NEW YORK — Manny Pacquiao is mulling over options for his next fight, with three names still in the running for the lucrative shot at boxing’s biggest box office attraction.
Pacquiao’s adviser, Michael Koncz, told The Associated Press on Friday that no decision has been made on the opponent, although the bout will likely be May 7. Former welterweight champion Shane Mosley, welterweight champ Andre Berto and lightweight champ Juan Manuel Marquez are the options and all have made financial proposals for the fight.
“The situation is now that the date has been confirmed, it’s May 7, more likely than not, the venue would be Las Vegas,” Koncz said. “But with regards to the actual opponent, all three of the guys named before are still live opponents.”
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum was in the Philippines to celebrate Pacquiao’s 32nd birthday on Friday, and was expected to present him with the options at that time. There were reports that Pacquiao might announce his opponent, but Koncz said that was untrue.
“It’s the holiday season, Manny’s birthday, Bob’s here. We had discussions about the fight but nothing was finalized,” Koncz said. “No rush.”
Mosley is considered the favorite to land the fight based on his name recognition. The former titleholder has been in the ring with everyone from Floyd Mayweather Jr. to Oscar De La Hoya, and could conceivably draw the most casual viewers to the fight.
Mosley also considers himself a promotional free agent, and Arum is against co-promotions.
Marquez may represent the most fan-friendly option after looking good in a victory over Michael Katsidis a few weeks ago. He’s met Pacquiao twice before, fighting to a 12-round draw in 2004 and losing a close split decision in March 2008, but both of those outcomes could have gone either way. Some observers even insist that Marquez won them both.
If the fight happens May 7, Marquez could provide an additional incentive. He’s from Mexico and the Cinco de Mayo weekend is traditionally a major drawing card for Latino fight fans.
Berto is the dark horse, and perhaps the most dangerous of the three. He looked sensational in a first-round knockout of Freddy Hernandez on the undercard of Marquez’s last fight, but he is not widely known among casual fans.
The one fighter who won’t be facing Pacquiao is Mayweather, with their two camps repeatedly having failed to give fans what could be the richest fight in boxing history.
The undefeated Mayweather was arrested late Thursday on a misdemeanor warrant for allegedly poking a security guard in the face outside his Las Vegas home. He was released on bail less than 12 hours later but is due back in court next week.
Mayweather, who made headlines in September with an expletive-filled online video directed at Pacquiao, also faces unrelated felony charges stemming from a September dispute with his children and their mother. He could face up to 34 years in prison if convicted in that case.
Whoever the opponent, Pacquiao will almost certainly ensure they make a fortune.
The Filipino Congressman defeated Joshua Clottey and Antonio Margarito before huge crowds at Cowboys Stadium this year, generating massive pay-per-view numbers both times. The performances were enough for Pacquiao to finish third in voting for 2010 AP Male Athlete of the Year behind New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson.
Those results, unlike his next opponent, were announced Friday.
“Nothing’s finalized. Bob will go back and talk to the opponents’ camps and then he’ll get back to Manny and then, you know, we’re in negotiations. I don’t want to give any indication of who’s ahead of who,” Koncz said. “It’s not the way to negotiate, in the media.
“There’s no deadline per se, but who knows when?” Koncz said. “Maybe next week. Who knows?”
Associated Press writer Oliver Tevez contributed to this report from Manila, Philippines.