Manny Pacquiao, 33, is 54-3-2 in his career, winning his last 15 fights. (Robert Beck/SI)
LAS VEGAS -- Manny Pacquiao has chosen his next opponent, and it's not Floyd Mayweather. In an interview at his office Wednesday, Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said Pacquiao has chosen his next opponent -- whom Arum would only divulge was one of the four previously reported candidates, Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley, Miguel Cotto or Lamont Peterson -- and plans to make his return to the ring on June 9 at a new outdoor facility off the Strip.
Arum reiterated that the problem with making a May fight with Mayweather was the timing. Mayweather has insisted that the fight take place May 5, tweeting Tuesday that “the date can’t change.” Arum says construction on a 38,000-seat temporary facility cannot be completed until later in the month. On Wednesday, Arum said he met with construction officials as well as officials from the Wynn and Sands Hotel. Arum also visited the construction site, a 40-acre plot jointly owned by the two hotels.
“To be safe, they said they needed until the end of May to get it done,” Arum said. “Economically, it’s a problem that Floyd created. The amount that would be lost by moving it up to May 5th is enormous. The fight is not going to happen on May 5th. We’ll do the fight in November. There is no real magic in doing it in May.”
Arum says he plans to move forward with building the outdoor facility and test it out in Pacquiao’s next fight. Arum added that he and Pacquiao were on the same page as far as Pacquiao’s future.
“He realizes that economically the May 5th date is not smart,” Arum said. “If you postpone it two or three weeks, you can make so much more money. Mayweather told the court he was committed to fight on May 5th. I think they lied and said Pacquiao was ready to fight him. Now they are saying the judge ordered them to fight on May 5? Was the MGM behind this? If the judge says you have to surrender yourself on June 1st, what the f--- does it matter to the judge if you fight on May 5th or two weeks later?”
A call and text message to Mayweather’s adviser, Leonard Ellerbe, was not immediately returned.
-- Chris Mannix