov. 10.

Whether that's a rematch with either Timothy Bradley, Juan Manuel Marquez or Miguel Cotto, or a bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. remains anybody's guess. Pacquiao lost the World Boxing Organization welterweight title in a highly controversial split decision to Bradley on June 9 in Las Vegas that prompted an international furor.

Arum said Pacquiao made it clear he wants to fight Mayweather, but Arum said he told Pacquiao it would be "most unlikely" a bout with Mayweather could be arranged for 2012. Mayweather is serving an 87-day sentence at the Clark County, Nev., Detention Center in Las Vegas and isn't expected to be released until Aug. 3.

Arum said he laid out the positives and negatives of fights with all three of the other men in a meeting that also included Pacquiao adviser Michael Koncz. Arum said Pacquiao showed no preference.

One boxing source on Thursday told Yahoo! Sports that it's 99 percent certain there will be a Pacquiao-Bradley rematch, but Arum said Pacquiao did not indicate that to him. Pacquiao and his wife, Jinkee, left on Tuesday for a vacation in Israel.

"He kept a true poker face," Arum said of Pacquiao. "I explained to him everything that is going on and what we thought, but he didn't give anything away. He just listened and took it all in."

If he goes by pay-per-view numbers, he'll pick Marquez. Pacquiao's fight with Marquez last year sold 1.3 million on pay-per-view, Arum said. He said the Pacquiao-Bradley fight did 900,000 sales, "maybe a little more."

Arum said closed circuit sales for Pacquiao-Bradley  were "tremendous, really good, encouraging," but he said the pay-per-view number didn't follow suit.

"It is what it is," Arum said of the Pacquiao-Bradley pay-per-view result. "Manny had a history with Marquez and Marquez had a huge fan base among the Hispanics. Bradley, nobody had heard of him before. We did the best promotion we could and the number that came back, came back.

"It's still a good number. Do you know how many people would love to do a pay-per-view like that?"

Arum heaped praise upon Bradley and said regardless of whether or not Pacquiao chooses to exercise a rematch clause, Top Rank has big plans for Bradley.

Pacquiao is still its big star, despite the result of the June 9 bout, but Arum insisted Top Rank had not and would not abandon Bradley.

"He's a lovely young man and he's a terrific fighter," Arum said. "We promote him, too, and we're going to do all we can to put him in the biggest fights possible and move his career along the best way we can. I'm not going to force Manny to fight him or anyone else. Who Manny fights is up to Manny. He's earned that right. But saying who Manny fights is up to him isn't any kind of an indication we think any less of Tim or that we'll do anything less than our best work for him."

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