Marquez Opts Out; Bradley, Russian Fighter On Radar
by Nick Giongco
Manila, Philippines – With Juan Manuel Marquez out of the equation, the list of Manny Pacquiao’s possible opponent has been pruned down to three guys: Tim Bradley, Ruslan Provodnikov, and, yes, even Floyd Mayweather, Jr.
Marquez, according to Pacquiao adviser Mike Koncz, is no longer interested in facing Pacquiao for the fifth time as there is no nothing more important to the Mexican but to keep the image of his Filipino rival lying motionless on the floor.
“Marquez is out,” said Koncz when pressed about the names being entertained.
Efforts to finalize Pacquiao’s next fight is of the utmost importance that Koncz is flying to the US on New Year’s Day to dot the Is and cross the Ts.
Koncz has just returned from a ten-day working visit in the US and is poised to leave again to deal with his boss’s tax issues and discuss with the right people as to Pacquiao’s next fight.
Top Rank chief Bob Arum had earlier predicted that the identity of Pacquiao’s next foe will be revealed before 2013 comes to a close but there have been some things going on that prevented him from living up to his promise.
Bradley and Provodnikov, a one-time sparring partner of Pacquiao and a fighter also being trained by Freddie Roach, are the leading candidates.
But the fact that Mayweather has delayed to name his dancing partner on May 3 fuels speculations that the much-awaited fight between him and Pacquiao might even happen.
Pacquiao, in an interview with the Bulletin just before Christmas Day, said he’d love to meet Mayweather in May instead of pushing through with an April 14 appearance since his wife Jinkee has requested him to delay his next fight pending the birth of their fifth child.
Jinkee is due to give birth in the second week of April.
“Jinkee asked me not to fight until she gives birth,” said Pacquiao, who turned 35 last Dec. 17.
Pacquiao beat up Brandon Rios in his last fight on Nov. 23 in Macau.
About two weeks ago, Mayweather mentioned Pacquiao as a possible foe although the names always being mentioned in the media are British Amir Khan and Argentine Marcos Maidana.
While a matchup between either fellow will be entertaining, there is no better pairing but a headliner starring Mayweather and Pacquiao.
Koncz expects “a decision by mid-January.”