NEW YORK — RingTV.com was on hand during a Wednesday interview with Top Rank CEO Bob Arum at The Kingsway Gym, where the promoter was hyping Saturday night’s HBO-televised triple-header featuring WBO featherweight titleholder Orlando Salido defending against Mikey Garcia at The Theatre in Madison Square Garden.
Arum addressed a number of topics, most notably the potential fifth bout between Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao, the latter of whom was 2-0-1 against Marquez prior to being knocked out in the sixth-round of their welterweight bout in December.
Arum said Pacquiao could return against Marquez in Macau or Singapore, or even Mexico City, Marquez’s home turf.
Arum dismissed Pacquiao’s home country, the Phillipines, as a potential site because he said its economy won’t support the high price required for tickets to a fight of this magnitude. Arum also dismissed the notion that Marquez received a $15 million offer to fight in Dubai.
RING junior featherweight champion Nonito Donaire, WBC counterpart Abner Mares and WBA 122-pound beltholder Guillermo Rigondeaux were all on Arum’s mind as well. Arum promotes Donaire and Rigondeaux, while Mares is handled by Golden Boy.
Arum said WBO welterweight beltholder Tim Bradley is set to return on March 16 after having beaten Pacquiao by split-decision in June. The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., is a possible venue.
Arum also talked about the potential for a March 30 return bout between former lightweight titleholder Brandon Rios and Mike Alvarado, the latter of whom was knocked out in the seventh round of a bloody Fight-of-The-Year-caliber clash in October.
Below are some of the subjects touched on by Arum.
On Pacquiao’s return:
“Manny was going to fight in April, but now, it doesn’t look like he is going to fight in April. He won’t fight until September. They wanted Manny very desperately in Macau, but Macau has one arena that’s suitable, and that’s in the Venetian.
“Unfortunately, it is booked for the month of April. Well you could say, ‘Why not May?’ Well, Manny’s running into politics at that time. The elections are in May. Now he’s running unopposed.
“But his brother is running for congress, his wife is running for vice governor. So Manny is now presently building a dynasty. Todd duBoef went over to Macau to arrange for a Pacquiao fight in April, and, unfortunately, a Korean pop star had signed a contract for the building for most of April.
“Pacquiao says that it has to be in April, because then, there is the election campaign, and then we’re looking at September.”
On the potential for Marquez-Pacquiao V:
“That’s what we’re hoping to do. Marquez has to decide whether he’s going to continue fighting or not, but I think that he will, and we’ll hopefully be able to put that together for September.
“Hopefully, with Marquez, we’ll wait and do a real good six-month promotion on a Pacquiao-Marquez fight. But I haven’t cleared it with either guy, and we’re working on that.”
On Marquez’s purse:
“Marquez made his career-high pay day the last time, and he knocked out Pacquiao, so he’s not going to get less than he got the last time.”
On the rumors of Marquez’s potential retirement:
“That’s not a negotiating ploy. If you’re Marquez, and he’s a real proud guy who, unlike a lot of fighters, saved his money. So, he’s got a university degree in accounting.
“He’s a real smart kid, and he might say, ‘Hey, am I better off in my future having my last fight as a knockout over Pacquiao,’ than grab some more money to risk that legacy by fighting Pacquiao again.
“I think that’s what’s going through his mind. Not negotiating. The kid knows how to negotiate without threatening that.”
On promoting Marquez-Pacquiao V:
“Just show the clip. That’s got to be the greatest clip in the world, when he knocks Pacquiao out, and [Mitt] Romney’s [at ringside] mouth goes open, what else are you going to do? That’s going to be the commercial.”
On where Marquez-Pacquiao V would happen:
“Pacquiao doesn’t want to fight in the United States because he’d have to give close to 40 percent [in taxes] to the government.
“As far as Manny is concerned, and, Marquez, they would prefer for the fight not to be in the United States. That’s what happens when you raise taxes and you say, ‘Well, let the rich pay, and so forth.’
“We made a good faith effort to make a fight in either Macau or Singapore. I know that they’re [messing] around with Dubai, but I don’t think anything is going to happen there.
“Mexico City has a beautiful arena in Mexico City. It’s bigger than the MGM. Holds about 18,000. It’s a state-of-the-art facility. They just built it.
“And I was there. It’s in a great area of Mexico City. We did a press conference there. It’s a safe area, and the hotels around there are very safe.”
On why Marquez-Pacquiao V won’t happen in the Philippines:
“You can’t do a fight like this in the Philippines because, first of all, you would have to do it on a Sunday morning for Saturday night in the United States.
“And people aren’t going to pay the prices that they would pay in Vegas. In Mexico City, which has a very affluent group, and the ability to get the fight subsidized by the government, it’s a possibility.
“That’s why Macau is a good possibility. They had a UFC fight in Macau, and they had like 6,000 people attend the fight.
“The Casino reported that they did an extra $28 million in business from what they would have done without the fight. So they want these fights.”
On Tim Bradley’s likely return on March 16:
“The matchmakers are working on a sensational opponent. That fight is being negotiated, and hopefully, that will all fall into place.
“Once it’s announced, people are going to say, ‘Wow, I can’t wait to see the fight.’ But I’m not telling you who he is fighting.”
On Nonito Donaire’s popularity:
“Nonito won the consensus Fighter of The Year, but he certainly hasn’t become the draw that Manny is. Hopefully, he will be. There are a couple of great super bantamweights out there who would make good matches for him.
“The Cuban, Rigondeaux, is a great possibility. Abner Mares, the Mexican kid who fights out of California is another big opponent. And then, Nonito will probably go up in weight.
“Who knows where it will all lead, but Nonito has done extraordinarily well. He had a great 2012, and hopefully, 2013 will be even better.”
“Unfortunately, he’s not even close [to Pacquiao’s popularity.] He’s a good boy and a good kid, and he’s Fighter of The Year for the last year.
“But for me to say that he was anywhere near Pacquiao’s level in the hearts of the Filipinos would be just not correct.”
“We’d like to get that fight done. I know that I’ve been contacted by Mares’ manager, Frank Espinoza, and he’s trying to work out a deal with Golden Boy to free up Mares.
“We will see [Donaire] again hopefully in April. If we can free up Mares, that would be a good fight. If we can’t, then probably Rigondeaux.”
On what it would take to increase the popularity of Rigondeaux:
“The only way to make Rigondeaux a household name is if Fidel [Castro] came over and co-promoted with me.”
On Brandon the Rios-Alvarado rematch slated for March 30:
“We’re looking at March 30 at the Mandalay Bay. It will be him squaring off against Mike Alvarado for a rematch. That’s a fight that the fans all want to see.
“It was great. And then, we’ll see. There are a lot of 140-pounders out there that Rios can fight if he’s successful against Alvarado.
“Their first fight was at Home Depot in Los Angeles, and everybody just held their breath throughout that fight. They never stopped hitting each other.
“First, you thought one guy was going to win, and then the other. It was a great, great fight, and the fans appreciated it.
ORLANDO SALIDO ONCE SPARRED WITH ROBERT GARCIA
Before he retired, Robert Garcia, who trains younger brother Mikey with their father, Eduardo, used Salido as a sparring partner prior to his final fight — a fourth-round knockout of John Tigg in September of 2001.
“I used him a couple of times when I was fighting,” said Garcia, a former IBF junior lightweight titleholder who went 34-3 with 25 knockouts. “I know for a fact that I used him for my last fight before I retired. It’s intersting, isn’t it?”
Photos by Chris Farina
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photos by Chris Farina
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com