Pacquiao's promoter Bob Arum is flying to Manila Sunday to meet with his No.1 fighter Manny Pacquiao in an effort to choose the next ring opponent for the fighting congressman from the Philippines
According to reports, Arum will be traveling with Pacquiao's Canadian Adviser and Manager of MP Boxing, Michael Koncz. They will present to Pacquiao a shortlist of possible opponents for his next ring date, most probably in May or June.
In an interview with a local TV crew in his home province, Pacquiao said he might face Marquez again because boxing fans were not contented with the outcome of their third fight, which was held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena last Nov. 12 in Las Vegas, Nev.
For $28 million, Pacquiao said he will face Juan Manuel Marquez for the fourth time to put an end to the long-running feud and in order to determine who among them is indeed the better fighter.
However, boxing experts say Arum and Freddie Roach seem to have chosen Amir Khan's former foe Lamont Peterson to be the next opponent of Pacquiao.
Philboxing writer Ed de la Vega said a good source told him Arum has picked Peterson over the three other challengers who made up the Arum shortlist.
“He picked Peterson, although Manny does not know yet,” a good source told me today.
Still, Arum said he will present to Pacquiao his shortlist and from there he makes the decision.
"I'll explain all the scenarios to Manny, but I don't care," he said. "I'm Switzerland. I'll present the opponents and we'll discuss it, but Manny makes his own decision. Now if I was leaning a particular way and I told Manny, he would probably do it because that's the kind of guy he is."
Arum has lined up at least four possible contenders for Pacquiao's next fight, which may come in May or June. They include: Timothy Bradley, Lamont Peterson, Miguel Cotto and Juan Manuel Marquez. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. did not make it to the shortlist as he was scheduled to serve his sentence in jail for assault on his former girl friend and mother of his two children. There were reports though that his Jan.6 jail commitment has been reset to June.
Bradley, who is undefeated in his professional career, is a newly-recruited Top Rank fighter and is fresh from his victory over Cuban Joel Casamayor in the Pacquiao vs. Marquez undercard last Nov. 12. Peterson, who used to fight under Top Rank, is likewise fresh from his controversial win over top-rated British boxing idol Amir Khan.
Marquez and Cotto are former Pacquiao foes who are both salivating for another crack at Pacquiao as they both aspire for the biggest and most lucrative fight of their career.
All of the shortlisted contenders are Arum's Top Rank fighters. Fight negotiations with any one of them will not pose a problem for the 80-year-old lawyer and promoter.
Arum and Koncz are expected to announce Pacquiao's next foe soon after their meeting with the pound-for-pound king.