by Nick Giongco
Manila, Philippines – Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum is in the final phase of selecting Manny Pacquiao’s next dancing partner.
Reports from the US say Arum is looking at two guys: Tim Bradley of the US and Ruslan Provodnikov of Russia.
The identity of Pacquiao’s next foe will be unveiled in the coming days and Arum has ruled out Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico and Floyd Mayweather of the US, two recognizable names, also being rumored to be in the mix of possible opponents.
Pacquiao adviser Mike Koncz is back in the US and is set to finalize the details of the Filipino fighter’s much-awaited return to the ring being eyed for April at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“We are down to business now,” Arum told ESPN yesterday.
Marquez has been ruled out because the 40-year-old Mexican said he has nothing more to prove against Pacquiao, who he knocked out in the sixth round in their fourth fight in 2012.
Mayweather is also not on the radar screen simply because there hasn’t been any movement as far as getting the fight done despite rumors circulating on the internet the past few weeks.
What has made fight fans believe that a Pacquiao-Mayweather is being worked on is the fact that Mayweather has yet to name his rival for a May 3 fight also scheduled at the MGM Grand.
British pride Amir Khan and Argentine strongman Marcos Maidana have been mentioned as candidates but Mayweather has yet to make a formal announcement, fueling speculations that backdoor negotiations are ongoing.
Pacquiao is back in the limelight after he scored a resounding comeback victory last year against Brandon Rios in Macau.
Regardless of who among Bradley and Provodnikov gets to win the Pacquiao lottery, he is guaranteed a hefty paycheck considering Pacquiao’s drawing power.
Bradley holds a win, albeit controversial, over Pacquiao, while Provodnikov used to be his sparring partner, ensuring the boxing world of a solid storyline when Pacquiao returns.