Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao will probably face Floyd Mayweather Jr. or another fighter in November, whether he wins or loses his bid for a seat in Congress in today’s Philippine election, promoter Bob Arum said.
“Regardless of what happens, if he wins or loses, we’re still planning on November,” Top Rank Inc.’s Arum said in an interview yesterday in General Santos City, Pacquiao’s home town. If the Mayweather bout doesn’t come off, Pacquiao will probably face Mexican Antonio Margarito “or somebody else,” Arum said.
A fight between Pacquiao, 31, holder of the World Boxing Organization welterweight title, and undefeated American Mayweather would be among the sport’s biggest draws, pairing two fighters ranked as the top two pound-for-pound boxers by The Ring magazine. Talks for the bout collapsed earlier this year when the two sides couldn’t agree on drug-testing procedures.
The 33-year-old Mayweather reiterated his demand for drug testing, after defeating Shane Mosley earlier this month.
“If Manny Pacquiao can take a blood and urine test then we have a fight,” Mayweather said May 2. “If not, no fight.”
Top Rank’s Arum said he would start negotiations for a Pacquiao-Mayweather fight as early as this week when he returns to the U.S. tomorrow. Arum flew to the Philippines last week to support Pacquiao’s bid in Sarangani province, where he is seeking his first victory as a politician.
Facts ‘Say No’
“Whether he can do it or not, I don’t know,” Arum said of Pacquiao’s chances in the polls. “The numbers say yes, but the facts on the ground say no; that they will do what they can to steal it from him.”
Pacquiao lost a 2007 bid to become a congressman in the South Cotabato province. That underscores the difficulty of dislodging incumbent political dynasties, even for a wealthy champion of the poor, in a country where the World Bank estimates one in four people live on less than $1.25 a day.
Pacquiao is running against Roy Chiongbian, brother of the retiring congressman, who describes his parents as “the father and mother” of the province.
Pacquiao can balance boxing and public office because his training period before a fight is only two months, Arum said.
“If he fights twice a year, that’s four months,” the promoter added. “His other eight months are completely free.”
If the “biggest boxing fight of all time” doesn’t eventuate, “it will be because of Mayweather, not Pacquiao,” Arum said. Pacquiao said last month that a fight against Mayweather is a “big possibility” and would be his last before retiring.
“The one thing he wants, that I want and all of us want, is to do this fight,” Arum said. “I hope when we sit with the Mayweather people, that they have a similar sense of where we are.”