by Nick Giongco
Arum spent three days in Pacquiao’s training camp in General Santos City last week and the Top Rank big boss told the Bulletin that he has never seen Pacquiao appeared sensational in the runup to a big fight.
“This is the best that he’s looked since he was getting ready for the (Oscar) De La Hoya fight,” said Arum, noting the fire in Pacquiao’s eyes and his sense of urgency in proving to everyone that even at nearly 35 years of age, he still has it.
If indeed Pacquiao is so pumped up to show the world what he’s got, then Rios is going to be in deep, deep trouble come Nov. 24 at The Venetian in Macau.
Still, Pacquiao wants Arum to reserve an April date for his first fight in 2014 against an opponent yet to be determined although he mentions two names: Tim Bradley and Ruslan Provodnikov of Russia.
And why April and not not May as tradition dictates?
“Well, (Floyd) Mayweather has reserved a May date whether he’s fighting a Hispanic or some guy at the MGM Grand so we’ll do it in April,” he said.
And where could it take place?
“Maybe in the US or overseas (outside the US),” said the Harvard-educated Arum.
Bradley is in the mix following his recent victory over Juan Manuel Marquez, while Provodnikov, a one-time Pacquiao sparring partner, also entered the scene after he beat up Mike Alvarado last week.
Arum said Pacquiao, whose last fight on US soil was the sixth-round knockout by Marquez, might end up making a return to the US with an appearance at the 19,500-seat Thomas and Mack Center, site of Pacquiao’s third fight against bitter rival Erik Morales in November 2006.