“I, through MP Promotions, will be handling any and all negotiations for my next fight. Nobody is authorized to speak on my behalf.”
With one statement, the long partnership between Manny Pacquiao and Bob Arum is seemingly over. The boxer-promoter duo had been a vital contributor for the sport for this era, but with Pacquiao in the midst of the final act of his legendary career also comes the realization that, finally, he does not need Arum and Top Rank to handle his affairs any further.
The relationship between Arum and Pacquiao had already been in rough waters dating back to Pacquiao’s historic bout with Floyd Mayweather where Arum was visably upset and notably subdued during its promotion. Pacquiao also forced his hand by making a third fight with Timothy Bradley and Jessie Vargas in the year that followed, despite Arum trying to match Pacquiao against his newest star Terence Crawford.
Pacquiao and Arum were at odds over Pacquiao’s most recent fight, a 7th round stoppage over Lucas Matthysse earlier this month. With Top Rank only being minimally involved in the fight, Arum sowed seeds of doubt during the promotion that Pacquiao would not be able to close the deal, even going as far as reaching out to Golden Boy Promotions to inform them that he could secure Crawford for Mattyhsse if the event fell through.
The dissolution of the Pacquiao/Arum relationship may have short, but major implications on the boxing landscape. While some windows have not been closed outright, the possibility of some bouts have dwindled greatly while other options have made themselves that much more presentable going forward.
The big question is how the fresh hostilities could affect the chances of making Pacquiao vs. Vasyl Lomachenko in 2019. From all accounts, both Pacquiao and Arum are wanting to make that fight with Team Lomachenko being lukewarm to the proposed superfight. Pacquiao knows that while he’d take the lion’s share of the purse in that fight, Arum would be heavily advocating for Lomachenko to get every possible advantage available to him and ensure that his companies future isn’t derailed by his companies past.
Lomachenko himself wouldn’t be missing out, especially because any fight above Lightweight could be disastrous for him. The pound for pound kingpin may be the best active talent in the sport, but he would be taking a tremendous risk against a still serviceable Pacquiao without Arum being able to impose a favorable catchweight.
With rumors of a massive tax debt in the United States in excess of $20 million, Pacquiao may never fight in the US again unless he and Arum could cobble together fights that would ensure Pacquiao a massive payday that he is no longer able to command. That also nixes Crawford, who Pacquiao wanted nothing to do with then and surely wouldn’t want anything to do with now with Crawford campaigning at Welterweight.
I believe that Pacquiao is going to fight Amir Khan sooner than later in the UK where it would be a massive event played to Pacquiao’s favor. Khan has been frothing at the mouth to fight Pacquiao after his fight with Floyd Mayweather failed to materialize and his continued aversion on fighting Kell Brook could motivate Eddie Hearn to make a Pacquiao/Khan fight in lieu of that.
Beyond that, Pacquiao may try one last time to pull old rivals out of retirement for lucrative clashes in overseas markets. He probably will not get Mayweather again, but could the chance of an eight figure payday be enough to lure an aged and injury riddled Juan Manuel Marquez back for a fifth fight? Could Miguel Cotto be convinced to take a chance to get revenge from their 2009 clash?
Either way, Manny Pacquiao is calling all the shots now and it’s been a long time coming