By NICK GIONGCO
Don’t be surprised if Manny Pacquiao ends up bringing his act to, well, Russia.
Yeah, you read it right. Russia. And it could happen in the dead of winter.
That is, if Pacquiao continues to win and remain a hot property. Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum of Top Rank is plotting Pacquiao’s last few fights, including the one scheduled for April 12 against Tim Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
According to Arum, Russia has a lot of influential and “rich people” who would be ecstatic to see Pacquiao strut his stuff and importing the Filipino icon over to Moscow is on his radar screen.
Russia is one of three sites Arum wants to see Pacquiao see action later this year.
Macau, the former Portuguese colony where Pacquiao beat up Brandon Rios last year, is also high on the list. Same goes with Las Vegas, which has always been a major player in staging marquee matchups.
But Russia’s entry is an intriguing one but Arum believes it is a viable option owing to its rapidly rising economy.
Still, Pacquiao has to maintain his stature as a major mover in the sport for all these plans to become a reality.
A loss in his much-awaited ring return this summer could derail everything Arum has lined up for him.
Although Pacquiao’s contract with Top Rank expires at the end of the year, it is not far-fetched that Arum and Pacquiao might agree to an extension given the rapport between them and the deep affection they have developed through the years.
It was under Top Rank that Pacquiao blossomed into a crossover star although Arum had to join hands with chief rival Golden Boy Promotion in hosting some of Pacquiao’s greatest hits.