NEW YORK — Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said he expects to meet this week with four-division titlewinner Juan Manuel Marquez, WBO welterweight beltholder Tim Bradley and Michael Koncz, the advisor for Manny Pacquiao, with the goal of selecting a September opponent for Pacquiao by no later than Sunday.
Arum spoke to RingTV.com about the developments on Wendnesday at New York’s Madison Square Garden, where he was attending the final press conference for Saturday night’s HBO-televised clash at Radio City Music Hall between RING, IBF and WBO junior featherweight champion Nonito Donaire and WBA counterpart Guillermo Rigondeaux.
Bradley rose from a 12th-round knockdown to secure last month’s unanimous decision over Ruslan Provodnikov in defense of the title he won by disputed split-decision in June over Pacquiao.
In December, Pacquiao was knocked out by Marquez in the sixth round of the Boxing Writers’ Association’s Fight-of-The-Year.
Marquez is expected to be at the anual BWAA awards dinner on Thursday, as is Bradley, where Donaire and his trainer, Robert Garcia, are to be honored as Fighter of The Year and Trainer of The Year.
“Marquez is coming in for the Boxing writers’ dinner. I’ll talk further with him and I’ll talk further with Bradley. Michael Koncz is flying in as well,” said Arum.
“And we’ll have an opponent by the end of the week for Manny. I’m not going to negotiate in the media. They’re all my fighters, so I’ll talk to them privately, and then, we’ll come to a decision.”
Pacquiao has indicated to The Manila Standard that his “definite” plan is to return to the ring as early as September.
Bradley’s manager, Cameron Dunkin, said he spoke to Bradley about his future over a meal late last month.
“I met with Bradley the other night in Las Vegas with his wife, Monica, and we had a great lunch. We talked for a long time,” said Dunkin.
“We’re going to get together with [Top Rank President] Todd duBoef, and we’ll come up with something. But I would love to see him fight Pacquiao again. I love that fight.”
Asked if he would like to see Bradley against Marquez, Dunkin said, “I would go either way,” adding, “I like Timmy in both fights.”
“I would like him to fight Pacquiao again because I think that he could settle a lot of things that are inside of him in the rematch, because I think that he’ll beat him good this time.”
Arum mentioned the potential for Crawford to return to the ring on a card in July that will also include the first defense by Russian IBF featherweight beltholder Evgeny Gradovich against Mauricio Munoz of Argentina.
Arum also said that he expects RING and WBO featherweight champion Miguel Angel “Mikey” Garcia to appear on the same card as former WBC middleweight titleholder Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on June 22 in Texas, and that a possible opponent for Chavez is once-beaten Darren Barker.
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com