MACAU – Manny Pacquiao holding a fight in Manila remains a remote possibility even in the near future.
Top Rank Promotions’ Bob Arum was quick to play down hopes of bringing a Pacquiao bout to the Philippines by next year, mentioning Las Vegas and this lively Chinese gambling city as the likely venue for the Filipino southpaw’s next two matches.
“Hopefully, Manny will fight back here next November. I’d like him to fight again in April in Las Vegas,” Arum shared to mediamen on Saturday night at the Venetian Hotel here.
Of course, chances of Pacquiao coming back by next year hinges on the success of his 12-round welterweight showdown against American Brandon Rios set Sunday at the Cotai Arena.
So far, so good. Arum said tickets for Pacquiao’s first fight in seven years outside of the US is close to sold out.
“I expect it to be sold out by tomorrow (Sunday) morning,” said the 80-year-old chairman of Top Rank, adding boxing stars such as Miguel Cotto, Rusland Provodnikov, Mikey Garcia, and Roy Jones, along with football global icon David Beckham, Hollywood actor Mark Walhberg and former Los Angeles Lakers stalwart Norm Nixon will be coming over to watch the fight.
As much as he wanted to hold a Pacquiao fight in Manila, Arum thinks it’s not feasible.
“It’s very difficult to deal with companies in the Philippines, particularly casino companies,” Arum stressed.
The longtime boxing promoter can’t help but compare how things are done in Manila and in this Special Administrative Region of China.
“In Manila, they’re talking about that this is so expensive, the people wouldn’t come. So I tried to do stuff in the Philippines, but it’s very difficult,” he said.
“Here, they do so well in the fights. They know how to market it and they know how to bring in customers. So, it’s a win-win to them.”
Pacquiao last fought in Manila in 2006 against Oscar Larios, while the last title match Top Rank staged in the country came in 2009 which headlined former world champions Nonito Donaire Jr. and Brian Villoria.