Wednesday, September 16, 2009
SAN DIEGO – Bob Arum knows too well that Nov. 14 is not going to be a picnic for Manny Pacquiao.
In fact, the big boss from Top Rank expects a real tough fight for the pride of the Philippines who’s scheduled to challenge Miguel Cotto of Puerto Rico for the WBO welterweight crown at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
With a quick glance at the fight odds, Pacquiao at +250 (you need to bet $250 to win a hundred) and Cotto at -210, it’s not hard to say that the Filipino icon is favored to win a record seventh world title in different weight classes.
But Arum said it won’t be a walk in the park.
“One thing is for sure. If Manny wins it’s not going to be easy. It will be tough,” said Arum yesterday from the frontseat of the Suburban that was taking him to a three-hour ride from Los Angeles to the Petco ballpark in San Diego.
Joining the legendary promoter in the trip to the home of the Padres, where Pacquiao was to throw the ceremonial pitch in the game against the Arizona Diamondbacks, were Top Rank’s Lee Samuels and Bill Caplan.
“Believe me, this will be the toughest fight of his life,” Pacquiao’s trainer, Freddie Roach, told the media during the “Firepower” press tour that took Pacquiao and Cotto to five key cities in the US the last six days.
The tour ended the other day at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles. Cotto has flown back to Puerto Rico, and should be ready to begin the hard grind in his camp in Tampa, Florida.
Pacquiao, on the other hand, stayed behind, and had to travel to San Diego at noon yesterday to be at the Petco Park. It was the third baseball stadium which he has visited the past week after the Yankee Stadium and the AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Arum said if Pacquiao gets past Cotto, and there’s no easy way he’s gonna do that, the reigning pound-for-pound champion will be back on the ring on March 15 against the lucky one who is picked as his next opponent.
“He doesn’t want to fight in February so we’re looking at March 15,” said Arum.
Pacquiao will seek a congressional seat in his hometown in Saranggani province in southern Philippines during the May 2010 elections, and a fight in March will be right inside the calendar.
“He can fight on March 15, and that gives him enough time to go out and campaign,” said Arum.
Among those being tipped as Pacquiao’s next opponent are Floyd Mayweather Jr., the undefeated ex-pound-for-pound champion who takes on Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday (Sunday in Manila), Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Shane Mosley or Edwin Valero.
Pacquiao said depending on the results of their fights, he and Mayweather could end up facing each other next year. But whether it will be the one prior to the elections remain uncertain.
Once the fight pushes through, Pacquiao could earn from $25 million to $30 million or roughly P1.5 billion, and Mayweather a little less.
“Kapag nanalo kami pareho ni Mayweather, kami na yan (If I and Mayweather prevail, then it should be us),” said Pacquiao. “Nag-uusap na. Basta. Nag-uusap na (Talks are on).”
Notes; This back-breaking press tour of five key cities in seven days is nothing new to Bob Arum. The Harvard lawyer who has gone promoting some of the great, great fights in history over the last 40 years, has had some tours that would make this one look like a picnic. He said the toughest he’s been to was for the Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns fight in ’80s. “It took us 23 cities in just 14 days,” he told Pinoy scribes who travelled with him to San Diego from LA. “And it was fun even if the boxers got into each other’s nerves at one point and I had to break up a fist-fight in St. Louis. That’s why when the opening bell sounded there was no more feeling out between the two boxers. It was a street fight,” said Arum. The Manny Pacquiao-Miguel Cotto press tour got off in New York last Thursday, and took both fighters to Puerto Rico, San Francisco and LA. There were days when they stayed longer up in the air (plane ride) than they were on the ground. But the result has proven to be a tremendous success, and Pacquiao’s adviser, Mike Koncz, said there’s never been like it in Pacquiao’s recent fights. Pacquiao was to take a late-night flight to Manila Tuesday and should be home on Thursday. Training, under Freddie Roach, Buboy Fernandez and Alex Ariza, begins on the 21st in Baguio City.