Bob Arum pumps brakes on Manny Pacquiao’s next fight
Manny Pacquiao announced this week that he will be fighting a new opponent in June, but promoter Bob Arum isn’t so sure about that.
Pac-Man, who has not fought since losing to Jeff Horn in Australia last July, announced in the Philippines that he will be fighting Lucas Matthysse on June 24. The fight is set to take place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Arum is skeptical that the fight will materialize.
Arum, who leads Top Rank Promotions and is Pacquiao’s longtime promoter, told ESPN’s Dan Rafael that the fight hinges upon their Malaysian hosts coming up with the money for the fight. Arum says if they receive $5 million up front of the $15 million fee for the fight they’ve agreed upon, they will make it happen. However, he says that in past dealings with countries not known for hosting megafights, the money often does not show up.
What’s also interesting is that Rafael hinted at potential issues between Pacquiao and Arum, not to mention Freddie Roach. Rafael says there has been speculation that Pacquiao felt disrespected that Arum wanted him to be an undercard fight to Jeff Horn and Bud Crawford in April. Pacquiao was initially set to fight Mike Alvarado, but that fizzled out. Arum also says Pacquiao’s tax issues have led him to want to avoid fighting in the US.
As if potential friction between Pac-Man and Arum weren’t enough, Rafael says Roach had not heard from Pacquiao in a while and was unsure if the Filipino still wanted Roach to be his trainer. Roach said last July that he hadn’t been paid by Pacquiao for the Horn fight and thought Pacquiao could be mad at him.
Further complicating matters is that Matthysse is promoted by Golden Boy, which is Top Rank’s main rival. Pacquiao would be taking more control of his future by dictating a fight with Matthysse, for which Arum would not receive as much money as when he promotes both fighters involved in a bout.
Even at 59-7-2, the 39-year-old Pacquiao remains a big draw and popular fighter. It seems that he may be finally starting to break away from Arum incrementally and dictating his future.