Lem Satterfield

Lem’s latest: Arum eyes Cotto-Chavez Jr., Martinez to meet with HBO

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If middleweight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. gets beyond next month’s defense of his WBC crown against Marco Antonio Rubio, he will look to face WBA junior middleweight titleholder Miguel Cotto next, as long as Cotto is not picked to face WBO welterweight beltholder Manny Pacquiao, Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum told RingTV.com on Thursday.

Chavez (44-0-1, 31 knockouts), of Mexico, will meet Rubio at the Alamodome on HBO on Feb. 4, and Cotto (37-2, 30 KOs), of Puerto Rico, is among four candidates being considered as an opponent for Pacquiao, along with WBA/WBO lightweight titleholder Juan Manuel Marquez, IBF/WBA junior welterweight beltwinner Lamont Peterson and WBO division counterpart Tim Bradley.

“We have to do what’s best for the fighters,” said Arum, who promotes Cotto and Chavez. “And for me, if Chavez is successful against Rubio, then the big fight for him — the big, big fight for him — is Miguel Cotto if Cotto is not fighting Manny.”

Arum’s assertion comes in the wake of Thursday’s announcement by the WBC which mandates that the winner of Chavez-Rubio face whoever wins the clash between RING middleweight champion Sergio Martinez. (48-2-2, 27 KOs) and Mathew Macklin that is slated for March 17 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

“We’ve sent a notification to the WBC requesting that they sanction the Chavez-Rubio fight. If they do, fine, if they don’t, fine, we’re not concerned,” said Arum. “I hope that the WBC sanctions that fight, but if they don’t, they don’t. It doesn’t matter anymore.”

MARQUEZ DISAPPOINTED IN WBA’S DECISION

In another development, Marquez is angry for having been stripped of his WBA belt for failure to defend it against a mandatory challenger within the past 18 months, according to BoxingScene.com.

“The time has not expired, I fought Michael Katsidis in November 2010. I will talk with my lawyers to take care of this. I am being treated unfairly,” said Marquez during an interview that was detailed in a separate story on BoxingScene.com.

“Because I’ve also paid fees for the last few fights that I’ve done and I haven’t been defending those titles. I want to make a fourth fight with Pacquiao or challenge for a [junior] welterweight title, and then defend the lightweight title that I have, but we are going to solve this in the coming days.”

WHO WILL PACQUIAO PICK?

Arum told RingTV.com that the selection process for Pacquiao’s next opponent will begin on or after January 10, when he and Pacquiao’s advisor, Michael Koncz., present the four candidates to the THE RING’s No. 1-pound-for-pound fighter in his native Philippines next week.

Pacquiao (54-3-2, 38 KOs) is coming off of his 15th straight win, November’s disputed majority decision over  Marquez (53-6-1, 39 KOs), whom he had battled through a draw and a split-decision victory in two prior meetings.

A southpaw whose run includes nine knockouts, Pacquiao dethroned Cotto by 12th-round stoppage in November of 2009 for his current WBO welterweight belt.

Bradley (28-0, 12 KOs) owns a unanimous decision victory over the 27-year-old Peterson (30-1-1, 15 KOs), against whom he successfully defended his WBO crown in December of 2009.

Since being dropped in the third round of his loss to Bradley, Peterson is 3-0-1 with two knockouts, and is coming off of last month’s title-winning split-decision over Amir Khan.

Asked who the frontruner is, Arum would not speculate.

“We don’t want to tip our hands so that Manny thinks that I’m pushing him in one direction or the other,” said Arum, who promotes Bradley, Cotto and Pacquiao.

“In other words, I really want to lay this out as judicially as I can, and put forth all of the plusses and minuses of each of the fights and the economic consequences and let Manny choose. He’s the guy that’s got to go into the ring.”

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