DESPITE Top Rank chief Bob Arum vehemently insisting that Manny Pacquiao’s comeback fight still not cast in stone, the camp of the boxing legend claims the June 24 title bout against welterweight champion Lucas Matthysse is '99 percent sure.'
In a statement, MP (Manny Pacquiao) Promotions said Matthysse and Golden Boy Promotions top honcho Oscar Dela Hoya are scheduled to arrive in the country in the first week of April to hype the 12-round bout to be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Pacquiao and Matthysse will be fighting for the World Boxing Organization (WBA) title belt, currently held by the 35-year-old from Argentina.
A press conference will be held in the country to launch the June 24 match before both camps travel to Malaysia for the kick-off leg of a planned press tour.
Still, the 84-year-old Arum remains skeptical about the bout pushing through, expressing doubts on whether there is a backer from Malaysia willing to finance the first big pro fight to be held in Kuala Lumpur in the last 43 years.
“The Malaysia part is up in the air. I don’t know these Malaysian people. If they put up the money, it’ll happen, happily,” Arum stressed.
“But do I know whether the money will be put up? No, I don’t. It’s as simple as that.”
The 39-year-old Pacquiao has proceeded to start his conditioning work by doing some running and abdominal exercises inside posh Forbes Park in Makati.
The meeting with Matthysse will be the first for Pacquiao since losing to Jeff Horn via unanimous decision in July last year to yield his World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown.
“I started early because my last fight was in July last year. My opponent is a reigning WBA champion so I must be in tip-top shape when I climb up the ring,” said Pacquiao, who is also a senator.
“I started doing just a light workout to boost my stamina. Training at the boxing gym will begin in the middle of April,” he added.
Pacquiao will have two separate camps in General Santos City and in Manila.