While there was plenty of action in the ring on Saturday night during Mike Alvarado’s unanimous decision over junior welterweight rival Brandon Rios to avenge October’s seventh-round knockout loss, there was also a lot going on at ringside, where Tim Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez were in attendance along with Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.
Bradley rose from a 12th-round knockdown to secure last month’s unanimous decision over Ruslan Provodnikov in defense of the WBO welterweight title he won by disputed split-decision in June over Manny Pacquiao.
In December, Pacquiao was knocked out in the sixth round in the Boxing Writers’ Association’s Fight-of-The-Year by Marquez, who was 0-2-1 against Pacquiao coming into that bout.
Prior to Alvarado’s victory over Rios, Arum had entertained the thought of matching the boxers — Marquez, Pacquiao, Bradley, Provodnikov and Rios if he had beaten Alvarado — in a sort of mini tournament.
Last last month, Pacquiao indicated to The Manila Standard that his “definite” plan is to return to the ring as early as September.
“Bob Arum and myself have been talking and will continue talking. What is definite is they’ll see me fight again come September. Not April nor immediately after that as speculations are going,” said Pacquiao, whose advisor, Michael Koncz, informed RingTV.com that Arum is targeting the boxer’s return for sites in Singapore or Macau.
“Tell the public that it won’t be long before I make them happy again when I fight. Tell them, too, that I appreciate very much their concern over my well-being when I lost by KO to Marquez and during the debate whether to fight in April. I treasure their concern and prayers that I recover quickly from my knockout loss. I want everyone to know that I am well and fully recovered. Thank you very much for everyone’s prayers.”
But during an interview with RingTV.com last month, Arum said that Marquez’s options did include a fifth bout with Pacquiao, one against Bradley or, again, Rios, had he defeated Alvarado.
Arum is in Mccau for Saturday night’s debut of Chinese junior flyweight Zou Shiming, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time world amateur champion, as part of an event that will also feature flyweight beltholder Brian Viloria defending his WBA and WBO titles against Juan Francisco Estrada.
The show headlined by Zou is taking place at The Venitian, which also has a venue in Singapore.
“I still have to meet with the Venetian people,” said Arum. “We’re sorting everything out now. We’re in discussions. We don’t have these fights set.”
TYSON FURY: ‘YOU CAN’T PUT THE KLITSCHKOS IN THE SAME CATEGORY AS ME’
A 6-foot-9 heavyweight from Manchester, England, Tyson Fury (20-0, 14 KOs) wants to stake his claim as the heir apparent to RING, IBF, WBA and WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko and his older brother, WBC titleholder Vitali Klitschko.
Fury, 24, will make his American debut against former two-time IBF cruiserweight titleholder Steve Cunningham (25-5, 12 KOs), of Philadelphia, on April 20 at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
“All of the top heavyweights in the world need Americans to watch them fight, and that’s why I’m making my U.S. pro debut in New York City for all Americans to see on national television. You can’t put the Klitschkos in the same category as me,” said Fury.
“Nobody outside of the Ukraine and Germany care anything about them. They fought a few times in America. I was supposed to fight in America a few times but they fell out for different reasons. We needed good television, a good arena, and good opponent. Now’s the right time. We have all that.”
Fury takes on Cunningham in an IBF eliminator for the right to face Wladimir Klitschko. In an event promoted by Main Events, Fury-Cunningham will be televised on NBC’s Fight Night at 4 p.m. ET.
Fury’s family has a history in boxing that dates back to the 1880’s bare-knuckle days of his great grandfather, Tiger Gorman, and his uncle, Bartley “King of the Bare Knuckles” Gorman.
Fury’s father, “Gypsy” John Fury, the man who named his son after Mike Tyson, was also a prizefighter in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.
“I am the Irish heavyweight champion, and there’s never been another like me. The Irish love real fighters like me who always say it like it is. I like to fight, and I’m looking forward to fighting in front of so many Irish fans in New York City and watching across the states on NBC,” said Fury.
“Cunningham is a good boxer and world champion who fought in different countries. He’s a small heavyweight who will come in with a good game plan and strategy. I anticipate him running, but sooner or later I will catch him and knock him out. If he runs, I hope the fans boo him out of the arena. He’s going to have to fight me. I’m coming to fight and put on a show.”
RICO RAMOS FACES OSCAR GONZALEZ ON APRIL 12
Former WBA beltholder Rico Ramos (21-2, 11 KOs), of Pico Rivera, Calif., will take on Mexico’s Oscar “Fantasma” Gonzalez (17-2, 13 KOs) in the featherweight main event of an April 12 broadcast of ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” from the Little Creek Casino Resort in Shelton, Wa.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com