Bob Arum believes Manny Pacquiao 'wants to return'

Combat columnist
Bob Arum, left, and Manny Pacquiao (Getty Images)
Bob Arum, left, and Manny Pacquiao (Getty Images)

In April, Manny Pacquiao announced his retirement from boxing after a win over Timothy Bradley.

It was the apparent end to a Hall of Fame-worthy career in which he won or was widely recognized as a world champion in eight weight classes, and in which he was the linear champion in five classes.

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He walked away from the sport that made him rich and famous with a 58-6-2 record and 38 knockouts. He was among the biggest draws of his era.

In May, he was elected to a seat in the Filipino Senate.

He was inaugurated on June 21, which is around the same time that his long-time promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, reserved the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas for an Oct. 15 pay-per-view fight.

BoxingScene reported last week that Pacquiao might fight Adrien Broner later this year.

Arum told Yahoo Sports that he reserved the arena just in case Pacquiao wants to fight again.

“I’m not sure Manny is going to return, but I believe he wants to return,” Arum said. “The question is, can he return and yet fulfill his duties as a senator in the Philippines? I don’t think even he knows that answer yet, because he’s just taken office. But I know for a fact, based on our conversations, that if he can, he is prepared to come back, and Broner is one guy we’re considering.”

A Pacquiao-Broner fight would be a solid pay-per-view match, if it were made. Both men are offensive fighters and there would be the expectation that one would be knocked out.

Broner also appeals to a similar demographic as Floyd Mayweather, albeit on a much smaller scale. But many of those Mayweather fans who rooted him on to victory against Pacquiao would probably be inclined to buy a Pacquiao-Broner fight with the expectation that Broner would take him out.

By reserving Mandalay Bay, Arum gives the fight a potential home if Pacquiao decides he can fight and wants to do so. It also will create a demand for tickets, because like the other major Las Vegas venues for boxing, the MGM Grand Garden and T-Mobile Arena, it holds far fewer people.

Mandalay Bay’s boxing capacity is roughly 11,000, compared to about 16,000 for the MGM and just under 20,000 for T-Mobile.

It’s all conjecture, though, until Arum hears from Pacquiao, which would have to come relatively soon in order to be able to promote the fight. And that may be the reason it does not happen. Pacquiao would need at least eight weeks to train, so say August and September for an Oct. 15 fight.

That would mean if the fight were made, they’d need to do early press conferences and a press tour in late July. Since Top Rank already has a pay-per-view set for July 23 in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand featuring Bud Crawford and Viktor Postol in a super lightweight unification bout, that would be a great time to have a potential Pacquiao-Broner news conference with much of the media in town.

That gives Pacquiao a few weeks to get a feel for his new job and whether or not he’ll be able to take time off needed to train and compete.

It seems unlikely, but there is at least somewhat of a chance it happens.

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